Hot Dogs and Sundry

I am fairly certain that if Whole Foods stopped selling their veggie dogs, I would be dead by now.

When I was a kid, I hated hot dogs. I could taste the chemicals and the poor quality meat, but didn’t know that’s why they tasted that way. I also had an aversion to the smell of hot dogs boiling, and that made me nauseous way before I tried to eat them. I liked sausage just fine, so it wasn’t that I had an aversion to tube steak. Just the ones specifically marked as “hot dogs,” and the “wurst” were the ones that mixed poor quality beef AND poor quality pork. When I had no other choice, I would eat the bread and all the toppings and the chips and/or french fries, leaving the frank on the plate where someone, hopefully, would grab it from me before no one noticed I hadn’t eaten it.

The first time I had a grilled hot dog, I noted that it was slightly better, but only because of the taste of the grill marks. The inside tasted the same. Two bites and I was over it. Maybe it just wasn’t done enough. I can say this in retrospect because I truly love either low sodium pork or turkey SPAM sliced thinly and laid low and slow on a heat source. It takes forever, but what you get is bacon on crack. Perhaps if I’d grilled my hotdogs sliced longways over slow heat, it would have been a different experience altogether. As a child, I hadn’t learned to cook, and therefore could not give my mother or my friends’ mothers the finer points of feeding me.

As it turns out, I do like hot dogs. A lot. I just prefer the ones with no meat in them. I am not exactly sure what IS in them, exactly, but I know that it tastes like hot dog. That should be close enough. It’s probably some kind of texturized vegetable protein that will one day rise up and kill us all, but it’s delicious with a bit of cream cheese and Sriracha.

That’s another thing about hot dogs. I used to go to this restaurant called “Zach’s Shack” in Portland, where they had trivia and $2 PBR tallboys on Wednesday nights. The hot dogs were expensive, but also the best in town. Well, technically, they aren’t that expensive except that I could always eat two or three plus fries (I tend to eat one large meal a day instead of spreading it out). They gave me the idea of loading up a hot dog with cream cheese, and if you’ve never tried it, you should get on that shit MANANA. I use Sriracha here, but if you can get a bottle of Secret Aardvark sauce, all the better. Just make sure you get either full or low fat cream cheese. No fat and the Aardvark will burn all the way down to your asshole. That’s the secret.

Zach’s original idea was to mix cream cheese and bleu cheese to spread on the bun, then top the dog with Aardvark and shredded carrots. Aardvark isn’t really a wing sauce, per se, but you get the general idea. Heaven on a bun.

So, now veggie hot dogs are my favorite meal, and I eat them all the time… ironically enough, most of the time cold and right out of the package as I am on my way up the stairs- no hot needed. When I am bothered to make a sandwich, I prefer either sourdough or potato hot dog buns, and I make two. One with ketchup and mustard, and one with cream cheese and hot sauce. I don’t drink PBR anymore, though. I’d rather save my calories for another hot dog at midnight. 😉


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