Sunday, January 31, 2010

Resistance is Futile


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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frametown HDJ Review - Granny's Kitchen

Listed on the "101 Unique Places to Dine in WV" website is this little greasy spoon that sits a mile or so off of the Frametown exit of I79. I am certain that had it not appeared on said list that I would never have found it. It is as unassuming a roadside eatery as you are likely to find, and because of that fact I take issue with its inclusion on the 101 list: It's not at all unique - there are dozens of similar places around the state.


While I argue that it's not unique, I won't try to take anything away from it. It is friendly, cozy, clean and the food is good. What more could you want in such an out of the way location?

OK, there is one thing that I did find completely unique about it: It is absolutely the first HDJ I have reviewed that had a horse tied up in the parking lot. That's right, on this snowy day someone had decided to ride their horse to lunch and she was hitched in the parking lot right beside the pick up trucks and SUVs of other customers.

When I first walked into the restaurant it didn't take me long to figure out which of the patrons belonged to the horse, as there was only one person dressed appropriately, and I do mean appropriately right down to the cowboy hat. Because he also had an outgoing personality I also learned that the horse's name was "Fancy". It also didn't take me long to find out that they served hot dogs, since that was what Fancy's owner was eating.
After hearing a list of standard toppings and excusing ketchup from my order, I became somewhat acquainted with my surroundings and listened to the conversations between the 6-8 other diners. I wasn't eavesdropping; this was the kind of place where everyone seemed to know everyone else and their conversations were loud enough to intentionally include everyone in the room; including a stranger like me. Interestingly enough, while Granny wasn't present at the restaurant, several times she was mentioned in conversation (or perhaps it was another Granny and not the restaurant's namesake). Eventually the conversation became about me and my dining companion as Fancy's owner finally asked us if we were "from around here." I said that we were just passing through but did not commit to saying where we were passing to or from. That much mystery led the horseman to conclude, and to offer up his conclusion as an assertion, that we must be from New York. When I told him, no that we were from Charleston he then went into a long list of "do you knows?" that included nobody that I did know. All in all in was a very friendly and unobtrusive conversation.
And then my hot dogs arrived.

Two things were immediately noticeable about these hot dogs: First, the tips of the weenies were protruding from under the toppings and I could see that they were small caliber and very pink; so pink that it prompted me to test the temperature of the the weenie before I bit into the dog. It seemed fine and so I still have no explanation for the color. The slaw looked great and upon tasting it I found out that it was great tasting with a nice texture. The chili was very flavorful with lots of chili powder but little other spice. The chili was a little tart and had a rich tomatoey flavor. The onions were barely there and since the whole thing was on an English bun it was very voluminous and filling.

Because I am obligated to deduct a half weenie for the English buns, I am going to give Granny a 3.5 Weenie score. It didn't knock my socks off, but the hot dog was very good and a classic Genteel Dog.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year's Hot Dog Existential Angst

What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know, except in so far as a certain knowledge must precede every action. The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do: the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die.
Søren Kierkegaard , Letter to Peter Wilhelm Lund dated August 31, 1835

When I started blogging about hot dog four years ago it was easy. The vast field of HDJs lay before me just waiting to be reviewed. In the first year Chris and I were able to review 100 hot dogs. The next year, after adding Kevin and then his replacement Big Daddy in North Central WV, we equalled the first year's production. Now, after more than 300 reviews I know I speak for the other Wonks when I say that is getting harder to find a new HDJ to review.

Some of the problem lies in the economy: A lot of small mom and pop places closed last year before they could be reviewed. Some of the problem lies in the personal economies of the Weenie Wonks: Too little money and time to travel to far-flung HDJs -especially when they might or might not be open because of the aforementioned macro-economic uncertainties. And then there is the simple fact that we have reviewed all HDJs that are well known enough to show up on our radar.

No point in spending a lot of time on the reasons. The bottom line is simple: "We review West Virginia Hot Dogs, therefore this blog exists."

Absent a good supply of HDJs to review, there really isn't much point in continuing.

I've thought about my options: If I chose to do so, I could go to every gas station and convenience store and sample their self-service dogs. I could go to Target snack bars and places of that ilk. I could attend church hot dog sales and probably find a few good hot dogs. I could also just post when I run across a new HDJ. I am not excited to do any of these things because all of them are in opposition to what this blog has always been about.

It seems to be the lesser of the evils to, for now, simply remove any expectation of regularly posting reviews; not because of laziness or inattentiveness on our part but simpy a supply issue. Who knows what the future holds? Perhaps the President will institute a hot dog stimulus program and we will be flooded with new HDJs opening up in the spring? If so, expect to see us rise to the challenge. But lacking that, expect this blog to be quiet for a while.