The Hot Dog We Didn’t Eat
We’ve all experienced the great tease in life: when we think that the stars are aligned, the gods have smiled upon us, and the best laid plans will be flawless in their execution. As we were walking across the vast, empty expanse that is the parking lot at Newmarket Square towards Speed’s Hot Dog Wagon, little did I know that I was on the cusp of that great tease.
After three weeks of suffering torrential downpours, we were blessed with a mind-bogglingly beautiful weekend. What to do with a beautiful weekend? Visit a hot dog stand, of course! And it couldn’t just be any old stand, because we needed to have a meeting of the minds: Ali & Alex were visiting from Brooklyn; John had just joined the blog and was willing to travel; and Ashley & Ben are always down for a food outing. So the fateful decision was struck: we would converge upon Speed’s Hot Dog Wagon at 1pm on Saturday.
Within 100 feet of the stand, my phone blew up: a text from Ashley and an email from John. All bearing the bad news–Speed’s had run out of hot dogs.
After much gnashing of our teeth, uncontrollable sobbing, and rending of our clothes, Gregg (the owner and operator of Speed’s) gave us the second round of bad news: the only other menu option, a grilled pastrami, had also suffered a locust-like wave of demand and he was only left with enough to make six. ALEX’S NOTE: One of my favorite parts of this trek is when Mike said that Ali and I travelled from NYC to get a Speeds Dog. Gregg was also dismayed and he said that he loves when New Yorkers come because he loves to show them up. Ali, never one to pass up an opportunity for a good comeback, gave a zinger right back saying “Well, looks like New York has one up on you today!” Ooooooooohhhhh! What! That’s NYC 1, Boston -2.
Gregg felt just as bad as we did about selling out of dogs–which he said has never happened that early in the years he’s run the wagon. The big tease was made even worse when he told us that the place he stores his extra dogs was the building right next to us, which was locked for the weekend. Despite my helpful suggestion that we could climb to the second-floor windows and break in, thus liberating more hot dogs for our consumption, Gregg maintained that there was no hope for our gang to eat delicious dogs that day.
While he was closing up shop, Gregg took a few moments to tell me the story of how he came along to operate Speed’s. Because his father was a jobber in the area, Gregg knew of Speed’s wagon since he was a wee sprat. If memory serves me, Gregg told me he helped out at Speed’s stand when he was younger but ended up getting mixed up with the wicked world of F&B in the hospitality industry, where he worked as executive chef for a variety of hotels & country clubs. Fortunately for us hot dog fans things didn’t work out with the first apprentice of Speed’s and Gregg jumped at the chance to take over Speed’s when given the opportunity. What used to be a rather oasis-like hot dog stand–you could never be sure when Speed would be set up, so you just had to make the trek and hope for good luck–is now reliably open year-round, and you can even call Greg on his cell because he’s got it posted on his site! That’s a type of transparency that Obama must be envious of.
Even though no hot dogs were harmed during our outing, it could be considered a success all the same–we drew together our group of bloggers, ate some seriously bad-for-us (and delicious) foods, enjoyed the company, and got to chat with the man maintaining the high standards of a Boston legend. While John, Ali, & Alex won’t be able to join us, I believe Ben, Ashley, Samantha, & I will be making a second attempt at Speed’s this next Saturday–and most assuredly we’ll be arriving a little earlier this time around.