Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fads, Secrets, and More Bacon

The night owls among us recognize the current fad that is the speakeasy. Those certain secret after-hours locations that only a certain select few know about. During the period of prohibition, these often corrupt establishments that covertly sold alcohol were kept secret from the disciplinary wrath of the local police. Today, they are kept secret from the general public to protect (or forge) their aura of cool, not to protect their owners from a raid. Unlisted phone numbers and addresses. Hidden paths and doors. Secret knocks and passwords. Only those deemed decidedly hip are let in on these secrets, by another decidedly hip individual already in-the-know.

I had heard about a mysterious place that only lets you in if you find the secret phone booth, pick up the phone, and say the password. Last night I was out with some decidedly hip friends, walking around the East Village, laughing, distracted - not even realizing that we had paused at a tiny phone booth inside a hole-in-the-wall joint. Suddenly, after Mary had stepped inside and said something into the phone, the false back wall of the booth moved swiftly to the right and a beautiful woman popped her face through: "I'm so sorry, but we're full right now. Try back later?"

It's no secret that "creative gourmet" is a current fad among hot dog lovers. A recent episode of Top Chef featured a challenge where the contestants had to create their own unique take on the hot dog. Luckily, despite being turned away from the secret phone booth speakeasy, the aforementioned hole-in-the-wall joint we landed in served creative gourmet hot dogs. So we feasted instead.

I ordered the "Chihuahua" dog - a classic hot dog wrapped in a crispy strip of bacon and served smothered with avocado, salsa and sour cream. Until last night, I've been eating my hot dogs primarily with a thin drizzle of ketchup and mustard. Sometimes I would get crazy and try onions, relish, or even chili with some cheese, but mostly I would stick with just ketchup and mustard. Oh, what I have been missing out on! Bacon wrapped hot dog = genius. It wasn't the first time a strip of bacon changed my life, and I doubt it will be the last.

Here are some other creations I can't wait to try:
  • The "Chang" - a dog wrapped in bacon and topped with kimchee
  • The "BLT" - a dog wrapped in bacon and topped with lettuce, tomato and mayo
  • The "Tsunami" - a dog wrapped in bacon with teriyaki sauce, pineapple and green onions
  • The "Good Morning" - a dog wrapped in (yup, you guessed it!) bacon and covered with melted cheese and a fried egg

We didn't end up in the arcane room behind the moving wall. It didn't matter; I discovered a better secret. A place, not hidden, that I can get an awesome-tasting New York hot dog, loaded with goodies, for much less than the cost of a New York night spot cover charge.

Tell me about the best hot dog you've ever tried!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've made hot dog, egg, and cheese omelets before. The hot dog was my replacement for bacon. I know, I know they aren't equal. My favorite hot dog is a pig in a blanket. Slit a hot dog down the middle, fill it with cheese and wrap it in croissant dough. Bake for 10-15 minutes and you are 10 years old again!