Sunday, February 01, 2015

We checked out some upper Greenbrier Valley dogs at Dorie's.

      I've heard quite a bit of hype about the dogs at Rayetta's Lunchbox in downtown Marlinton, but I have never, ever been able to catch Rayetta's open - that hot-dog joint closes at three or some such ungodly hour.
   I was, however, quite curious about what the dogs would be like in Pocahontas County. In Greenbrier County and many of the counties stacked along our southern and southeastern border with Virginia, the slaws are primary vinegar-based and while they may not be my favorite slaw, they illustrate the cultural diversity of our below-slaw-line counties.
     The source who told me about Rayetta's did not know if Dorie's even had hot dogs. I myself have eaten at Dorie's numerous times. I usually have an order of hamburger, fries and fried pickles. The fried pickles are very good, a little spicy and offered with ranch dressing.
    Turns out, they do have dogs. I asked what constituted everything and my host told me "slaw, chili, onion, mustard and relish." I ordered two true West Virginia dogs, featuring everything she said, minus relish - to go.
    It did take some time for my dogs to be prepared. Enough time passed for me to wash my hands thoroughly and read a 35-column-inch story (35 inches is a very long story) a complementary issue of The Pocahontas Times about a local resident, Dabney Kisner,  recalling his days in World World II. The former airman was shot down over German-occupied Belgium. He fell in with the Belgian resistance, evaded German pursuers for months and when finally reunited with his countrymen, he said the Germans "couldn't catch this old hillbilly."You can read that story here.
    Almost as soon as I had finished reading about Kisner, my dogs arrived. They were genteel dogs, packed in crush-resistant Styrofoam containers. I took them to my truck, where I could consume and review privately and chase them down with Pocahontas County spring water, drawn only an hour earlier from a spring on Cranberry Mountain.
   Once I opened the container on my first dog, it was obvious why my dog had taken several minutes to prepare. The onions had obviously been chopped to order and it also appeared that the slaw - also hand chopped - had been made in a small batch just for my dogs. The wiener had been grilled and the slaw was delectably creamy. Steamed bun. The slaw, mustard, and chili offered a good mix of sweet, sour as a perfect dog should be.
     This may have had potential to be one of the best dogs I have ever eaten. However, the onion, which as I mentioned earlier was freshly chopped by hand, was overpowering. The onion pieces were very large and the onion pungency overpowered each mouthful. This could have been a four-wiener-rated dog, but it's hard to tell. It was hard to taste beneath that overpowering onion. It would be vastly improved with more finely-chopped onions. Maybe I just showed up on "large-onion-piece day." As is, it gets a three-wienie rating.


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