The Cannibal: Part Deux

Have you ever been in one of those moods? You know, one of those moods where you have some time to kill before a Broadway show after work and want to get on a Citi Bike and ride really fast to this hot dog place that you wrote about two years ago and crowned as the King of NYC? No? Weird, because, I mean, it was crazy… I was in one of those moods last night!

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Behold! The Jan Ulrich. Slightly over two years ago, I discovered the Cannibal. Known for their outlandish selection of meats at their main restaurant in Chelsea, no man leaves unhappy, unsatisfied, or feeling any better about their beer gut. When I visited their Hell’s Kitchen outpost in Gotham West Market back then, there were many different varieties of hot dogs – enough to take up a section of the menu. Now, they have only two hot dog options, one of which has their homemade wieners serving as the sausage base, and the other has the familiar Brooklyn Hot Dog Co. weenies. I usually don’t like to review the same place twice. As proof I’ve even been to the main restaurant and had their dogs before (shout-out to the Feastie Boys), but since these are completely different, utilizing a different sausage base that I already know and love, I feel compelled. I mean, you’d write a new movie review of The Shining if Eddie Murphy replaced Jack Nicholson right?

Is the Cannibal still king? Well, let’s start with the topic of bacon jam. Sweet Lord have mercy on my soul. This is a creation of a millennium. Sweet, yet fatty and rich, it is the perfect sausage icing. On top of this, we have some lightly flavored bbq chip bits to add a nice crunch. They’re like croutons on a salad or seat belts in cars – not completely necessary, but really nice to have. Next, glazed on the top of this magnificent sandwich (yes, a hot dog is a sandwich), is a delectable spicy mayo. It’s much spicier than you expect and that’s how it should be. If you’re going to sit down and eat a Jan Ulrich, you’re not a pansy, you’re a giant can of testosterone from Sweden ready to devour all the other pansies in the world. Eat up Jan, you deserve it. Is the Cannibal still king? Of course it is. The best weenie in the city hasn’t changed yet, my friends. Go to this establishment ASAP.

4.6 weenies

The Cannibal

Above is the first review I wrote. Below are some useless links to social media stuff.

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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.

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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.”

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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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Planet Earth: Hot Dogs of Asia

A few weeks ago I traveled to Asia. Luckily, Asia isn’t the void, hot dog barren continent I thought it would be. Instead, it is a fairly westernized, hot dog imitating continent that falls far short of being worthy of the title “hot dog continent”. There can only one hot dog continent and that is America. There can only be one ‘Murica. Regardless, in total I had three hot dogs, and one was particularly epic. It was part of a 25 course tasting menu at the #1 rated restaurant in Asia… three years in a row. Let’s not save the best for last, because I don’t save and I don’t like being last.

Gaggan: Bangkok, Thailand

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What we have here are little lamb kebab dogs on little buns with little onions, little carrots, and a little sauce. The menu we see during our 3 hour long experience of utmost gluttony is only emojis. There is one emoji per course, and this one was obviously the hot dog. We had to guess what the emojis were going to be – sometimes even after the course came out and we couldn’t tell what it was. To be honest, I don’t know what the sauces were because I was so happy and immersed in the experience. I had just enjoyed an old-fashioned that was infused with Cohiba cigar smoke underneath a glass dome in front of me. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Incredible. No words. “…”

Stand Underneath the Ferris Wheel: Hong Kong

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Touristy areas have hot dogs, it’s a way of life. So did the Ferris Wheel in Hong Kong. My options were Original, Spicy, BBQ, or Cheese. I went with original, and I love how that meant, ketchup, YELLOW mustard, and relish. This was true American influence. The bun was OK, the sauces were applied with gusto, but unfortunately the sausage itself tasted like dirty brown water trash. For what it’s worth, the Ferris Wheel was pretty awesome?

Random Convenience Store Bacon-Wrapped Wiener: Phuket, Thailand

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Given this title, I’m sure you were expecting greatness. So was I. It was really disheartening to see how under-cooked the bacon was and how flavorless the hot dog was. Such a fine establishment should have done better. Welp, someone had to do it. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone… ever.

P.S. Below is a picture of the Asia boys, AKA “JUBS” getting to meet the man behind the magic at Gaggan – Gaggan Anand himself. Check him out on Netflix’s Chef’s Table if you’re interested. Also, go to Thailand if you can.

Cheers

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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.

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

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Pittsburgh: Essie’s Original Hot Dog Shop

Pittsburgh is known for many things. Pittsburgh is a sports town, an old steel town, a Wiz Khalifa stomping ground, and a black and yellow breeding ground. It’s a bridge town, an incline town, where Gene Kelly used to clown, and a fatty food mecca world renowned… Poetry and rhyming aside, some friendly local folks wanted to take me out for a dog, and of course I was down. I was lucky enough to go to “The Dirty O”, or more officially, The Original Hot Dog Shop, on a cold day after Thanksgiving when, like the Grinch, my stomach grew three sizes that day. I certainly couldn’t frown.

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Yep, this place is old school. The name does not lie. The first thing I noticed is that the actual restaurant is pretty run-down and old. Nothing has changed since the 80’s, but it’s a good thing. They sell weird old beers that nobody has seen in a few fortnights, and the guy selling you those beers hasn’t been able to see in a few decades. It’s like when you put on that really old, stained, torn up sweatshirt you love. You love that it’s nasty. It’s comfortable and it feels amazing. The dogs, though, are not old, stained, and torn up. They are flat out stellar.

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These weenies are such good sports. I made fun of them for hours, and they just played along. It’s amazing how thick their skin is. OHHH, Pun City! Honestly though, this is some thick skin. If you know NY Weenies, you know what skin brings: the snap. The Dirty O’s dogs possess a fat snap unlike any that New York has never seen. My favorite kind of snap resembles the moment when you pop a loosely filled water balloon. It’s a quick release followed by an avalanche of flavor. The kind of snap I experienced on this day in Pittsburgh was like puncturing a football with a butter knife. It took a lot of effort, but it was still a lot of fun, and the flavor exploded out of there like cuckoo from a cuckoo clock. The taste of the weenie was incredible, rich and smoky, and the buns lightly toasted nicely. The best part about the Original, though, is the selection of toppings they have. I didn’t see anything you couldn’t order. So, I ordered dog 1: chili, mustard, and slaw. This is the quintessential Virginia classic. I was raised on this combo. Dog 2: yellow mustard, obviously. The other dog pictured was not for me (a loyal NY Weenian would know this, as it has been said that you can’t put ketchup on a dog unless you’re under 12 years old), but the pictures looks better with 3 dogs. Maybe I should eat 3 every review?

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I loved this place and I highly recommend it to anyone travelling to Pittsburgh. Essie must have been a great woman if the owner, Syd, decided to name this wonderful place after her. Here’s to you, Essie.

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P.S. If you’re reading this and you are Syd and Essie’s child, please let me know. I’d like to meet you. You must be an incredible human being if you have any of the same DNA that those two had. The chosen one. Neo. Anakin. The baby from “Look Who’s Talkin'”. Whatever. Need you in my life.

Cheers

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Hot Dogs of the Hamptons

One week ago today, summer came to a close. I know it seems late, but the calendar doesn’t lie, except in February, and summer doesn’t contain February as a month in its season, so I know it’s being honest. Anyway, this summer was another memorable one for me, much of it spent in an odd fantasy land out on Long Island. Because of this fantasy world I was living in, I got distracted, and I failed you as a hot dog blogger. I was selfish. I let the fun get to my head. There’s no time for fun when there’s work to be done. I let the little devil on my shoulder tell me what to do, when the angel was consistently telling me to review more hot dogs. So, I apologize, and starting now, there will be many more weenie blogs, as there are many more weenies to eat. It is my destiny that I must return to. What the world needs is more hot dog truth. As written in John 8.32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall let you eat.”

Hamptons Weenie 1: Old Stone Market

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It’s a brioche bun, well-toasted, cuddling with a grilled Sabrett frank that took a bath in spicy brown mustard. It was prepared by the nicest woman you’ll ever meet, at the weirdest, most useful roadside store in Amagansett that you’ll ever see. There are even chickens roaming the parking lot. Back to the dog – its pretty solid, good snap, but too bready. Other things that are bready: croutons, Meatloaf (the singer), and French people. That’s not a good crew to associate with.

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Hamptons Weenie 2: The Oceanside Inn

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Above is pictured an impromptu weenie that was far more satisfying than expected. If you ever need a weenie after a long day at the Sloppy Tuna, bounce on down the beach to this weird little Euro-tourist spot and enjoy this filleted frank. Huge weenie, tiny bun. Other things with huge weenies and tiny buns: … use your own imagination.

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Hamptons Weenie 3: Goldberg’s

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Here we have a two weenie combo platter served up by your breakfast specialists at Goldberg’s. This is a meal fit for a king – Leo DiCaprio himself was spotted in line at Goldberg’s just finna have a bagel one day. This meal was fit for me, indeed. The buns were warm and toasted, but not too much, and the sausages were thick, juicy, and smoky. These were also filleted, which must be a long island thing, which also tampers with one of my favorite parts of eating a hot dog: the snap. Redeeming the lack of snap was the presence of yellow mustard. That precious nectar can save anything. So, Goldberg’s, you were good, but not great. However, “good but not great” does in fact give you the title of “Best Weenie in the Hamptons.” Congratulations, Goldberg’s, see you next summer.

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Daddy-O

After 30 or so hot dog blogs, one would think that this craft would get boring. Well, one… you are wrong! There is always something new and exciting out there, especially in the wonderful town of New York City. This time, it’s a pure, unadulterated, uncured, unsmoked concoction of pork, beef, and veal. It’s Tom Cruise in a sauna. It’s boiling milk. It’s as if the island of Nantucket went up in flames. It’s a White Hot. They’re from Rochester, they’re delicious, and Daddy-O imports these bad boys from Zweigle’s for our eating pleasure. Hallelujah. Somebody give me an “A-men.”

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The Daddy-O “pop-open” hot dog, topped with Norm’s Beef Hot Sauce, Mustard, and Diced Onions. I don’t know who Norm is, hopefully Norm MacDonald, but whoever he is, he made some epic sauce. The mustard is not my favorite French’s yellow, but I’ve gotten used to this fact, and I’m pretty sure most New Yorkers will disagree with my preference anyway. The spicy brown accompanies the hot sauce well. After the mustard and hot sauce comes the onions. Normally I am against onions on a dog, but here they compliment the other strong flavors with grace. There aren’t so many that I am drowning in a Vidalia tear pool, but there are enough for an onion fan to enjoy. The toppings are on point, Daddy-O. Well done.

The best part of the dog however, is the dog itself. White hots are awesome. Kudos to Zweigle’s for producing a very high quality sausage. The only reason they are white is their uncured nature, which many may find appealing. They’re all natural. That’s trendy these days. Sure, they don’t have Kale, quinoa, and coconut oil, but this is about as close as you’ll get to vegan or healthy with me. (Sorry “by Chloe,” we eat real food here.) The folks at Daddy-O char grill the sausage to perfection, leaving a juicy, savory wiener inside a decently toasted bun. White hots tend to be bigger than other wieners as well (although this may not be true in other aspects of life), so this particular dog was very filling and could certainly be a meal. You also have the option to go for a normal frankfurter from Zweigle’s if trying the white hot isn’t your thing. However, doing so would be lame and uncouth. This is the first white hot I’ve seen in the city and it’s incredible. Go eat it. Don’t be uncouth.

4.25 weenies

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Tell me you’re not hungry. You won’t.

P.S. I hope everyone had a weenie on opening day. Baseball basically exists for hot dogs, not the other way around. Sooooo, there’s that. Wieners for the pennant!

Cheers

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Cart on 42nd and 5th Avenue – Sabrett

Somebody had to do it. Many citizens of New York see hot dog carts as a Zika rash on the skin of Manhattan. I see them much differently. I see leopard spots, snow within a snow globe, Marisa Miller’s freckles, and Mikhail Gorbachev’s bald-headed birthmark all rolled into one. I see hard working Americans trying to make a dollar and in doing so making other hard working Americans happier. That’s what life is all about, folks. So get out there and support your local hot dog cart. I sure do.

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You ain’t nothin’ but a cart dog. That’s what Elvis said in his “Deeper Cuts” album never released to the public. See above a plain and simple cart dog done with class. When you order a dog from the cart, you don’t want to complicate it. Mustard is all you need. Unfortunately, most carts are spicy brown only. Once you can get over this fact, you’re in the clear and will need only to fork over three dollars.

The way I will review the hot dog carts of NYC is fairly simple. Obviously, there is almost no humanly possible way to get to every cart in Manhattan. They are constantly moving, changing ownership, and changing employees. Any normal human would be driven insane. This is why I will go to every cart that serves a different type of hot dog or is run by a different company. I this particular instance, the weenie was a Sabrett – “The Frankfurter New Yorkers Relish.” 0.5 points just for that slogan.

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This particular dog did not have a toasted bun, nor was the sausage grilled. Yes, this was a classic “dirty water dog”. This means that they boiled the wiener. Of course, a grilled wiener is much more desirable than a boiled wiener. It only makes sense. Then, my server man was very liberal with the mustard, which I will never complain about, until it gets on my jacket. It got on my jacket, ladies and gentleman. I’ll have a stain there for years. People will make fun of me because of the attendant of this hot dog cart. That’s not a good look. I tried to lick it off of my jacket, but that’s a far worse look. Don’t lick your jacket.

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Yes, I may have given this more weenies than most would have predicted given my comments above. However, please note, I will always support the fact that I can grab a hot dog on the side of the street at any time of the day or night with three measly dollars. Most ATM fees in New York are three dollars. If you give a homeless man on the street three dollars, he will think you’re being stingy. Three dollars is laughable. Three dollars, however, could also be the highlight of your day in the form of a magnificent, golden painted hot dog from a NYC hot dog cart. Thank you, NYC cart vendors, thank you.

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P.S. I have business cards now thanks to Mike. How sweet is that?! 2 legit 2 quit. Follow the Instagram and send suggestions to nyweenies@gmail.com.

Cheers

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Asiadog

New York is huge on its “fusion” restaurants. For example, Jerry said to Jane, “Oh my god, you wouldn’t believe the Italian Tapas Japanese fusion restaurant I went to with Ryan the other day. It was fabulous!” I may not be as enthusiastic as Jerry, but I can get down with fusion. In middle school, I would always mix yellow mustard and mayonnaise to dip my chicken nuggets in. Fusion. White people and hip hop made the Beastie Boys. Fusion. Red wine and white wine mixed together made Rosé. Fusion. Now, a hot dog and Asian cuisine made Asiadog. I can get down with that.

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(Sadly, I had to lie in the previous paragraph. I never actually mixed mustard and mayonnaise, sorry.)

Asiadog has multiple locations. They can be found in Smorgasburg, Berg’N, Madison St. Eats, and others. I found them in their new Midtown location: Urban Space. In the picture above you can see the vast variety of weenies available here. Its super exciting. I’m actually quite sad to announce that I didn’t get the “Wangding”. Next time, I definitely will just because of that name. Instead, I asked for their best dog as always, and the surprisingly educated hot dog fixer said that she couldn’t decide between two. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to feel guilty about getting two. Bring on “The Vinh” and “The Mash”.

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On the right side, standing six foot four, packing 300 pounds of pickled carrot, jalapeno, and pate, the fiercely formidable, Vinh dog! And on the left side, standing five foot three, dragging in crumbs of potato chips from the couch, doused in ketchup in mustard, embarrassing his wife, the sluggishly familiar, Mash dog!

Yes, those were my first impressions. I was taken aback by the abundance of unique toppings adorning the Vinh dog, and rather unimpressed by crumpling potato chips on a hot dog as on the Mash. With time comes change. I went for the Vinh first, as my eager, hungry personality often does. The pickled carrots were delicious, but there were a lot of them. The spice was great, but maybe not enough. The hot dog itself, just like in the Mash, was great. Asiadog prides themselves in their organic sausages. They even offer a chicken dog and a veggie dog. Now, if you ask me neither of those are actually hot dogs, but if you’re one of those types, go for it. The beef weenies I got had no casing (hence no snap, which was a downside), but tasted fresh, pure, and flat out delicious. The bun could have been a little more toasted, or perhaps of higher quality. A Martin’s potato roll never hurts, y’all.

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At this point in time I was thinking Asiadog was just good. It was unique and interesting, but not the greatest taste. It was then when I bit into the Mash. God Bless. How could one know that crumpled potato chips, fancy ketchup, and spicy jalapeno mustard could join forces to create a weenie so fine, and so gracefully elegant? It was as if a Chinese man banged a gong in my mouth, then grabbed two fire hoses that spewed out jalapeno mustard and spicy ketchup and coated my tongue with the sauces, then summoned a majestic dragon of beef to fulfill my carnivorous desires. Yes, I realize that is an absurd simile, but whatever. Go eat the Mash dog at Asiadog. It is phenomenal. Because of this, I raised my rating up a notch. I also plan on going back and trying all of their combinations.

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P.S. Red wine and white wine don’t make Rosé, silly. But for now, here’s a few other fusions to think about. Jay Z and Beyonce fornicated and made Blue Ivy. Fusion. An Orange and a Grapefruit rolled into each other on a grassy knoll and made a Tangelo. Fusion. A pig’s intestine was filled with low quality meat and formed a hot dog. Fusion, my friends, fusion.

Cheers

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