Thursday, June 29, 2006

New HDJ Review - Tamarack

See the complete review under "Elsewhere in West Virginia" at

"The Best of West Virginia" is the marketing slogan of Tamarack, a unique tourist destination along the West Virginia Turnpike near the Beckley. They sell various West Virgina made products: Arts and crafts, furniture, clothing, music recordings and food. If you ever pass through West Virginia on I64/I77 you really should stop and check it out.

I attended a meeting at Tamarack recently and was treated to lunch as part of the event. Since I wasn't buying, I was eyeing the Trout Almondine, Broiled Salmon and other pricey items on the already pricey menu (the food service is provided by The Greenbrier which is not exactly in the Motel 6 class of hotel). But when I saw a Hot Dog on the menu I knew I had to at least inquire, and when I found out that "everything" included chili, slaw, mustard and onions I knew I had to try one. The $2 price tag, while expensive for a hot dog, was a welcome sight for my host as it saved him at least five bucks on the lunch tab.

So, is this hot dog "the best of West Virginia"? No, but it's pretty good.

First, let me say how pleased I was to find that this place, that prides itself on presenting West Virginia culture to visitors, presented an authentic West Virginia Hot Dog. I was afraid I'd find some wierd hybrid dog with relish or saurkraut or some other foreign topping. Kudos to the Tamarack folks for keeping it real.

And real good, too. While the bun is basic, the weenie seemed to be a cut above average. But it's the chili that really makes this dog stand up and bark. It is nicely spicy, nicely runny and served unselfishly - a bun-ful of chili. Folks who value good chili most will like this dog. The slaw is OK, but it could be a bit finer and sweeter. It was piled high and, along with the runny chili, made a delightful mess of the bun in short order even though it wasn't wrapped up.

Overall it is a very good representation of a West Virginia Hot Dog, which is exactly what it should be at Tamarack, but it's certainly not the best our state has to offer.

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