Crif Dog

I don’t really eat out that much, but I was on the internet today reading about hot dogs, and was interested in Crif Dogs for their deep-fried hot dog style. And then upon rereading some of the old blogs on this food party blog, I remembered that one of our favorite bloggers, Doan Buu, had mentioned preferring this place over another hot dog place that he reviewed.

Walking down St. Marks, I never really crave a hot dog, but today, Danny B and I were debating over what to eat for dinner. He was into eating some hummus, but then would not stop talking about hot dogs, and then I said, “Well I’d rather eat Hot Dogs than Hummus!” So we went to Crif Dogs!

We walked in on an early Friday evening, and the place was half empty, double dragon and donkey kong arcade games in the front, old skate videos playing on TV with little kids skating, cute trucker-hatted blond lady manning the counter with pigtail braids, dim lighting, and mainly yuppie couples having quiet little dinners. Danny B and I ordered; he got the “Spicy Redneck” (chili, cheese, jalapenos, coleslaw, hotdog is wrapped in bacon) with a plain dog, and I got the “Chihuahua” with jalapenos. (“chihuahua” has sour cream, avocado, hotdog is wrapped in bacon).

"chihuahua." I was really worried it wasn't going to be spicy, so I added jalapenos. Thank god.

"spicy redneck" and a plain dog; Danny B anticipated the toppings being overloaded enough to spread on another hotdog. He was right.

This was the "small" order of tater tots. They came out piping hot.

Is this picture upside down? I don't care.

The deep-fried aspect of this hot dog was awesome. Nice dry snap on the outside, juicy on the inside. Loved it. The toppings we got felt totally L.A. oki-dog/danger dog style, which are my favorite hot dogs anyway. Danny B and I enjoyed this place a lot, and all in all, this place gets two swift farts from us.

Oh! I forgot to mention there was this totally spooky phone booth in the restaurant that people kept going into and then disappearing. Later I found out it’s a speakeasy.

Anyway, I always think it’s a little weird to out of your way for a hot dog, and if you’re on St. Mark’s and crave a hot dog, this place does rule. If you’re in Greenpoint though, I hear the new 7-eleven that just opened up on Manhattan Ave serves a very good JUMBO DOG!! (Dana Strasser testifies requiring 4 hands and 20 napkins!!)

This is actually a cheeseburger, not a hot dog, but this sums it all up. (Apparently, it's also the awesome album art for a Greenpoint band named "Cheeseburger.")

Mini DC Trip & NY Spot

My first post. I’m long overdue. You guys have no idea how many cooking/restaurant adventures haven’t made it to this point. Like Ms. Neola I have pictures and unwritten posts galore. Today I’m going with this mini-DC/NewYork trip I went on while my girlfriend was off in Ghana. First I went on a  quick little road trip to our nation’s capital with my good friend Ben (fellow arteest and a co-founder of our semi-fictional high school establishment known as the Fat Boy Club). We only had about two days, and spent much of it walking around the monuments. Then my friend Chris and I went on a trip to NY to visit Thu and Danny B and provide marginal assistance with a Food Party set. Food were had. Good food.

Washington DC.

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The White House.

My boss’s daughter lives in DC, so I went with two suggestions of his. The first was Ben’s Chili Bowl. The second was Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

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After a little research, I learned that Ben’s Chili Bowl is a DC institution, surviving riots, economic blight and gentrification. Visited by presidents, Bill Cosby, and many other celebrities, Ben’s still has much of the same furniture from the 60′s.

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So there is definitely a cool vibe as soon as you walk in. Its crowded, the music is going from 70′s funk to Bob Marley to Motown and the smell makes your stomach implode with hungry juice. There’s a long line that at times will start to poke out of the door, and even though tables are being snatched up as soon as they are vacated, there is a homeless guy dozing off taking up a whole booth by himself, no one kicking him out. This, I guess, is reminiscent of a time from the mid 70′s to mid 80′s when that area was so bad they had one employee and people really just came to hang out. There’s a really interesting history, read more here. Now that whole area is lined with trendy bars and restaurants, and Ben’s is the lone survivor, making it a very hip place for the youths to frequent. Scanning the place you can see homeless (looking) guy, arty girl, churchy black dude, fancy lady, college kid etc. all there for some good food.

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Between the two of us we ordered chili dogs, regular dogs, chili cheese fries, and milkshakes. I love how they split the hot dog and put toppings in there.

Their chili is more of a meaty sauce. Dark with a hint of smoke, it has just the right amount of spice and only a trace amount of beans (I have a tenuous relationship with beans). They put it on everything. Their hot dogs were great and the milkshake was thick and tasty. The shake actually reminded me of one I must have had as a kid because I was having a milkshake flashback (tastes like nostalgia).

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I enjoy food. I’m earnest with it. Ben is goofy. I’m very full.

 

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

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This is actually a chain that exists along most of the East Coast. At that time (months ago), there were no Five Guys in my area, and I am always intrigued by food I can’t get in New England. I also happen to be a burger addict/connoisseur.

So here’s the thing I took away from this one. It’s pretty simple and obvious. With burgers, the only things you need to almost guarantee success are fresh ingredients. After that, you can’t really fudge it up unless you are incompetent or hate the person you’re cooking for. So, although I can say that the bacon cheeseburger was absolutely excellent, I came away understanding that any of us can create a burger this good with the proper things to work with, most specifically fresh beef. This is how one attains that flavor most of us associate with a good burger. I highly recommend Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Another cardinal rule: When there’s only one thing on the menu, you know it has to be good.

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They have a great system and if it weren’t for the line you¹d get your food in less than 10 minutes.

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A messy appearance that belies a purity of taste. A burger is two patties. You have to get a small for one patty. My type of place. Their fries are fried in 100% peanut oil and come seasoned and regular. Get the seasoned – delicious perfection.

I’ve got to give them some style points. Their whole vibe seems centered around a theme of simplicity. Simple red and white décor, simple menu. The menu is burgers, hot dogs, fries, milkshakes, and soda. Cheese and bacon extra, toppings free. They’ve got all the free peanuts you can eat while waiting for your food, and that’s it. Makes life just seem easy.

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Mowing. Not like a lawn. Rhymes with plowing, so like a field, I guess. Note the sweat on my brow. This is serious.

A NY Spot
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The studio in Manhattan. I put that depression in the milk crate.

In NY we helped (or would like to believe we helped) on some preparation for the Cave Duck episode. Then on our way back to Greenpoint we stopped at a Middle Eastern place right by the train station. I’m sorry, I honestly can’t remember the name of the place, as I was blinded by hunger, but most of you New Yorkers may already have a vague idea of where I’m talking about. This place was great. Most people were getting falafel pitas. I got lamb. And was it ever good. There was red cabbage and that delightful yogurty mayonnaise, but the most special thing was the pickles. I can honestly say I’ve never had pickles quite like that before. They were perfect with the grilled flavor of the meat. Next time I’m in NY I absolutely must revisit.

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Here’s a photo of some more mowing. Chris, Thu, and I. Aerial shot by Danny B.

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What a delicious taste combination! Chris’ plate looks great. I can’t remember what he had, but I want to go back in time and steal the pickles off his plate every time I see this. And yes, I am aware of the size discrepancy in these photos.

As far as prices go, I really don’t remember that either, but since I’m poor you can rest assured it was all reasonable.

Until next time! -Vinnie

OKI DOG

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Hi guys! This weekend I found myself in Los Angeles again, for one day, and we stopped at the most charming little hot dog place before leaving for the airport to go to Lake Tahoe for a Yoga/Music Festival. Let me get back to talking about these hot dogs.

Actually before that, I can try to give you a little background on this place. Scheid and Chris Duffy breifly mentioned before we got here that this aparently had been a really hot spot for rowdy drunks to go to after attending punk and hardcore shows at nearby clubs. It was common catchphrase at some point after a rowdy show to say “see ya at oki dog’s”.

After some mild googling, I learned that the “oki dog” was invented by an Okinawan, named Sakai “Jimmy” Sueyoshi, who moved to America in the 70s, and eventually opened up a hot dog stand to make a dollar. It was open late and located near Hollywood nightclubs and featured a signature dish: a burrito filled with 2 hotdogs, pastrami, and chili cheese. This is exactly what you want when you are sweaty and wasted, right? He is so smart. You can read more about the history here.

Anyway, we went on a hot afternoon, for most of us including me, this was my first meal of the day, so it was a little intimidating. I love this menu so hard, because everything about it rules.

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I went for the Oki Dog with a Pepsi, one of the more intense breakfasts I’ve ever had. The Oki Dog seriously looked at me in the face with its hotdog EYES and laughed at me with its pastrami LIPS as I bit into it. I looked at it back straight in its eyes, and it still intimidated me. I felt fear for one of the few times in my life at the fact that my food was looking back at me, staring me down like a champion heavyweight contender, and winning. It beat me, too. I only made it halfway through. I left with my head hanging down, defeated. I’ll be back for a rematch next chance I get.

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Oh, and for one more dollar, you can get french fries comparable in quality and quantity to the ones from the Dirty O in Pittsburgh. Except krispier.

I liked this sign on the wall telling you what is in an Oki Dog. PS, you’re eating 3 variations of meat at once. Check out MUST tard. And the smily faces. And the creative spelling. And the penmanship of this sign totally belongs to someone who is constantly saying “Fuck Yeah!!” to himself in his head :

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I realized in no other city do I enjoy hot dogs more than I do in Los Angeles. Not a nathan’s hot dog, a papaya dog, a hot dog from Steve’s in Cleveland, a coney from Skyline in Cincinatti, compare to these LA street dogs. The night before going to Oki Dog’s, before going to bed, I had a very sinful eating experience. I wandered around looking for snack around 230 am and saw a lady selling delicious hotdogs from a little push cart very similar to the ones I had outside of The Smell last year. These big dogs are grilled, wrapped in bacon, topped with grilled peppers and onions, and ketchup, mustard and MAYO!! I thanked her graciously and brought it back to my hotel room and ate it in bed.

THANKSGIVING ’08, and a great HOT DOG that I almost forgot about

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This is the turkey I roasted for Thanksgiving. This year I celebrated T-Day with a bunch of my Cleveland-based friends who live in New York. I hosted at my apartment. Here is my good friend and roommate Zachariah carving the turkey. He looks like he’s doing a great job!

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The turkey I made this year was an herb-mustard roasted turkey with a sourdough pretzel stuffing. I brined the turkey overnight in salt and sugar water, and made an herb mustard butter to rub down the turkey and baste with. The herb mustard butter contained 1.5 stixxx of butter, 2 huge tablespoons of dijon mustard, a giant handful of fresh finely chopped flat-leaf parsely, green onions, and thyme, and salt, pepper and honey. This is the stuff that is sludged all over the turkey in the photo above. Below are some photos of its preparation:

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The stuffing is made like normal stuffing, except instead of croutons, I used sourdough dough pretzel “nibblerz”. Plus, no additional salt is needed to season the stuffing because pretzel’s have built-in salt. It’s good!!

The real beauty of a “friends’” Thanksgiving is that it’s like a high-end pot luck dinner. It’s not really a ton of work for the host because everyone brings something. As a result, there’s always way too much food, there’s always a ton of carb-heavy dishes, and oh yeah, sooooooooo much alcohol (8 cases of beer, 1 bottle of whiskey, one giant bottle of vodka, one little bottle of scotch, 2 bottles of champagne, 2 bottles of white wine, 4 bottles of red wine, and a big stock pot of hot 151 apple cider, HOLY SHIT WTF).

For dinner, we had FOUR varieties of stuffing (pretzel stuffing, bacon stuffing, cornbread stuffing, vegetarian stuffing with pine nuts), 3 pies (pecan, pumpkin, blueberry), pumpkin risotto, mashed spiced sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, meat and veggie gravy, roasted root vegetable medley, 2 fresh cranberry sauces (jalapeno and orange), and I don’t remember anything else.

Before dinner, we had wonderful snacks as well. Shawn Lovejoy brought over a wonderful cheese plate with very fine cheeses, Jed brought over a shrimp cocktail as well as some beet goat cheese croissant wheels.

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Thanksgiving was fun!

Now about this HOT DOG. I was actually reminded of this hot dog upon uploading these thanksgiving photos onto my computer, because these hot dog photos were still on my digital camera’s memory card. This was actually one of the best hot dogs I’ve ever eaten. It was in Los Angeles right outside of The Smell at like 3 am. There were these beautiful Latino ladies grilling hot dogs on an aluminum foil covered shopping cart.

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Let me tell you about these hot dogs. First of all the hot dog itself was twice the size of a normal hot dog. It was topped with perfectly grilled onions, bacon, mayonnaise and poblano peppers. Some dude came up to me before I bought my hot dog and said to me, “This is the BEST hot dog you will ever eat. I am not related to these women, and I am telling you this! This is the BEST hot dog you will ever eat!!” He was right! Everything about it was awesome.

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Afterwards, Molly twirled baton. The End!!!!

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