Oh the park at Echo Park. While it is unquestionably a Mecca for local Hispanic family picnics, it is also unquestionably working hard to attract the local hipsters. Hence, Square One at the Boathouse exists literally in the boathouse where people can rent paddle boats and serves up some good-looking if not exciting-looking food.
While out on Frenchman Street in New Orleans, eventually the alcohol consumption began to get to me and I realized I had to eat something. That something turned out to be Dat Dog, an “encased meats” spot with plenty of tube steaks to choose from, beer on the menu and toppings galore to choose from.
After the disappointment of Theodore’s Red Hots, I thought I would see if Ted’s Hot Dogs, the one that started up in 1927, was any better. After all, they had plenty of time to perfect the recipe. This time, though, I went with a meal deal because I had a coupon and because two chili cheese dogs in one night obviously isn’t enough for me. So, along with the chili cheese dog I ordered fries and a drink.
In the land of Buffalo, there was a great schism. It happened a few years ago when Ted’s Hot Dogs, the local hot dog goliath, decided it didn’t want the original Ted’s grandson involved anymore and did away with him. Out of spite, he opened Theodore’s Red Hots and I decided I needed a bit of a taste test. I started out at Theodore’s, ordering their chili cheese dog.
In the year 1915, World War I was in full swing, women still couldn’t vote in our fine country and Thyphoid Mary was doing her thing. Oh and Station Street opened in Pittsburgh. But considering the place is run by local celeb chef Kevin Sousa, it’s safe to assume the place has changed. In fact, it even seems to have changed recently, adding street food like tacos and bibimbap (both of which probably didn’t exist in the Pittsburgh lexicon in 1915) to its list already extensive list of hot dogs.
Some cities have restaurants that have been around since the beginning of forever. In Washington, D.C., that place is Ben’s Chili Bowl, which I believe has been serving up chili since the Lincoln presidency. No? Well Eisenhower is close enough. Our current POTUS has paid the place a visit at least once and according to a sign is one of only two people (aside from his family) that eats free. The other, obviously, is Bill Cosby.
My trip to Ben’s Chili Bowl started out ominously. After waiting in line for more than 30 minutes and marveling at the inefficiency (perhaps some spillover from congress?), I had to run to a show down the street before ordering. Upon my return, however, I snagged a spot at the counter and was (at least in Ben’s Chili Bowl time) quickly waited upon.
Pennsylvania has some crazy alcohol laws. One of these is that places that sell six packs of beer also have to sell immediately consumable food. You know, like a restaurant. Clever, enterprising humans in Pittsburgh have realized that the easiest and cheapest way to do this is through selling hot dogs, so Pittsburgh is full of crappy little hot dog spots with overpriced beer. Despite the name, D’s Six Pax & Dogz is not one of these places.
In an afternoon filled with wandering around Lawrenceville for food and drink, a group of us finally found ourselves at Franktuary. With a church-esque theme, Franktuary fits right in to Pittsburgh, which seems to have more churches per capita than Vatican City. And it’s not just a little hot dog joint. Franktuary is a full-on restaurant specializing in hot dogs, but with a lot else to offer.
Shortly after moving to Pittsburgh, my friend and site designer alerted me to the existence of a hot dog place called The Original Hot Dog Shop in Oakland that had been around since 1960, which may not be old for Pittsburgh, but is damn old having come from LA. I like hot dogs and originals, but unbeknownst to me until showing up for lunch was that The Original Hot Dog Shop (also known as the Dirty O) is more of a late-night haunt than a lunch stop. Nonetheless, I wanted a good hot dog and was happy to eat it in a dingy spot with great late-night character in the middle of the day.
After Portland we made our way into the Great White North, although surprisingly Canada wasn’t quite covered in white in the middle of the summer. We began in Vancouver, and I found myself a Japadog stand to satisfy my hunger. In case you are unable to read between the lines, Japadog is simply a Japanese hot dog stand, serving up typical Japanese-style hot dogs and other interesting hot dogs with Japanese toppings on them. It’s been around since 2005 and is pretty well-regarded in the street food scene. At least it was regarded enough that I can say that I had heard of them at some point in my life.