Thursday, January 04, 2007

Charleston Area Hot Dog Joint - Sam's Hot Dog Stand - Malden

In Chris James' latest review of Sam's Hot Dogs in Huntingon, he puts forth the theory that the quality of Sam's products varies by location. In my past encounters with Charleston area Sam's locations I have been uniformly disappointed, but I thought I'd try one more just to give Chris the benefit of the doubt.

Just a stone's throw from the boyhood home of Booker T. Washington, and just a mile or so from the boyhood hood of Randy Moss, sits the eastern-most Sam's location that I am aware of. Malden is a small community that has two grocery stores, one quilt shop, one lawyer and one hot dog joint.

This little HDJ is more diversified than most, having a gambling room in the back. The cigarette smoke that seeps out of the video lottery room gives the place a "den of iniquity" kind of atmosphere, and the presence of Budweiser on the menu only further separates this Sam's from the others I have visited. But would the hot dogs be different too? Let's find out, shall we?

Well, right from the start it seemed different. When I asked the person behind the counter what everything is and she says, pay attention Chris, "CHILI, slaw, mustard and onions." Chili, not sauce. And this from a Huntington based chain! Since they have mild and spicy CHILI, I ordered the spicy variety. And you know what? It was really, really good. Not nearly as spicy as Yann's or other Northern WVHDs, but spicier than 98% of hot dog chili in these parts. And the slaw was really, really good too. It was finely chopped, sweet and flavorful. Color me surprised, and color Chris correct; Sam's locations really are different. Now we're gonna have to go review all of them.

There was one part of the hot dog that was not good, though, and that was the weenie. It tasted like it had been sitting in a pan of hot water for a week or two. I saw a Cavalier Meats box in the refrigerator, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't an inferior weenie, just old. Overall it was pretty good hot dog, though. Even with the bad weiner it earns a four weenie rank. Better than any other Sam's location I've tried.

I think the reason it's better is because they call it CHILI instead of sauce.

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