I recently received a copy of Guy Fieri's new book "Diners Drive-Ins and Dives: An All-American Road Trip...with Recipes!" Hillbilly Hot Dogs is now a part of literary history as they are included in the book among some of the best of the best featured on the show.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I recently received a copy of Guy Fieri's new book "Diners Drive-Ins and Dives: An All-American Road Trip...with Recipes!" Hillbilly Hot Dogs is now a part of literary history as they are included in the book among some of the best of the best featured on the show.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Posted by Stanton at 8:32 PM
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Sabatino Brothers is a nice little storefront operation in one of the accessory strip malls at the Southridge shopping center. They have offered Philly-style cheese steak sandwiches since they opened, but except for a kiddie menu concession there have never been hot dogs on the menu. I always thought they were missing an opportunity because there is no other HDJ in the vicinity of Southridge, which on any given day has sufficient population to qualify it as one of the larger cities in West Virginia. So I was not at all surprised when I drove by recently and saw a sign advertising a hot dog special - 2 hot dogs, drink and chips for $4.99 - except for being surprised that it took so long. Restaurant owner John Smallridge is a saavy businessman and he should have seen the same opportunity long before I did.
So anyway, I braved the crush of the lunchtime Christmas shopping crazies and made my way to Southridge one recent afternoon so I could sample the new dogs. When I first got inside the door I saw that the special advertised outside could have french fries added for a buck. I went all out and got the special even though I wasn't planning on eating many of the fries. I was told that "everything" included mustard, onions, chili and slaw; a good start.
The first thing I noticed was the GINORMOUS hunks of onions sitting on top of the otherwise normal looking dog. Seriously, "coarsely chopped" would be a huge undertatement. These things were onionbergs; they could have sunk a small ship. They looked as if the prep chef had torn apart the onion with his bare hands. And if the size wasn't enough, the taste of the onions was almost chemical! They were the hottest and most bitter tasting things I have ever, ever had on a hot dog. Luckily they were easy to remove so after the first bite I didn't have to suffer their wrath.
Once I got past the unfortunate onionbergs, I found some pretty good tasting slaw (a little heavy on mayo) and decent chili that was far meatier than most. The bun was soft, but the weenie was even softer! The consistency of this thing was similar to a Vienna Sausage. It had apparently been sititng in a pot of water for a very long time. Some people claim a weenie should "snap" when you bite it; this one squishes.
The whole hot dog experience at Sabatino's was less than expected from a place that has such a nice and diverse menu. They could keep the chili, dry up the slaw and then put that grill to use and grill the weenies to order and they would have a nice hot dog. But the onions have to go.
I like the atmosphere and friendliness of Sabatino Brothers. They have an interesting menu and a nice comfortable place to sit and eat. It's hard to give this place a poor weenie rank because they have so much potential to provide the dogless masses of Southridge with proper sustenance. But we don't grade on potential. 2 Weenies.
Posted by Stanton at 12:21 AM
Friday, November 14, 2008
After a long, unintended break from doing reviews, I decided it was time to get back to work and see what new offerings I could find in the hot dog realm. I took the opportunity to finally visit Dagwood's in Clarksburg, which I had heard has some of the best sandwiches in town. Dagwood's theme is based on the very same sandwich-loving comic strip character from your Sunday newspaper. Copyright infringement? Who knows. I'm not about to debate the specifics.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 8:21 AM
Thursday, November 06, 2008
State Journal reporter Ann Ali has blessed us with a nice article in the most recent edition of West Virginia's business news weekly paper. If you have found your way here because of that article I hope you stick around a while and check out some of our archived posts.
We've been a little slow lately but now that the elections are over maybe we can get back to what makes this country great: hot dogs!
Posted by Stanton at 9:54 PM
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
An old colleague in New Martinsville pointed out this little stand near the southwest end of the downtown business district. A pleasant fall day and a scenic overlook of the Ohio River were enough to make for an enjoyable lunch, but this place had two other bonuses going for it: first prize for probably THE most original name I've come across in the state yet (sorry Haught Diggity Dogz), and the for being the first place this far north that actually lists a West Virginia Hot Dog on the menu by name.
I played dumb and asked exactly what comes on one. My friendly cashier put down what she was doing to use hand gestures to show me which layer had which toppings. Thankfully, they know what they're doing. Well, except for the styrofoam coffin. The price was a bit on the higher side at $2.00, but the upward prices are more likely the trend for the foreseeable future.
I found the slaw to be of decent quality. The cabbage had a slight crispness to it, and a decent sweet/tang to the dressing. The consistency was just right in that that the dressing seeped into the nicely steamed English bun but didn't saturate it. I thought that putting the rather chunky bits of onion on top of the slaw instead of the chili was a rather interesting concept. Nothing wrong with it, mind you, just something different.
The chili (and it was called "chili" here, not "sauce") was much sweeter than I'm accustomed to and seemed to be a bit skimpy in the amount of beef in it. Still, it managed to work really well with the other ingredients and was both enjoyable and satisfying.
The service was very good. The hot dogs are very, very good. The name is certainly original. Scream n' Dogs is good enough to rate four weenies. This even takes into account the half-weenie deduction for the use of an English bun instead of a regular bun. Beyond that, I'm still thrilled to find someone get the concept of a real West Virginia Hot Dog spot on, rather than just calling it a "chili dog with slaw".
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 8:22 PM
Friday, October 03, 2008
If there is one way to describe my whole experience and Wing World Plus Hot Dog Heaven WV, it would have to be "half-bunned."
Within my first two minutes in the joint, I personally witnessed three instances of tension between the owner and employees. At that point, I really, really should have left. But, ever intrepid (meaning stupid), I order up a dog with chili, slaw, onions, and mustard.
The weenie was of the same quality as my grade school cafeteria after the Reagan budget cuts in the 80s and was about as waterlogged as one of the trees left in Gad for bass habitat.
The sauce was okay, but reminded me of a bland knockoff of Hot Dog Stand chili sauce. Think of Full House's fourth season. Very TGIF.
The slaw was from a national supply company of some sort, as there were bits of pickle relish and other odd bits of vegetable matter that no self-respecting WV would ever put in something that might end up on a hot dog. I imagine that one of the gang over at Fork You could even tell you the location of the plant where it was made (my guess: Wenatchee, Washington).
The whole thing was served out-of-order, too, as mustard was slopped all over the place. Either Jackson Pollack was back there making my dog, or the weenista just didn't give a crap.
I'm not saying that places like Romeo's or Sam's or T&L are using kobe beef and organic cabage or anything like that, but they have found a taste and a certain level of quality that their customers appreciate and match the price point accordingly. While they are in business to make money, they also have a certain level of respect for quality control. This place seems to be using cheap ingredients and selling them at a standard price for a WV hot dog ($1.19 + tax) in order to maximize profit.
With a bunch of fair to good HDJs 'tween Scott Depot and Culloden, this place better have great wings. Otherwise, they totally fail to justify their existence.
Half-bunned, half of a score: 2.5 weenies
Posted by Christopher Scott Jones at 7:47 AM
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Just when I think I've seen it all in the hot dog culinary arts, along comes a new take on an old favorite. A return to New Martinsville gave me the opportunity to pay visit to Choo Choo's Restaurant. Word of mouth from some associates was that this was a fantastic diner with some terrific classic diner-style offerings, and they did indeed offer up a couple of unique hot dogs that I was told I wouldn't find anywhere else.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 10:25 PM
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Sometimes there is nothing better than just playing it safe and sticking with something familiar and reliable. With that thought in mind, I took a trip to the outskirts of Clarksburg for a good ol' West Virginia dog from T&L Hot Dogs' Rosebud Plaza location. This location is (I believe) the second oldest location in the chain, with downtown Bridgeport holding the title as the original restaurant.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 9:44 PM
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Along Rt. 39 just a few miles west of the Summersville city limit sign is the little town (wide spot in the road) known as Drennen. One of the key features of the town is the Drennen Dairy Bar, and one of the key features of the dairy bar is its hot dogs. They are legendary and many people have emailed me with requests for a review. It took a while to make it up that way, but a recent weekend road trip afforded me the opportunity to check it out.
It seemed like I was the first customer of the day when I arrived for an early lunch. I was greeted promptly and cheerfully and when I asked what was included on an "everything" dog I received the proper answer: Chil, slaw, mustard and onions.
The bun was nicely steamed and the heft of the hot dog was substantial. It fairly molded itself to my hand when I took it out of its coffin. The slaw was finely chopped and pile high on top of an equally generous portion of chili, which was runny and soaked nicely into the bun. A nice big squirt of mustard peeked out from under the slaw.
The taste test revealed that the chili was only slightly spicy but had a nice flavor. The chili was barely sweetened, but it worked well with the slaw. The onions were mild and chopped into very minute pieces. This hot dog was a joy to behold and to eat.
We'll give Drennen Dairy Bar a 4 1/2 Weenie rating. A little spicier chili would be nice.
Posted by Stanton at 9:54 PM
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Huntington's incumbent mayor, David Felinton, will be hosting a free hot dog cookout at the Ritter Park picnic shelter on Teusday, September 16.
This will be a great time to press him on some of the important issues facing Huntington:
- Why does Stewart's serve underweenie sauce?
- What is his stance on slaw education for kindergarteners?
- Can we get the alley behind the Sam's Hot Dog Stand in Highlawn paved?
- Should the health dept. start cracking down on ketchup on hot dogs?
- Would he support the re-introduction of tarring and feathering for stale buns?
- Finally, would metro government impact our ability to buy moonshine from that killer HDJ off of Rt. 10 that we don't tell lawyers or artists from Charleston about?
Posted by Christopher Scott Jones at 9:51 PM
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Located in a former Domino's Pizza location in a neighborhood with a troubled past, this little HDJ has an interestingly diverse menu. While the name would imply it's a fish joint - and they do have a good selection of fish offerings - they also have things like philly steak sandwiches, pizza bread, ham and cheese sandwiches and calzones. Oh, and hot dogs.
I guess I should begin with a disclaimer: Big Daddy's is not owned by our north central WV reviewer who goes by the same moniker. Any resemblance is purely coincidental. And I can assure you that if our BD had his own HDJ they wouldn't put ketchup on hot dogs; which these folks do unless instructed otherwise.
So this Big Daddy's is located on that little strip of land that isn't quite the West Side and isn't quite North Charleston on Seventh Avenue just around the corner from Patrick Street. The place used to house a restaurant with the unlikely name of "Some Kind of Wonderful Express" and that sign still occupies the top of the pole. A changeable letter sign denotes the business' new name and hand painted (read scrawled) letters on the storefront windows put the world on notice that hot dogs lurk inside.
After I navigated the ketchup infested waters and secured a hot dog with the right stuff (read chili, slaw, mustard and onions) I sat outside on the picnic bench; the only seating available at this establishment. The dog was wrapped in aluminum foil and was overstuffed with the driest chili I have ever seen and a huge helping of slaw. The flavor of both was OK, but the volume made this a somewhat satisfying dog. The weenie was large caliber and beefy tasting. The bun was unremarkable.
I won't spend much time getting to the point: This is not a very good hot dog. I am going back to Big Daddy's sometime to try the fish, but this is one of those places that serve hot dogs obligatorily and it tastes like it. Let's give it a 2.5 Weenie score simply because the size makes it a satisfying meal.
I'm going back for fish sometime, but since Big Daddy's is less than a mile from two really good HDJs I won't be stopping for hot dogs.
Posted by Stanton at 11:17 PM
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I walk past this little downtown cafe regularly. It sits on Lee Street, just a half block away from Capitol Street and a few doors down from The Sitar of India (yes, please). When I first started this blog I went in one day looking for hot dogs on the menu but found none. I was surprised by the lack of hot dogs because it looks like a prime suspect with funky neon decor and a laid back vibe, but I never checked back. Today was such a nice day that I decided that I needed to eat lunch outside and I remembered that I had seen that The Blue Moon had a nice patio adjacent to the shady confines of Davis Park (by "shady" I mean that it has lots of trees, not lots of shady characters - most of them are a block over at Brawley Park), and decided that it would get my lunch budget dollars for today.
When I walked in I was greeted by a happy sight: A "specials" sign that advertised "2 Hot Dogs and Macaroni Salad - $4.99"! So I got the meatloaf sandwich.
Just kidding. But it did look good.
No, I got the hot dogs and, boy oh boy, I am very glad that I did. And Swiftwater Cafe better be glad I didn't go to Blue Moon before handing out this year's awards. This is a great hot dog. I'm sure that some would like it better than Swiftwater's excellent offering, but it might not be for everyone, and here's why: It is sweet. I mean really sweet. The chili is sweet, meaty and delicious. It has a wonderful, slightly BBQ inspired flavor and is as meaty as any chili you're likely to find. The slaw is equally sweet; as sweet as any in Charleston. You might think that all of the sweetness by be overdoing it, but I'm telling you that this is a great hot dog. The weenie is great as well and the mustard was applied generously. I was amazed that this hot dog was found at a place that doesn't specialize in the genre.
On my way out I inquired as to how often they served hot dogs and was told that they have them every day. They aren't on the menu board over the counter, but they always have them. I will be going back soon to see if they are always this good.
In addition to the great hot dog, the outdoor dining space was very nice and peaceful. I would rank it as perhaps the best alfresco dining spot in town.
And I rank The Blue Moon Cafe a solid 5 Weenie HDJ!
Posted by Stanton at 9:53 PM
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Ever since I was a wee tyke I have loved frozen root beer. After the last A&W in Charleston closed in the early 80's I went for years without the frosty mug goodness until a few imitation A&W locations opened throughout the Kanawha Valley in the late 90s. The root beer they served wasn't quite the same but at least it had the icy sludge floating in top that I remembered from my youth. There was no other root beer place around that offered this frozen goodness. In an attempt to slake my thirst for the frozen concoction I even made a trip to Huntington's Frostop Root Beer because I remembered seeing the giant mug on top of the restaurant and its representation of a head of frozen root beer, but I found out that it was only a cruel joke: Frostop has no frost on top. Nor does Stewarts. Nor does Farley's.
So when I received an email recently from a hot dog enthusiast from Parkersburg about the hot dogs at Tim's Old Fashion Root Beer I was thrilled when he mentioned that Tim's root beer was "icy". I hoped that meant that it was full of the wonderful icy sludge I had craved for so long. But enough about root beer, for now; we're here for hot dogs, right?
With some help from Google, I found Tim's easily enough. It's kind of off the beaten path, but that didn't seem to matter to the hordes of people who were there. The place is big enough to accommodate said hordes with room to spare (a large banquet room in the back could presumably be employed to accommodate an even larger horde). The place is covered with root beer signs from every imaginable brand from the past and several large barrels are filled with root beer flavored candy and other such treats. The place is nice and clean and the staff is friendly and efficient. The menu is far more diverse than I expected with several nice looking sandwich offerings as well as other more traditional family restaurant style dinners.
Being that Parkersburg is a border town, when I asked "what is 'everything?'" I got a vague answer in the form of a list of available toppings. Fortunately slaw and sauce were the first two toppings our of my server's mouth, so I stopped her there and added onions and mustard and asked for two. And a root beer, of course.
Let me begin with the end and tell you right off that Tim's hot dogs earn a solid 4.5 Weenie score. They are very good, nearly excellent. But the reason I wanted to start with the score is because I can't really understand why they are so good: The sauce is only good, not great. The slaw is not particularly outstanding. The weenie was odd tasting and waterlogged soft (almost like a vienna sausage in both taste and texture) and the onions were so mild that if they hadn't been on top I wouldn't have know they were there at all. The bun was nicely steamed and soft (some might say too soft, but not me).
But in spite of all of the mediocrity of the individual parts, the whole was great. Tim's has redefined the word "synergy ": This hot dog is far superior to the sum of its parts.
Oh yeah, then you get to wash it down with some really good root beer with a frozen icy head, just as I hoped I would find. And lots of it: Tim's does not let your mug run dry. I drank so much root beer that I sloshed as I walked to the counter to pay.
My only regret is that Tim's is 75 miles from Charleston and with $4 a gallon gas, a good root beer and a hot dog will set me back a good $25. It is almost worth it.
Posted by Stanton at 1:30 PM
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Weston isn't exactly a hotbed of hot dog culture, but if you're driving into town headed east you'll see this charming little red barn right along Route 33 beckoning you to stop in for a visit. I think Ice Cream Barn may win the record for the widest hand written menu posted by the window. Plenty to choose from here if you're hungry, but make sure you've got a some time to spare. Everything aside from the ice cream is made fresh to order.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 9:11 PM
Monday, August 04, 2008
Ask anyone in the Clarksburg area to name a place to get good ice cream, and you'll likely hear Toni's Ice Cream mentioned more than once. When I was a kid, it was an absolute treat for me and my sisters when Mom and Dad put us in the car to go get a black raspberry cone or shake. No matter what time of the evening you went, there was always a line of customers either at the window or going through the drive-thru. Nobody really seemed to mind because the wait was worth it. To this day, I haven't found anything that comes as close to the sumptuous black raspberry ice cream they serve at Toni's. But in all the years that I've visited there, I never once ordered any of the burgers, hot dogs, or other hot foods they served up.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 3:20 PM
Thursday, July 31, 2008
The best overall award for the north central region presented a challenge in judging on account of there being so many worthy contenders. There was a serious late contender in the form of the Hot Dog Hut in Philippi, but we couldn't fairly give credit for consistency since they bounced from a three weenie rating to five weenies in the course of a few months just before the nominations for the Weenie Awards began. There were several other noteworthy HDJs such as Marties in Keyser, New York Hot Dogs in Wheeling, and Presto Lunch in New Martinsville. While I was fortunate enough to review these terrific hot dogs, I didn't get to review more nearby HDJs to confidently declare them the best in their respective counties. Hopefully in future editions of the awards, we'll include many more counties in the northern region.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 3:25 PM
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Welcome to all the folks who surfed over here via My Z's link to our Huntington review section. WVHotDogs.com thanks Jessica Ralston and the rest of the gang at our favorite newscast, My Z's 10 PM news, for the coverage online and on last Friday's newscast.
I love the fact that Ralston and Co. weed through all of the boring stories that we can choose to read or not read online and stick to a concise report of the goin's on of the day. Stanton says that he enjoys not having to stay up til 11:35 to get the news.
My 2 year-old son just thinks that Jessica Ralston is "pretty like mommy."
Anyway, thanks again for think link. As Stanton says, you've made our year.
My Z 10 PM news can be seen on digital subchannel 3.2 in Advantage Valley; otherwise, check your local cable company's listings.
Posted by Christopher Scott Jones at 6:48 PM
Monongalia County may have presented the easiest decision when it came to the 2008 Weenie Awards. From the first time I stepped through the doors of Haught Diggity Dogz, I fell in love with the place. These were the hands down be-all, end-all of Mon County hot dogs for the past year.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 8:00 AM
Monday, July 28, 2008
Good news, 'Peakers. M & M Dairy Bell has picked up a Weenie Award for the second year runnin'.
Last year, they won for the best joint in the Huntington area. This year, they take home the hardware for the best hot dog in the suburban and rural areas surrounding Huntington.
They have, hands down, the best atmosphere of any HDJ in Greater (or Lesser, if the new census data is to be believed) Huntington and are still serving up tasty dogs just the way any self-respecting West Virginian would want 'em (nevermind the minor technicality that they are a few hundred feet north of the river bank).
You'll thank me later.
Posted by Christopher Scott Jones at 7:34 AM
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Look up the word "finicky" in the dictionary and you will find a definition that best describes hot dog fans in Marion county. By and large, you'll find customers split each and every time over who has the best West Virginia Hot Dogs around. Most of the time, you'll hear Yann's mentioned. The problem with Yann's dogs as it pertains to Weenie Awards is that while they are legendary and phenomenal in their own right, they are not true West Virginia Hot Dogs due to the intentional omission of slaw.
These dogs are truly made with TLC and attention to detail. From the sweet and savory chili that has such a distictive, unique flavor to the sweet, creamy slaw that would make any hot dog into a masterpiece, Hank's makes it worth the effort to visit for just one hot dog alone.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 7:43 PM
Friday, July 25, 2008
There is no HDJ in or around Charleston that can match the quality, charm and longevity of Skeenie's Hot Dogs. Sitting on the side of Rt. 21 for 50 years just at the edge of Charleston city limits, this little gem of a HDJ is as close as it gets to being the original WVHDJ, and I mean that in a geographical sense as well as a philosophical sense. You see, tradition holds that the first place to ever serve coleslaw on a hot dog was The Stopette Drive In, which used to sit less than a half mile from where Skeenie's is today. And some people say that The Stopette recipe is still being used by Skeenie's. Now I don't know about that, but I do know that when I want an authentic WVHD and don't feel like taking a chance on getting a bad one, Skeenie's is the first place I think about going.
The chili at Skeenie's is always great: Spicy and perfect in texture. The slaw is wonderfully creamy and sweet. Skeenie's is never afraid of onions either and they load 'em up. Put it all together on the softest steamed bun and wrap it up in a wax paper sleeve and you have yourself a Five Weenie treat!
I hope Skeenie's is around for another fifty years!
Posted by Stanton at 7:00 AM
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Whether you are heading east or west along US Route 50 through Grafton, should definitely hope that you have the time to stop in for Taylor County's best version of the West Virginia Hot Dog at Hometown Hot Dogs.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 7:15 PM
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Knuckle's Sandwich Co. is one of Huntington's newest hot dog joints and, thanks to a careful attention to detail, they are one of the best.
In terms of buns, they have skipped the debate altogether and allow Huntington's savvy hot dog connoisseurs the choice of a traditional or New England split-top bun. In an age where so many chain restaurants treat customers like animals at the feed lot, it is great to see a place give me just a little credit.
With weenies, though, they have made a choice for the customers. They serve a blended beef 'n pork dog that does not, like some fancier all-beef jobbies, butt its way to the front of the flavor profile.
The sauce is so delicious that it sails past "great" into the range of the sublime. They could get rich selling this stuff from Portsmouth to Webster Springs. When paired with their understated slaw, they manage to stay true to the concept of a West Virginia Hot Dog while also honoring the quirks of the local market (where it is all about the sauce).
Congratulations to Knuckle's Sandwich Company, makers of the best WV hot dog in the City of Huntington.
Hey, wait a minute...didn't owner Jarrod Queen's brother Teddy just win the same award for Chucktown?
Stanton has observed that the Queens might be the new first family of hot dogs in WV. I think he is right.
Posted by Christopher Scott Jones at 11:59 AM
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Due to the slothful nature of the WVHotDogs.com workforce (most likely due to eating too many hot dogs) the reviews on the WVHotDogs.com website had not been updated since February. I am happy to report that they are now up to date.
We will now rejoin the 2008 Weenie Awards, already in progress.
Posted by Stanton at 12:55 PM
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Well, nothing 'cept one of those with some fresh-from-the-grease crinkle cut fries. Beyond mere shoe-string taters or seasonably-varying onion rings, crinkle fries capture the unpretentious essence of the WV hot dog like no other side.
And there is one WV HDJ that serves up up hot 'n tasty every single time.
Sam's Hot Dog Stand, a 5 weenie joint in its own right, uses clean, hot oil to produce crinklers that are crisp, but not greasy, and taste like potatoes, not yesterday's fish sandwich platter special. They'll even top them with Sam's special hot dog sauce, one of the best anywhere.
Congrats, Sam's of Lavalette and thanks for knowing how to make a great hot dog even better.
Posted by Christopher Scott Jones at 7:36 PM
Friday, July 18, 2008
T&L has five locations in Harrison County alone, and are well known throughout the area. Understandably, they are the most well-known of any HDJ in this neck of the woods. I'll save "which T&L is the best" for another awards session. For now, T&L Hot Dogs' Old Bridgeport Hill location in Clarksburg wins the 2008 Weenie Award for the Best Harrison County Hot Dog.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 9:46 PM
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Posted by Stanton at 10:45 PM
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Pull up a seat and get your napkins ready! The 2008 Weenie Awards will be announced starting this week!
The 2008 edition of the awards will focus on the best hot dogs by geographical location. This is a change from the previous years when judging covered best slaw, best chili/sauce, best weenie, etc. A recent meeting by the WVHD.com awards committee found that it would be more meaningful if the awards were based on the "total package" of each respective nominee.
In the coming days, you will find announcements of the best hot dogs in the Charleston, Huntington, and North Central areas, and perhaps a few surprise categories along the way. Stay tuned for details.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 10:56 AM
Monday, July 14, 2008
In order to assess the prodigal son of Huntington hot dogdom, Midway West, we've invited a guest reviewer and life-long Midway mark, Mrs. Film Geek, to giver us her take on the joint:
"Hey, how about we skip 4th period, and drive down to Midway for lunch?"
My friend, Teresa, would coax me into it now and again during my senior year in high school. Teresa and I had a bad case of senioritis in 1984. We'd sneak out of our senior study hall class, climb into my green 1976 Toyota Corolla and drive the short distance to the hot dog stand. It was worth the risk. Midway's hot dogs were the best in town, and their fries were tasty. Almost as good as the hot dogs--maybe on some days better--was the sweet Pepsi they served, from a fountain, and chilled with crushed ice.
Unfortunately, our occasional trips for dogs came to an abrupt end one summer day when, just after we'd placed our order, we spied Vinson High School teacher and coach Mr. Griffith enjoying his lunch two cars across the lot. He finished up his lunch, then walked over to ask us how we enjoyed ours.
We served detention each day the following week.
A regular since I was a toddler, Midway was really a significant part of my life. Better than Frost-Top and Stewarts, Midway was the place to go for curbside food that was consistently good. The hot dog sauce was the best in town--it was meaty, with a nice spicy (but not hot) flavor. The slaw was sweet and creamy. The slaw was so good, in fact, that it was the only place I ordered slaw on my hot dog. So, I was really saddened when my husband called one day to tell me Midway had been closed by the city because it's owners owed back taxes. It was like hearing that "The Sopranos" series was ending.
When I read recently that Midway was opening again, with new owners, I was excited to stop by and sample the food. Mostly I wanted to see if it was the same. The lot was full of cars--about 40 cars were crammed tightly onto the lot--and more than a dozen people were eating at the small bar inside. After finding a spot, I ordered my hot dog, fries and Diet Coke, sat back and crossed my fingers.
It was good. But, it wasn't the same.
The hot dog was fairly close to those served by the former owners. The slaw was sweet, chopped fine and there was plenty of it on the dog. The wiener tasted beefy, and sort of snapped when I bit into it. (I don't know much about wiener quality, but that seemed like a good thing.) The sauce was average. It didn't stand out as good or bad, really. It was just unremarkable. Add that the soda was less sweet and served over block ice rather than crushed, and the crinkle fries were sprinkled with steak fry seasoning (which was too spicy), and you realize the current Midway is something different than the previous Midway. My heart sank.
It was good, but not as good.
I am glad that in the Midway's absence, I discovered the perfect hot dog meal at the
Griffith and Feil Soda Fountain in Kenova. I'll be going there from now on.
Sadly for the new owners, I have to agree with Mrs. Film Geek. I have not heard so much buzz about a restaurant opening in town since, well, ever and the year-long torment of the "opening soon" sign sure didn't help. Midway has given itself, and ultimately suffers from, high expectations.
The slaw is tangy and had a dominant celery salt taste. Unfortunately, it is too dry and chunky.
The sauce is indeed pretty darn average and is quite similar to others based on ground beef that is browned rather than simmered. It is bit more sweet (ketchup?) that I like, but the sauce partially made up for a bit of the under-sweetened slaw. The taste of the two is more than the sum of its parts, but not by much.
The crinkle cut fries are a bit greasy, a sure-fire sign that the oil is not hot enough. They also taste like the oil had been in the vat for a few days.
I'm sure that Midway will find its niche of pedestrians in the area and nostalgic folk, but, in order to regain it's predecesor's place in Huntington's hot dog culture, Midway West needs to go back to the fundementals of what made Midway so great.
Posted by Christopher Scott Jones at 5:30 AM
Friday, July 11, 2008
With the return of summer comes the reopening of more and more walk-up ice cream stands throughout the region. I decided that a recent jaunt through Morgantown after a business meeting was a perfect opportunity for me to begin exploring more of said stands in hope of finding a really good WVHD.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 9:56 AM
Monday, July 07, 2008
When I originally reviewed The Hot Dog Hut in Philippi, I gave them a three weenie rating, stating that I found their hot dogs to be just "safe". The biggest problem I had with my hot dog at the time was that when I unwrapped it, the chili and slaw had mashed together into a rather ugly looking presentation. Consequently, the flavors of the chili, slaw, and mustard became indiscernible from one another. As a result, I stated that the chili tasted as though it had fillers in it.
Posted by I'm Dad (and I said so!) at 1:07 PM