Tuesday, February 17, 2009

South Charleston HDJ Review - Smokey's Rib House

Smokey's Rib House sits on Chestnut Street in the Spring Hill district of South Charleston, just across and up the street from Spring Hill Pastry, which is where I was leaving when I first saw Smokey's. I was lured in by the wonderful aroma of smoked ribs, intrigued by the strange and eclectic menu that includes such disparate offerings as the aforementioned ribs, puffy tacos and beef curry. I was enticed by the presence of a hot dog on this menu.

And I was repulsed by the execution of said hot dog.
Really, it was the first time in the history of this blog that I have thrown a hot dog away after two bites. I can't even begin to describe how truly awful the thing tasted. The chili tasted like it was seasoned with toxic waste from a local chemical plant, the slaw tasted and looked old, the weenie had been cooked so long that it was the texture of a Slim Jim, and nearly the same diameter.

ZERO Weenies! If I allowed negative numbers I would use them here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Updated update! Welcome WV Public Radio Listeners!

Update: The story ran again this morning and is now up as a story on the WVPR web site where you can either read the transcript or listen to the story, or both. Here's a link. They also put a proper photo on the story - Thanks Chris for pointing out the error of their ways.

This week's "Inside Applachia" featured a story by reporter Erica Peterson about West Virginia hot dogs. I was honored to be one of the authorities for the story. If you found your way to this blog because of that story, I hope you will find a welcome placeand that you will stay and look around the archives for a while. Please leave a comment, even if you are from the slawless north.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Poca HDJ Review - The Hungry Hound

Recently, as I was getting ready to throw away one of those advertisement-disguised-as-hometown-newspapers (I swear I must get ten of those things a week!) I noticed a "story" (ad) about a new HDJ that had opened in Poca. I quickly clipped the article (ad) and stuck it to my refrigerator lest I forget to check it out the next time I made it down to the Land of the Dots. After a few weeks I found myself as far as Cross Lanes at lunch time and so I decided to mosey on down to Poca to check out "The Hungry Hound". It was easy to find, partially because it is right where the headline in the article (ad) said it would be - just across from the fire station, and partially because of the huge and imposing sign out front. You know how people say "ya' can't miss it"?; this is what they mean.

The minute I walked in the joint I could see it was a place of distinction: A real hot dog joint. I could also tell it was a reincarnation of "The Cock of the Walk" that used to be in Dunbar; the menu board looks exactly the same as TCOTW and they even had the stuffed rooster that adorned the bar there. As I looked around I noticed there were articles about other restaurants the family had ties to, including Porkers BBQ in Cross Lanes and even a BBQ joint in Florida. The place was nice, neat, clean and friendly.

Yeah, but how about the hot dogs? I'm glad you asked.

The first thing I noticed was that the menu listed "West Virgina Hot Dogs" as a heading under which there were 4 different dogs listed: Hound Dog, Junk Yard Dog, Fat Dog and Fire House Dog. I picked the Hound Dog (which is actually THE W.Va. Hot Dog - having chili, slaw, mustard and onions listed as standard equipment).

The hot dog was well presented with a huge mound of creamy looking slaw and a goodly amount of chili peeking out from underneath. I could see that the weenie was grilled - nearly charred, but not quite. The onions were invisible and I can only assume they were hidden under the slaw. The only down side to the presentation was the coffin in which it was served.

The first bite proved that this dog wasn't all about looks: The slaw was as tasty as it was pretty and the chili, while lacking any spicyness, had a good texture and decent flavor. The grilled weenie had a little snap to it and the bun was soft.

We're gonna give this hot dog a 4 Weenie rating because, while all the parts were good or very good, it lacked any real synergy between the chili and slaw. The next time I go back I might ask for the spicy chili from the Fire House Dog just to see if it works better.

Overall The Hungry Hound is a nice little HDJ for those in the lower Kanawha Valley, but not a destination worthy of a road trip.