Wednesday, October 08, 2008

New Martinsville HDJ Review - Scream n' Dogs

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".

Friday, October 03, 2008

Hurricane Hot Dog Joint: Wing World Plus Hot Dog Heaven WV

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