Friday, October 13, 2006

A Lazy Friday Post

I had hot dogs today.

"So what?" you say.

They were good hot dogs. From Chris'. I felt like having hot dogs but didn't feel like rolling the dice on a new joint just so I'd have something to post. Chris' is always good. Scratch that, Chris' hot dogs are always great. Romeo's hot dogs are always great too but Chris' is closer to my office.

So today I allowed myself the luxury of an actual lunch hour (well, 45 minutes anyway). I call it a luxury because I have one of those jobs where I am always on duty and my work is never finished, so I usually grab it to go and eat at my desk. But when I walked into Chris' today I decided to just sit and take in the atmosphere. The place was packed and I got the last seat at the bar. As I sat there I was able to watch the whole room and the people in it very discreetly with the aid of the huge mirror on the other side of the bar. As I waited on my order I had time to spend a few minutes watching the lunchgoers at each booth and table as they chatted and chewed. Some of the tables looked and sounded more fun than others. Only one person sat alone, except for me and my fellow bar-sitters. The solitary booth sitter was a face I recognized as a former elected official. Some of the other diners also had familiar faces, but I wasn't sure why they were familiar. In a small city like Charleston it's not too surprising to see faces you recognize simply because you see them frequently enough that they seem familiar.

When my hot dogs arrived I savored them slowly. I wish I knew the secret to Gus Christo's chili. Not that I'd try to duplicate it, I just wish I knew what made it so darn good. It's impossible to identify any one taste over another. It is just a great blend of perfect flavors. There really are three hot dog joints in the area that have amazing chili and all three share this same trait: The chili is enigmatic and difficult to describe because it has such a unique flavor that is unlike any other taste. But Chris' adds that burn! Oh man, it sticks with you for an hour after lunch.

The slaw and everything else was great today too. As I was paying for my order I noticed that Karen had framed her "Best Hot Dog Chili" Weenie Award certificate and had it hanging proudly by the register. That made me feel pretty good about the work that goes into this blog.

And it is work. Fun work, but work nevertheless. I counted up today that I have published over sixty hot dog reviews. In the process I have eaten over eighty hot dogs, most of them weren't very good. There have been many that were so mediocre that I never bothered posting reviews for them. But, man oh man, when you get hold of a great one it makes all the effort worthwhile.

It was a lazy Friday to end an exhausting week. Maybe next week I'll find another great hot dog in a new and unexpected place. I have to drive north next Friday so maybe I can try to nail down more precisely where the slaw line intersects with I79. If I do, I hope I can sit and enjoy my hot dog like I was able to do today.

Because sometimes you just have to stop and smell the chili.

No comments: