That’s me and Jimmy Cronk, creator and co-owner of Destination Dogs in downtown Philadelphia. That’s two people who share a passion for hot dogs. The person on the left just eats them and tries to avoid becoming obese. The person on the right creates them. The weenie God – he is an enabler in the best of ways, coming up with 33 (for me, 34) location-themed high quality weenies for all to enjoy. I was lucky enough to spend a Saturday afternoon in this fine establishment in a the fine city of Philly, and ended up having 6 of Jimmy’s fine franks. Cue the obesity.
From left to right: “One Bite in Bangkok”, “The Chicago Bull”, “Trenton Thunder”, and “Chivas Royale”. These weenies are themed after Thailand, Chicago, Trenton, NJ, and Mexico. There is nowhere else in America where you can do this. It’s absolutely wild. This old boy was as happy as could be. Imagine your favorite thing in the world. Now imagine it in 34 different varieties, all while serving craft beer. I think that’s what John Lennon was singing about.
One bite in Bangkok is made of a snake. To be very clear, it is not a hot dog, it is a python sausage. I literally ate a python adorned with cucumber salad, pepper jelly, crushed peanuts, and cilantro. It was dope. The Chicago Bull is a classic Chicago dog, kind of like Emmett’s. Can’t go wrong, a true classic. Chivas Royale is deep fried, loaded with cheese sauce, bacon, salsa verde, sour cream, and scallions. I felt my cholesterol thicken as I consumed it, and I loved it. Then the most unique, even though I just ate python, was the Trenton Thunder. This Thor-esque colossus of a wiener was also deep fried, loaded with pork roll (aka Taylor ham), scrambled egg, cheese sauce, and a very interesting tomato and pepper jelly. So far, Trenton, somehow, while being a relatively undesirable city, produced an insanely desirable hot dog. Get this one.
Heeeeerrreee’s Jimmy! While he didn’t have an axe and break through a door, once he found out that I wrote a hot dog blog, Jimmy did what any hot dog lover would do for another – he hooked it up. We got to try a custom Philly creation that he plans to bust out during Iggles season. I don’t want to leak his secret recipe, but it’s basically a Philly cheese steak-weenie hybrid, and it works. Upon first glance, it was like a kindergarten art room: dysfunctional and filled with things that don’t get along. Then, once we got to know the inner-workings, we realized how great it could be. I was honored to get to try it, a true A+. We also got to try some amazing chili sauce and a “Kansas City Beefs”, adorned with pulled BBQ ribs and slaw. This was the simplest dog, but maybe the best. If only my stomach allowed, I would have had 3 more. I still can’t decide if Trenton Thunder or Kansas City Beefs was the best, so I’ll recommend that you get both when you go.
In summary, this place is the real deal, and I’m a huge fan. The quality of the weenies is incredible; we have the snap, the juice, the smoky flavor, and the size to bun ratio. The buns are hearty, but not too thick, and nicely toasted. Once you add in all the exotic toppings, you have yourself a real all-inclusive hot dog resort of an experience. My hat goes off to Jimmy for this vision, as well as his hospitality. The good news is, he’s not just in Philly, but New Brunswick, NJ as well. You better believe I’ll be there soon.
P.S. My friend Dan ordered the hot dog above. What are you, 12, Dan?