John Sneaks Back In to Dirty Dog’s
I believe in second chances. I also believe that when I get depressed, I eat. So when a bit of financial woe reared its head today, the only clear answer was to go spend money on hot dogs. And it was time to give Dirty Dog’s a shot at a second opinion.
(I also felt that, given reader jtbad‘s defense of the joint after my initial post, I needed to go and re-assess. Power to the readers!)
It’s just over a month later and Dirty Dog’s is still going strong. While there wasn’t a line out the door on this visit, the few tables were all taken and take-out orders were on the move. I bellied up to the counter and looked for the extended topping options jtbad had mentioned–let me get back to that, because it deserves its own paragraph. Not seeing said options right off the bat, I went for a pair of standbys: the chili dog and the Cape Cod dog (mustard, cole slaw and relish, which I neglected to mention last time).
My first order of business in this second opinion is to retract what I said about the chili. This is no out-of-the-can meat sauce. It’s too chunky for that. In canned chili the meat is usually processed down to a more-or-less uniform texture. Dirty Dog’s chili has the uneven consistency of a hand-made batch, with nice bits of onion and pepper in it. To my taste it could use a little more bang, but it’s certainly passable. Because I was too lazy to get up for a fork, I slopped up the droppings with my fingers. I am one classy dude.
When the plate with my Cape Cod dog was handed to me, I….well, I…okay, I had a moment. Because the mustard was under the slaw. Far be it for me to suggest that the Dirty Dog folks took my opinion to heart, or even read what I had to say in the first place, but the mustard was on the dog. At the very least I could pretend it was because of me. Regardless, it was a more pleasant experience this time out. Still as sloppy as ever, but the twin tangs of the mustard and the crisp, vinegary slaw played together better than before. And let’s not forget the relish this time, adding one more layer of bite to each bite.
Okay, on to the “other” toppings. I want to quantify the following statement by noting that in my day job I do a lot of work with retail signage–writing, editing, tweaking. So I’m a little hyperfocused on how things read. Ever get the urge to proofread a tabletop sign at a restaurant? No? I do it all the time. Makes the wife nuts. But anyway: the sign on the counter at Dirty Dog says (if I recall correctly), “Available toppings.” And then the list.
Stay with me here: I’m in a place called Dirty Dogs Burgers and More. Nothing says hot dog. There’s a list of optional condiments that starts with lettuce and tomato. I’m a guy in a hot dog mood. Am I going to think those toppings are for my dog? Doesn’t lettuce threaten to throw me off the trail? Put lettuce on a hot dog and they put you in the stocks in the town square and children throw rocks at your head. Wouldn’t I just think the list of dogs up on the big menu board are my only choices?
If I were to be so (ahem) presumptuous as to (ahem) rewrite that sign, two options come to mind for the top line:
Toppings for burgers & dogs!
How do you want it?
toppings for burgers & dogs
Brilliance? No, just a little suggestion, the first thing that comes to mind. Had I known I could put, for example, BBQ sauce and cheese (actual cheese, not that sauce that still frankly scares me) on my dog, I would have gone for something like that.
In my second go-round I find that I’ve mentally upgraded Dirty Dog’s. I love, love, love their buttered, griddled rolls, the dogs come off the grill with a nice snap and it’s just a nice place to eat. (My observation from today is that if you’re a pretty lady, Bob the owner will come around the counter to bring your food. If you’re a porky, graying guy in your late 40s, it’s “here ya go.” So bring a lady friend and get table service!)
It’s also worth noting that I’ll be going back soon because they now offer a challenge–and I have a secret longing to be the guy on Man V. Food. Bob will whip up a monster consisting of four hot dogs (don’t be afraid, they’re small!) topped with handcut fries, chili, the cheese sauce that makes me worry and onions, all served on a 13-inch sub roll. Then you’ve got 10 minutes to polish it off. The upside–and I love this part–is that this gutbuster is just SIX BUCKS! Hell, a single dog here is $3.75! You’re getting $12 worth of dogs for half price–just for being a gluttonous slob! I am SO there.
Final word: if you’re a dog fan and you’re in the area, be sure to stop in at Dirty Dog’s. Good food, good prices and an overall pleasant lunchtime experience.