Thursday, February 07, 2008

Putnam County Hot Dog Joint: K-Mart Snack Bar

For one reason or another, I find myself in the Teays Valley K-Mart about 3 or 4 times per year, usually to grab some needed or forgotten item on my way to Charleston or back to Huntington. The last couple of times, I noticed a large placard at the snack bar advertising Nathan's Famous franks, but I didn't have the time to grab a dog and give it a review. Well, a few days ago, I was in no hurry and asked if the dogs could be topped with slaw (they could), so I figured that it was their turn to face the scrutiny of a review.

My expectations were low, as big box store snack bars have gone down hill since the demise of G.C. Murphy and Woothworth's. This K-Mart did little to reverse the trend.

I ordered a hot dog with chili (this place is east of Hurricane), slaw, mustard, and onions. I had to go to the service desk to pay, so I didn't see the preparation of the weenie. When I got to the car and unwrapped the weenie, I was shocked, appalled, and dismayed. The weenista had taken it upon herself to give me ketchup instead of onions. Here is a rule of thumb for all HDJ employees: if the customer is above age 15, assume that they did not ask for a hamburger/french fry condiment on their weenie. The lady was nice and all, but it would be hard to recover from this sin.

The bun was neither stale nor fresh, but was unsteamed. Since they are not located in Cabell County, I won't be so hard on them, but a little steaming, as is standard in the Metro Valley, would have been in order.

The Nathan's weenie truly carried the dog, even though it seemed to have skin on it and appeared to have been on some sort of dry heating apparatus for some time. It really did have a nice flavor that Cavalier, Kahn's, etc. cannot touch. That being said, I must at this time invoke the Chris James Doctrine that, with a proper WV hot dog, toppings making cheap weenie taste like a million bucks, not the other way around.

The chili was standard food service canned slop. I suspect that it was a beanless Hormel or some other brand that would have made for a passable bowl of chili for lunch on a cold winter day, but it tasted like crap on a hot dog.

The slaw seemed to be either homemade or at least a close facsimile thereof. It was very creamy and adequately sweet, but someone went overboard on the celery seed. That being said, it was still pretty good if someone had a taste for such a style of slaw.

Overall, we are looking at a 2.5 weenie joint at this K-Mart, entirely due to the Nathan's tubesteak and the so-so slaw. Without weenie, we'd be in the 1.5 weenie range. With bad slaw...I don't even want to think about it.

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