Thursday, November 30, 2006

Putnam County Hot Dog Joint--Teays Valley Dairy Queen

A few months ago, in this very booth (see photo), a lunchtime meeting was held at the Dairy Queen in Teays Valley. Not since the agreement between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown was made at the Granita restaurant in Islington, London has a meal so shaped the future of the world...

Ok, the hyperbole is about to make me gag, but still, this place holds a special place in the lore of, as it was where Stanton offered me a position with the site as the Huntington-area reviewer and first taught me how to properly taste the ingredients of a WV hot dog (and warned me about the strange looks that I would receive).

Like most cities/town/census designated places/clumps of population in West Virginia, Teays Valley has long had a Dairy Queen. As subdivisions and McMansions have sprung up in the former farm lands along Teays Valley Road (county route 33), the Dairy Queen has gained a sense of specialness and timelessness in an increasingly architecturally uniform area. They use the sign to congratulate local folk on birthdays, anniversaries, etc and have made themselves a popular part of the community.

Foodwise, they offer the standard Dairy Queen selection: dogs, burgers, fries, Chicken Strip Baskets, etc and all of the ice cream treats that have made DQ famous.

As for their weenies, the Teays Valley Dairy Queen's hot dog is a figurative essay on highs and lows. The bun and slaw rock. The sauce (erm, chili, I forgot that I am east of Hurricane city limits) and weenie are not so good.

When I ordered my dawg, I asked for sauce (then quickly blurted out chili), slaw, onions, and mustard, to which the guy responded "a hot dog with everything." He then asked "Would you like your bun toasted?" I'm not usually a big fan of toasted buns, but I suspected that this was par for the course and I went with my when in Rome mentality that guides my way through the world of hot dog toppings and nodded my head in the affirmative.

As I drove back to work, I was quite glad that I had the bun toasted. The smell of the freshly toasted bread made me at least 70% more hungry and nearly tempted to pull over and eat it alongside the busy road.

When i first inspected the dawg, the toasted New England Split-top bun was indeed impressive. I tore off a bit and tasted it on its own. Nice, very nice.

The weenie, on the other hand, was as blah as blah can be. It was the standard deep-frozen weenie that you get at every DQ. Remember the wieners that they served in grade school? It was about like that. I will give them style points, however, for grilling the sausage.

The sauce was your standard DQ coney sauce that Stanton has described in depth many times over. I think they added some spice to liven it up, but I still cannot stand the spongey, Chef Boyardee-esque beef (?) product that they use in their sauce.

Since the sauce wasn't notable, its a good thing that they came through on the slaw. It was sweet (but still with a lil' bit of zing), finely chopped, and piled high. This is exactly the kind of slaw that Hillbilly Hot Dogs needs to make the perfect dog. Too bad it is wasted on such a sub-par weenie-chili combo.

Now to the ratings:

Bun: 4 weenies. It has made me rethink the way I look at toasted split-tops.

Wiener: 1.5 weenies. And it only gets that for the effort that they put into grilling it.

Chili (sauce to normal folk): 2 weenies. DQ coney sauce bites. Hard.

Slaw: 4.5 weenies. One of the best.

Overall: 3 weenies. The bun and the slaw save the day and make it worthy of buying if you are hungry and in the area.

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