Sunday, March 13, 2016

Eleanor HDJ Review - The Baker's Table

In the town of Eleanor along Roosevelt Boulevard sits The Baker's Table, a little bakery/eatery that
serves up lots of sweet goodies and down-home comfort food. I'm not sure how long it's been open, but it seems to have a pretty loyal following. Having heard good things, I decided to stop in and check out their confections, but that was before I found out that there were hot dogs on the menu. After seeing this, my plans changed.

Now if one is going to sell hot dogs in Eleanor, one must be aware of the competition, chiefly the Eleanor Dairy Queen. The DQ has an enormous fan base, hot dog wise, and it sits just a few hundred feet away from The Baker's Table. I surmised that in order for TBT to sell enough hot dogs in this location to make it worth ordering buns, they must have a pretty good dog. Surmised and hoped.

My hopes were tempered when the waitress told me that "everything" meant "anything you want," but really couldn't give me a list of choices. After a bit of pressing, she finally listed "sauce, slaw, ketchup, mustard, bacon, cheese..." so I stopped her and asked her to bring me two with "sauce", slaw, mustard and onions.

While I waited on my hot dogs I mused over the waitress' use of "sauce" instead of the more common Kanawha Valley term "chili." (Regular readers know that "sauce" is the preferred term for North Central WV and along the Oho River, but most of the rest of the state calls it "chili"). One of the possible explanations that came to mind was that perhaps the sauce was very liquidy, which sometimes explains why the term is used out of character, or that perhaps the owner is from Huntington and doesn't know any better.

When my dogs arrived, the first thing I saw was beautiful, fine grated and creamy coleslaw neatly applied and in a generous helping. I eagerly sampled a taste and was surprised that it was a bit bland. I could tell it was very fresh, as the cabbage flavor and aroma was pronounced, but little other flavor could be detected.

Digging deeper, the "sauce" mystery deepened because it was not at all thin and runny as I expected it might be, but as dry as it could be. The flavor was almost exactly like Taco Bell's taco meat, or what I make at home to go over a taco salad, a concoction with only three ingredients: ground beef, water, and a package of Old El Paso taco seasoning. This is not the first time I have encountered the taco-meat hot dog, but it is the first time in a place that called it "sauce."

The taco meat and chili weren't terrible together, though, so there might have been hope for this hot dog, if not for the bun. New England Style lobster roll buns that had been dry-toasted and not - as most "English Dogs" found in WVHDJs would have been - buttered and grilled. The crunchy bun was not at all satisfying and detracted over all from the hot dog.

We're going to give The Baker's Table a 2.5 Weenie rating. I'm not sure if it deserves 2.5, as I might have been unfairly influenced by the delicious frosted cookie that I grabbed at the register.

If you are in Eleanor with a hankering for a hot dog, my advice is to head over to the DQ, or better yet, jump across the bridge to Winfield, go a mile or so up old Rt 35 to Dairy Freeze.

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