McG’s??? …in Dublin

Oy lads! Your man fancied a pint or two of Gat in Dublin and on me way to the jacks I stumbled upon this here food truck near Croke Park. (English translation: Hey, guys! I had a few glasses of Guinness beer in Dublin, and on my way to the bathroom I found a food truck outside of Croke Park.) Now, I have no idea what the name of it was and the chances of me ever being in Dublin again are very small, so that picture above with me gleefully smiling in the reflection is all we have as evidence for now. For context, Croke Park is where the GAA Men’s Hurling finals were being played, and you better believe we were rooting for Galway. Luckily, as part of this adventure, this food truck had a hot dog, and luckily, even though I wasn’t hungry, my friends convinced me to eat it. Serendipity, indeed. Cheers.

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In Dublin, all of the food is super heavy. Full Irish breakfasts come with blood sausage made out of real blood, bangers (sausage), bacon, eggs, fries, and who knows what else. Fat, greasy, and gluttonous are the three main words I’d use to describe Irish food… and also our current President. But, as I digress, the best part is that Ireland’s average life expectancy is higher than the US. This is the only data I need to justify all of my endlessly caloric culinary endeavors. So, I consumed what we have up above, a weenie loaded with ketchup, mustard, cheddar cheese, and onions. Heartburn on a bun, just how I like it.

Going from the outside in, rapid fire: the bun was fluffy, un-toasted, and sort of lacking substance. The cheese was from a bag, but lot of good things come from bags, so I liked it. The ketchup was red and the mustard yellow, as it should be. The onions were grilled, allowing a sweet glaze to caress their curves, like a freshly baked Krispy Creme donut. Then, the weenie, although a little skinny, provided a minor snap and a smoky flavor that I wouldn’t expect from a non-hot dog bearing country.

3.17 weenies

See what I did there? 3/17 is St. Patrick’s Day. Epic. So, now for the only reason I wrote this post – to share this .gif of me scarfing down a weenie and my buddy Chuck in the background makin’ a real lad face. Guys doin’ things. Lads doin’ Ireland.

Cheers

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Pig Beach

I’ve been on vacation, sorry. Can you blame me? I mean, have you ever had the chance to swim with pigs on a beach in the Bahamas? Yeah, me either. Actually, I’ve just been lazy, but I did go to Brooklyn! Some of the NY Weenies staff moved to Brooklyn this month, which has graciously broadened my hot dog horizons. My first stop in the area (after a rough Saturday morning taking a standardized test that is, shall I say, obtuse), was to the much anticipated Pig Beach BBQ. Craft beers, cocktails, and meat aplenty, it was sure to be a treat. I found myself in the kind of mood where random 1950’s expressions for excitement were most appropriate. I felt like a hybrid cross-child of Opie Griffith and Beaver Cleaver. Gee, pa. Good golly, oh boy! What a hoot!

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Yes, this is a classic yellow-mustard-only dog. Simple, elegant, and timeless. Pig Beach does offer some exotic toppings on their locally sourced Karl Ehmer dogs that I’d love to try another time – cheese, pulled pork, and pickled peppers – however, I was also hankering for a pulled pork Sammy so I didn’t want to encourage obesity. The first thing I noticed was the bun: a Martin’s potato roll, no question about it. It was also grilled, showing some char on the side, which never fails to impress if done correctly. I applied the mustard from the big jug-pump sort of simple machine, so obviously that was done to perfection. You’d be amazed at how many people do this correctly. It is literally a simple machine, like a wedge, or a wheel, or a pulley. The big jug-pump machine, duh. I’m pretty sure I was fed from a big jug-pump machine as a baby, for cryin’ out loud. BJPM baby, what a hoot.

Anyway, let us progress, both in maturity and time, to the first bite. The snap was present, not strong, but present. The flavor was robust, sort of smoky, but not over-bearing, and the overall wiener size was a little less that desired, but, overall no complaint. Also, it wasn’t quite as hot as I wanted, lacked char, and could have been cooked more. I’ll cut them a little break since it was super busy on Saturday afternoon, but, as Yogi Berra once said, “ya gotsta cook ya weenies.”

3.1 weenies

I’m happy, I’d go there again. Pig Beach is a very fun spot offering loads of tasty meats and drinks. In fact, you can buy a nice Other Half IPA and a shot of mezcal for 10 bucks. That’s enough reason to go right there. Happy weenie huntin’.

Cheers

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The Ukraine is Weak: 4th of July 2017

“Do you know what the Ukraine is? It’s a sitting duck. A road apple, Newman. The Ukraine is weak. It’s feeble. I think it’s time to put a hurt on the Ukraine.” – Kramer in Seinfeld. Happy 4th of July everyone. On this special holiday, after almost 2 years of writing about hot dogs, I have decided to take this opportunity to put all of my gumption into verbally abusing a hot dog from another nation. We Americans have thrived off of being unfriendly, loud, fat, and annoying for years (especially in 1776), and I would like to continue this tradition today. A while back, I went to the Ukrainian Village in Manhattan with Mike and had a traditional Ukrainian hot dog. I have been waiting until this day to tell you how awful it was.

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Baczynsky? Sounds like a disease my cousin caught in Korea. It definitely doesn’t sound like someone who knows how to make a weenie. Now, there are 5 distinct issues with the hot dog pictured above. I shall enumerate.

1. The bun, in general. A bun should be one piece of bread, held together. Here, the bun is split clearly up the middle just like Ukraine’s choice of languages. Maybe Russia wants the other half. It also is hard, like a weird piece of ciabatta. Tell me about the last time you wanted a hard weird piece of ciabatta. I didn’t think so.

2. Carrot salad. Am I a rabbit? Am I little bunny foo foo hopping through the forest? No, but I certainly am scooping up the makers of this wiener and boppin’ ’em on the head.

3. Lack of diversity. There is only one topping, it is carrot salad, and there aren’t any other options. In America, we have all sorts of toppings, flavors, ethnic groups, and languages. Ukraine has one: carrot salad, Ukrainian, white people. All the same. Vanilla.

4. The shape of the sausage. No further detail required.

5. The hot dog was not made in America. The hot dog was invented in America, ladies and gentleman. No other country can claim this. Yes, sausages are inherently German, and the Danish have done a great job at making their own style of weenie, but there was a cart in Coney Island that started the whole thing. It’s true, I wrote on homage back in 2015: NHDD 2015 Homage . Don’t try and sneak one past me, Ukraine.

0.01776 weenies. “Murica.

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Joey Chestnut will eat 68 hot dogs today and claim the title of National Hot Dog eating champion for the 10th time in 11 years. Now, go out there, have a wonderful day, and do American things. Crack a craft beer, brewed in the states, grill a weenie, lay back and enjoy yourself. It’s Independence day, so be independent. Freedom isn’t free. America the beautiful, four score and seven years ago, I had a dream, speak softly and carry a big stick, they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our Independence Day! Happy 4th, y’all.

Cheers

P.S. [Disclaimer: The Ukrainian dog was actually pretty decent. If I were being more serious, I’d probably give it a 3-point-something. But, I’m wearing red white and blue right now and feeling very patriotic, so I ask that you kind of just let me have it. Satire, right? Thanks.]

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Tørst

Danish people love hot dogs. Apparently they also love beer, serving beer in wine glasses, having no decorations in their bars, and a new vowel that looks like an o with a slash through it. Apparently, that vowel is pronounced like the “i” in bird or the “eu” in the infamous French expression “sacré bleu!” Well, when I eat a good hot dog, it is pronounced with a “snap.” And, that is exactly what I found at this bar in Greenpoint with one of the craftiest craft beer selections y’all ever did see. Apparently, they know how to get to my heart.

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That shiny submarine of hope pictured above is the Tørst hot dog #4. Four is my favorite number. This is destiny. At first glance, it looks immaculate, but I must admit that I am skeptical. It’s very easy to be too fancy when it comes to wieners. In my opinion, forgetting the classic and moving too far away from what made the frankfurter famous can be a recipe for disaster. As my Dad used to say in youth sports, “don’t try to make the highlight reel.” So, as I see curry ketchup, raita, candied nuts, and thinly sliced pickly things on top of this guy I got worried. Raita?! Barely know her. Emily Raita-kowski? I have no idea what raita is, but as it turns out, it is an Indian cucumber sauce that usually serves to counteract spicy foods. I suppose this is logical due to the curry ketchup.

The first bite yields the best part of this hot dog, and one of the greatest feelings of all time. The snap. Oh, it is glorious. This is the best snap of any weenie I have had in New York. This is better than the snap from Snap, Crackle, and Pop… better than the snap from snap into a Slim Jim… and even better than SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the government organization responsible for food stamps. After the snap comes some intense heat from the curry ketchup. When this hits, you’ll need some water. Luckily, the raika and the pickle balance it out. The nuts, in my opinion, don’t add anything, but I’ll never complain about peanuts. Lastly, the bun is big and bold, almost brioche, but not quite. I need to think about the bun a little more.

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OK, it’s too big. The bun is too big. I need less bread. Seriously, just put a toasted Martin’s potato roll on this thing and you’ve got the best dog in the city I think. But, holy cow, Tørst, you’ve done an amazing thing with this weenie. I debated giving you king of NYC. Alas, since I don’t like having ties anymore, you shall receive a very odd rating.

4.46 weenies

I’ll be back… Tirst… Teurst… whatever. Ø!

Cheers

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Nathan’s Cart: Plaza Hotel

If you can’t cook a good weenie in a cart, you can’t cook a good weenie. Put that cart outside of the Plaza Hotel and you’re putting yourself in the upper echelon of weenie carts. Put a Nathan’s name on it and if you fail, there will be serious consequences. I’m talking about the kind of consequences Nalgene would have faced if I was able to break one of their stupid BPA free plastic bottles. Believe me I tried. The point I’m trying to make is if you put a Nathan’s cart outside of a regal, ornate, some would even say elegant, place like the Plaza, on the southwest corner of Central Park, on the world’s greatest island, Manhattan… it better be pretty damn good.

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Now, weenie fans, take a look at the picture above. At the north and south poles of the sausages pictured, please focus in on the very tip. Just the tip. You may notice that there is a small knobby ending on the sausages. This is an indication of an excellent, real skin hot dog. This is what Nathan’s does, and this is why they’re great. When skin like this exists, the snap exists, and the juiciness follows. Since I just came from the dentist, I decided to get two hot dogs. That’s a rule that I follow, by the way: after the dentist, have two hot dogs. Per the original rules, I went one with pure mustard, and one with whatever I choose. In this case, it was chili and cheese. God bless that combo. The original mustard only dog only offered spicy brown mustard, unfortunately. This often happens in New York, however, so I’m used to it.

I have only two complaints about the Nathan’s cart dogs. The bun wasn’t toasted at all, and the weenie itself was not very hot. I think if the guy didn’t feel rushed with a huge line, he might have cooked it longer, so I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Other than that, and perhaps not worrying about how sloppy the chili cheese dog was, something was very correct about these weenies. When I consumed them, it felt like I was doing the right thing. It was almost as if I had done some sort of community service or even given a charitable contribution. If I felt like that every time I ate a hot dog I’d weight 314 pounds, but I’d be pretty happy.

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By the way, the rule for going to the dentist is that you get to eat two hot dogs after (only one if you have a cavity). If you ever have surgery, or, I’m so sorry if this is you… a colonoscopy… please call me. I’ll tell you what you need to do and how many hot dogs you’re allowed to eat. Bradly Cooper was in a movie of the same title… limitless.

Cheers

Steak ‘n Shake Signature

People love surprises. There’s a reason that they plan surprise parties, enjoy scary movies, watch sports, gamble, and listen to Donald Trump. In all situations, it’s impossible to predict what comes next. In my case, it was impossible to predict what happened on this brisk fall evening at Steak ‘n Shake. Sorry, Steak ‘n Shake SignatureMy experience unfolded in three simple steps.

Step 1: “Weenie Malfunction”

Remember how disappointed you were when you found out that you had to pay taxes? Match that with the disappointment I felt when I went to a very famous establishment in NYC for a weenie and the line was out the door. Terrible. It was time for plan B.

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Step 2: “Go to the bench”

I had to salvage this situation somehow. I pulled out my phone, went to Google Maps, and typed in “hot dog” near location. Up pops Steak ‘n Shake. Steak ‘n Shake was a fast food establishment I went to one time in Cleveland. So, I wasn’t expecting much. In fact, I was expecting very little. So, I decided to go bash it. I haven’t bashed in a while, it could be fun. I became a grunting caveman full of emotion. Bashing, anger, destruction, NYWeenies… must… destroy… Steak ‘n Shake.

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Step 3: “Saint Peter works at Steak ‘n Shake”

Then, like bright light in a coffin of darkness, or like Tinkerbell to Peter Pan… no more anger. Show me those pearly gates!!! This most definitely was a Signature Steak ‘n Shake hot dog. I got the classic footlong and it was phenomenal. It comes in this fancy see through sleeve that when unsheathed, reveals glory. The bun is perfectly toasted. The mustard, remarkably, is yellow. As most readers will know, yellow mustard is liquid gold, and without argument the best mustard ever known to mankind. Finally, the sausage is grilled essentially perfectly. The outer edges exhibit some delicate char. Real, nice, delicate, write-home-to-your-family-about, char. Such char on such a dog, equipped with such a well toasted bun, with such a perfectly placed stripe of yellow mustard? This such equation leads such a weenie to be the king of NYC… right?!

Step 4: “An act of violence”

Nope, they cut my weenie in half. Damn it. I can’t crown a king when they perform vicious acts of violence to multiple weenies every day. That’d be like voting for Pol Pot as Surgeon General. So close, Steak ‘n Shake. Please know that I absolutely loved your hot dog, but I cannot crown you king.

4.49 weenies

It’s a weird number, I know. Whatever, who cares about my ratings anyway? At least I didn’t cut it in half.

Cheers

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100 Montaditos

I feel small when I take a picture from a restaurant’s website (100montaditosny.com) and use it as a banner on my blog. However, I feel huge when I eat small sandwiches that cost a small price. I then feel ever larger, massive in fact, when I find out that one of the sandwich of the 100 that they call Montaditos is the greatest creation of all mankind: a hot dog. I’m not a big Spanish tapas guy, but apparently a Montadito is also Spanish, so Spain just earned some major points in my book. Viva la España! I forgive you for your staunch metrosexuality.

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Things can be good when small. I really like the munchkins from Wizard of Oz, Altoids, and Pugs, so when I saw how small this hot dog was I tried not to worry. #31 on the menu of 100, this is as simple of a sandwich that one man can buy – for one dollar. There is a nicely toasted bun, a kind of small wiener inside of it, and a stripe of both mustard and ketchup on top. 100 Montaditos played it safe, but they played it right. If you’re going to have a hot dog on one of the most diverse sandwich menus I’ve ever seen, stick to the classics. The best part is, they used yellow mustard. The next best part is, this sandwich is a dollar on Wednesdays. Follow that up with two dollar beers, well, I’ll be there every Wednesday. I’m pumped to have a new neighborhood hang out. I’m also pumped that I’ve said all I need to say about this hot dog. A little wiener gets a little amount of words, because I don’t need them. It’s great, and the place is great too. Go forth and enjoy a micro-wiener… or 5.

3.25 weenies 

Cheers

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Westville

I didn’t expect to be a hot dog blogger, but once I did it was amazing. I also didn’t expect to get a yo-yo for Christmas, but it has been phenomenal. Even the unexpected crazy homeless man who wets himself and yells “Aunt Delilah get the pie!” can add a good chuckle to your day. The oncoming of the unexpected can often be a scary experience that turns out to be positive. When Westville offered “market vegetables” as a side item, I wanted to turn to stone like a gargoyle and hide from the existence that surrounded me. However, after I ordered artichoke hearts nestled in between two different varieties of hot dogs, the unexpected became the unbelievably delicious. I’d vote for “market vegetables” over Donald Trump any day.

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Y’all thought I couldn’t be healthy, but look at that. There’s more nutrients than you can shake a stick at. There are artichoke hearts on the side, pickles on top, and beans in the chili. I feel like I lost 5 pounds already. Regardless of health, because that’s not what I write about, because that shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to rating hot dogs, there are two types of weenies at Westville. There is the Hebrew National and the Niman Ranch “fearless frank”. Obviously I got both. The waiter had no idea what the best way to eat their dogs was, so I opted to leave the chili off of the Niman Ranch wiener to ensure I was able to observe the full breadth of its flavor. As for the Hebrew National, it was doused in chili and cheese. For two high quality dogs and a side, the price is 14 bucks, and the choice of toppings and sides is impressive. While the place is tiny, its very charming and could easily be a date spot. I also saw the other food choices, and everything looks really good, I will definitely be back, but who knows if I will be able to resist the hot dogs.

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Pictured above is the Hebrew National with chili and cheese, adorned with a kosher dill slice. The chili isn’t very spicy, but it is homemade and would look great just about anywhere, on anything or in anything, kind of like Taylor Swift. The cheese is thicker than most hot dog cheese, is slightly melted, and rich in flavor. This is the best cheese I’ve had on any hot dog so far. The bun is literally grilled. There are grill marks. That fact alone earns this place a lot of respect for me. A Hebrew National emerges from inside of it. This is a big beefy boy with a nice smoky flavor that I think is brought out from the way it is grilled. This truly is an old school grilled dog, like Wilt Chamberlain is to basketball or Grandmaster Flash is to hip hop. Kate Moss to modeling? Either way, superb.

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The fearless frank. The beefiest sausage this side of 6th avenue. I think on the Niman Ranch they take the filet mignon, ground it up, and stuff it inside of pig intestines to make hot dogs that they call fearless franks. This is a high quality, organic-y dog that I can get behind. My only complaint, and the only real reason this dog isn’t getting a stellar rating is that it has absolutely no snap. It’s as if there is no casing. I don’t know how they did it. Also, they had a yellow mustard bottle with spicy brown mustard in it. That’s perhaps the worst tease in the game. The only thing worse would involve putting a vegan dog in front of me without telling me. No sin could be worse than that. Luckily, they didn’t do that to me, and I really enjoyed their wieners. Go to Westville.

4 weenies

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Cheers

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Burger King

Somebody’s gotta do it. That’s right, you didn’t read that wrong, I am reviewing the semi-new Burger King grilled dogs. Quite honestly, I tried to go the week they started serving these classic American delicacies, but the BK Lounge in the east village was unfortunately not open at 3 AM. The store I went to today, however, would have been open late since it is open 24 hours and located in the sphincter of the city at 42nd and 8th Avenue: Port Authority. There was not a single person in the “restaurant” that I would not consider unsightly. I used the double negative with purpose there. Everyone was gross. It was like a cross between the TV shows Mike and Molly and The Walking Dead in there. But somehow I made my way to the “alter of obesity”, a.k.a. the place where you order at Burger King, and ordered some weenies. Hopefully I can walk later. ‘Murica.

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Behold: the classic and the chili cheese dog. It’s no wonder that Burger King uses fake food for their promo photos, because these quite frankly look like garbage. The guy who prepared my weenies certainly did not have much enthusiasm, care, or sense of decency as he piled toppings on my “grilled” dog. The relish formed a lake something like the dead sea, and the mustard, while yellow, only got to one side of the dog like a fat kid on a see saw. BK’s choice of classic toppings wasn’t bad, though. I would have left out the onions, but you can’t go wrong with mustard, relish, and ketchup. Oh, I forgot to include the fact that one tip of the classic dog was actually black. Wiz Khalifa probably would have liked this one. Black and yellow, black and yellow.

Pictured to the left, the classic, and the to the right, the chili cheese. If you take a close look at the bottom right corner of the chili cheese you can see the fully nude “grilled” dog. This is where everything falls apart. There is no flavor, the char marks look fake, and some of the inside of the sausage is gray, like salmon after you put it in the microwave. There is no snap, no flavor, and no dignity. It’s one of the most disgusting sausages I’ve ever eaten. The bun isn’t toasted, but it is heated somehow… I think. Never mind, the entire hot dog was lukewarm. This wouldn’t have been a good meal for a stray cat. If I gave this to a homeless man he’d just ask for more crack. I really wanted more out of Burger King. I enjoy their whoppers and fries, but something went horribly wrong here. There was, however, one saving grace. The chili on the chili cheese dog was pretty good. It had some spice, was the warmest part of the sandwich, and even had some hearty beans to toot. (I meant toot, not boot.) If it weren’t for the chili on the chili cheese, this would be the worst dog I have reviewed. However, Burger King thanks you, dearest chili, for you have saved it. Katz’s Delicatessen is still the worst dog in the city. Embarrassing. Meg Ryan is pissed.

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Ugh. Goo. Ew. Don’t eat them. My stomach has a rubber brick inside of it that was once a hot dog. It’s as if I microwaved an old plunger and dunked it in a pool of old warm relish. If they sold their chili in a can, though… sign me up.

Cheers

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Trademark Burger

The basics. That’s really what livin’ is all about. When something’s not working, we as humans like to go back to the basics and do what we did best for years. Soho went back to the basics last month. They got tired of their tofu vegan fusion with an octopus leg mixed with quinoa and wild herbage con pomegranate fava bean crap, and added Trademark Burger. They serve burgers, dogs, and shakes the American way, no frills, no fancy weird health ingredients. Weenie fans, do you want to know what health is? The dogs are 100% pure grass-fed beef. That’s my health. That’s my fancy. That is my foie gras, and nobody had to force feed a goose, stand in a line of hipsters, or write a food blog to get it. (Oops.)

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It can’t even fit in the bun! The Trademark Dog runs a measly 4 bucks, and comes with ketchup, mustard, and kraut. I found this interesting at first, especially in NYC where the combo is usually just mustard and kraut. Ketchup is an odd addition. But, my friends, here we have something different. The mustard is YELLOW! God Bless America, French’s original yellow mustard is back after a long divorce and happy with it’s original partner, traditional ketchup. Quite honestly, if I had it my way I’d get rid of the kraut, but hey, it’s New York. I have to give major props to the owners/chef of Trademark for using yellow mustard here. It takes courage, and while it may not mean much, I have noticed.

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Now, we must talk about the dog itself. I’m going to go ahead and say it, this is the best quality hot dog I’ve had in Manhattan. First, there is the snap. Far better than the crackle and the pop, this weenie has the snap heard ’round the world with an ability to start wars. Then, there is the flavor. I don’t know what it is about feeding a cow grass, but it makes that cow taste a whole lot better than whatever else it was eating. Beefy juicy excellence oozes from the casing once chomped upon. What I do know is that there is no way I am walking into a cannibal village after eating a bunch of grass. Good lord. The flavor and the snap put together make this a very high quality weenie that I highly recommend.

4.5 weenies

Is this the reigning king?! Did Trademark overtake the Cannibal? Alas, it did not. But it came very close. It would have been nice to have a more toasted bun, or the option of some sort of chili. I know, I don’t like things too fancy, but just a tad more variety could have been nice. The point of this post is that Trademark is an excellent new spot in Soho serving up the basics with perfection. Go there, weenie lovers, and when you do, don’t forget the milkshake. It’ll definitely bring this boy to the yard.

Cheers

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