my standby stand
Most people have a hot dog stand (or HDJ) that they call home. As a child, mine was Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island. I’ve grown up though, moved away from home and found myself living in the land of blue laws and funny accents. Massachusetts is where I call home but there’s a specific location where I get that warm fuzzy that means I’ve arrived–Fred’s Franks.
I’ve posted several reviews of Fred’s, so I’m not going to go into length about what makes his stand so great. What I will say is that it’s a transcendent experience, to smell the charcoal burning, the hot dog flesh roasting, and the breeze off of Lake Quannapowitt. Fred’s opened early this year, due to the amazing weather we’ve been having, and Sam & I were there for his first Saturday a couple of weekends ago in March. As you can see from the pic above, Fred’s had no want of customers. In fact, when I visited today he told me he had sold out by 2pm on his opening day, and he’s had to stock up more than he anticipated for the following weekends.
Sam loves the habaniase, a mix of habanero mustard (which is wickedly spicy) and mayo (to cool it down). I’ve been stuck in a bit of a delicious rut at Fred’s–when I go to order, despite what I may be thinking of, my mouth always forms the words “schnurble”.
If you haven’t been to Fred’s website you might not have seen the video from Vendr.tv, which reviews street eats (or, my preferred term: street meats). I thought I knew all there was about Fred’s before seeing this, but it introduced me to a new series of toppings, which I was determined to try out. For those interested in watching the video, YouTube doesn’t seem to be working so it won’t give me the embed coding, so you can link here.
So I decided to try the sweet fireball: a monster, 1/2 lb. Pearl hot dog topped (or bottomed, as I apply my toppings–or bottomings? oh man, I’ll stop there) with sweet relish, onions, habanaise, and a little bit of ketchup. I had initially misremembered the toppings and put on some sweet cabbage, and because I didn’t add much habanaise it didn’t come out as fiery as it should have–much more of the sweet showed up. My last bite was probably the way it should have tasted, because the habanaise punched my tastebuds and made my eyes water; I coughed a few times and then the sweetness took me back in its loving embrace.