N.Y. System Hot Wieners At Home

November 7th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, the moment arrived: BSK could not dine last night (because of some annual medical check ups), so, HG ate alone. What to prepare? With the weather a bit chilly and HG feeling a touch lazy, it wass time to go to the pantry for an eccentric, marvelous treat — Olneyville N.Y. System Hot Wieners. These wieners are a Rhode Island regional treat only served at two Rhody locations–one in Providence and one in Cranston (other similar brands are, of course, served throughout Rhode Island). They are wieners covered in a spicy meat sauce and topped with chopped raw onions, celery salt and mustard. Thoughtful daughter Lesley R. sent HG a package of Olneyville’s spice mix alongside the frozen dogs. HG followed the directions on the package: Melt 1/2 cup shortening (HG used canola oil). Brown 1/2 finely chopped onion. Stir in two tablespoons spice mix. Crumble one pound of chopped beef into mixture. Simmer, covered, for one hour. Stir occasionally and mash with potato masher for a finer consistency. Yes, the recipe worked and HG downed four doggies with great pleasure. In Rhody, the natives wash down N.Y. Systems with milk mixed with coffee syrup (Lesley R. included a can of this syrup in her gift to HG) but HG chose to accompany dinner with some good Pilsener beer. Coffee milk will have to wait for another HG solo dinner.


The Wiener is a Winner

January 2nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

HG could not leave Rhode Island without lunching on a native treat: A New York System Hot Wiener. So, accompanied by gifted Daughter Lesley R., off to the friendly, down home, plain spoken Riverside Grill in the town of Riverside. Had two wieners (they are composed of pork and beef and gently steamed). The tube steaks are served in soft buns and topped with mustard, celery salt, chopped raw onions and meat sauce (flavored with cumin and cinnamon). Curiously, these wieners evoke flavors of the Iberian Peninsula and the Middle East which is perhaps a reflection of the Greek roots of many Rhode Island hot dog shops. The only comparable fast food dish that hits the taste buds in the same way is the chile served in Cincinnati eateries. At the Riverside Grill, the wieners are accompanied by a Rhode Island beverage, coffee milk. This is cold milk flavored with coffee syrup. Somehow it all works.

Good…Like Nedick’s!

April 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Just say the word — Nedick’s — and you’ll get a nostalgic sigh from old New Yorkers (or ex-New Yorkers like HG). Nedick’s was a New York fast food chain that served hot dogs on toasted, buttered rolls. HG would top these superior tube steaks with Nedick’s special mustard relish and wash them down with an ice cold orange drink. Two dogs and a drink — 30 cents — a true recession buster. HG’s favorite Nedick’s location was at 161st Street and Jerome Avenue in The Bronx. Very convenient for a bite after a baseball or football game at Yankee Stadium or a sandlot football game at adjacent McCombs Field (HG was a star halfback on the Barnhills, a rough and ready sandlot team).

Nedick’s is part of HG’s unconscious. Nedick’s was the sponsor of New York Knick broadcasts and when a Knick scored, announcer Marty Glickman would intone: “Good — like Nedick’s!!” A few days ago, HG watched New York Knick Carmelo Anthony light up the scoreboard. At a particularly exciting moment, HG found himself shouting at the TV in the voice of Glickman: “Good — like Nedick’s!!” Marty Glickman has passed on. Nedick’s is gone. Efforts to revive the chain have failed. The old Yankee Stadium is gone, replaced by a shiny new model. HG and the Knicks remain. Functional but flawed.

Bad New York Treats. And some Overlooked Ones.

August 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG never fancied that New York street treat, the “dirty water” hot dog. HG found the fat, soft, salty pretzels that were sold on many Manhattan streets to be a glob of soggy vileness. Even worse was the sad excuse for a Knish that was hawked alongside the dogs and pretzels.

HG did fancy hot chestnuts (especially on a cold Fifth Avenue winter day). But then again, HG just loves chestnuts in many different forms.

For a real New York only inexpensive treat, HG turned to the indoor pleasures of Chinese-Cuban restaurants. After Battista had fallen many Havana based Chinese restaurant owners made their way to NYC because of the large Chinese population. These newly arrived entrepreneurs found a great niche by blending Chinese favorites with the Cuban dishes of their abandoned city. These restaurants flourished (hope they still do) in Washington Heights and on Broadway north of 145th Street. There were a number on the upper West Side as well. Have these been pushed out by chains and upscale retailers?? (Nope, says SJ. La Caridad on 78th and Broadway still dishes out some fine Cuban-Chinese) The dishes HG liked were Moors and Christians (white rice and black beans) and Cubanos (roast pork, ham, pickle and cheese sandwiches pressed into savory yumminess on a grill). Good company for these dishes was an avocado-sweet onion-orange salad followed by a bracing Cuban coffee.

HG knows that the Vietnamese sandwich has burst into the forefront of cheap NYC food favorites, but for HG the classic Cubano remains tops.

More Woof Woof

March 30th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

A cautionary tale about hot dogs and Mallomars. Many years ago HG had a real estate mogul client. He was a big guy. His weight varied between 275-300 pounds. He was on a perpetual diet. Some lettuce leaves and cottage cheese for lunch. However, HG knew his guilty secret. His baronial desk had a drawer stuffed with Mallomars (an oddly regional and seasonal Nabisco confection of a cookie base, marshmallow top, all robed in sweet chocolate). Most evenings the mogul would pick HG up at his Broadway office and drop him off at his West Side (rent controlled) apartment en route to the mogul’s Westchester estate. Lounging in the leather seats of the chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, HG and the mogul would hatch various public relations ploys to further enrich the mogul and gild his image. Every night the Rolls would come to an abrupt stop at the Gray’s Papaya at Broadway and 72nd. The chauffeur would leap out and bring back six hot dogs and two pina coladas (the relationship between “healthy” papaya drinks and Hot Dogs that exists only in New York is a story for another day). The mogul would wolf them down while continuing his business conversation. “I can’t resist hot dogs,” he explained. HG is sure he had some more lettuce leaves and a piece of grilled (skinless) chicken breast for dinner in Westchester. He was a sweet guy. He died young. There is a park in Queens named after him. But, no memorial plaque at the Gray’s Papaya.

Barking Omission

March 29th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Forgetfulness is a curse (one of many) of advancing years. HG apologizes to the upstate New York city of Rochester for not including it in his recent posting of regional hot dog favorites. Rochester, you see, is the home of “White Hots” — a bow wow that is white and not the familiar reddish hue. Absence of food coloring? Inclusion of veal? HG doesn’t know (but this great regional hot dog blog does!). HG was introduced to these strange (but very tasty) tube steaks by Donald K., Rochester native, public relations mogul, round the world sailor. The Rochester dogs, in HG’s opinion, don’t take kindly to sauerkraut. Try them (if you can find them) with a bit of mustard and relish.

Bow Wow

March 27th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

HG hasn’t had a hot dog in years.

In the past, HG loved these regional hot dog champions: The hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut at Nathan’s Famous in New York’s Coney Island with ocean breezes and the noise of the roller coaster in the background; Chicago’s Vienna Beef dog with all the fixings…tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, pickles, mustard, celery salt on top of a snappy all-beef wiener; the stupendous hot dog served at a shack in Cliffside Park, N.J. (so good that owners opened a big, formal hot dog restaurant which, of course, failed…you can’t formalize a lowly dog); the excellent, dirty water hot dog served at the fast food counter in New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal on 8th Avenue.

The true appetite quenching dog was known as “The Special” and was served for many years in New York delicatessens. It was BIG, fat and juicy. More a knockwurst than a frankfurter. As reported in a post some months ago, HG was very fond, in the early days of their marriage, of BSK’s grilled hot dogs served with baked beans mixed with sauteed onions and Heinz chili sauce. Love might have had something to do with it.

Hot Dogs. Fit For Royalty….And HG.

March 27th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG watched (with pleasure), “The King’s Speech”, and his thoughts, inevitably, turned to hot dogs. In one of the great public relations ploys, President Roosevelt invited the royal couple—King George VI and Elizabeth II— to the United States in 1939 for a 5 day visit. FDR, knowing that war was imminent, wanted closer ties with Greaat Britain. The visit (first to the USA for a Royal Couple since the American Revolution) was a huge success. The highlight was a picnic on the lawn of Top Cottage, FDR’s property on the Hyde Park estate. The King and Queen were served hot dogs and expressed their pleasure with this All American fare. Yes, there was also some excellent ham, smoked turkey, strawberry shortcake and other goodies. But, the hot dogs were in the spotlight. Those tube steaks played a big role in history.

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