Happy Friday friends! OMG it’s been such a long week… since my run on Sunday, my body has been aching like no-one’s business (I tore the cartilage in both hips a few years ago training for taekwondo national championships, had one operated on, the other ignored, and dear god they hurt like hell after a run!), I woke up a few mornings ago feeling like I was swallowing razor blades, work’s been busy (this is a good thing, just tiring!), and I’m trying to make sure I’m making enough time in the week to work on my blog and other writing. I feel like I’m putting almost all of my energy and time into meal planning so I won’t screw up this low FODMAP thing as well as practicing anti-anxiety and depression and disordered eating behaviour, I am baking up a storm over the next two days for my sister-in-law’s weekend baby shower (there is an ungodly amount of butter and eggs in my fridge at the moment), and, despite not
having having made time to de-stress with my usual daily yoga, and not having had more than 6 broken hours sleep in a night for the last few months, I am trying to keep a positive frame of mind going! I’m actually feeling surprisingly, oddly good at the moment… calm before the storm, perhaps?!
ANYWAY, back to my original point – Friday!!! If I wasn’t FODMAPing, I’d probably be heading out for some sort of delicious meaty treat for dinner. Husband and I were discussing hot dogs last night (just the standard kind of highly intelligent dinner-table conversation that goes on in our house), and I started thinking about how much I’d love one… but instead of going to get a hot dog, I’m going to flash back to two delicious dogs I had in America back at the start of the year, on opposite sides of the country. Both classics, both city institutions, both delicious, both worthy of your spare change and time to visit.
First up, representing the east coast…
179 E 86th St, New York
To quote the great man, Anthony Bourdain, “…there’s always a shining light on the hill, an old reliable, arguably the best hot dog in New York City, our best food forward in the meat-in-tube form department: Papaya King.”
With an endorsement like that, you can hardly not visit this place when you go to New York! And so we did. We actually walked the whole 3.7km (or 2.3 miles) from our hotel to Papaya King, because we had literally just gotten off the Amtrak train that took us into NYC, dumped our bags, and were ready to kill two birds with one stone – let’s see a bit of the city on our way to food!
While I’m not sure this is the best hot dog in New York (Crif Dogs, I’m looking at you!), this was certainly the best old-style dog we had there. And the papaya drink was pretty darn good too,; I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised as I wasn’t expecting much from it! Plain and simple, dog and sauerkraut, fantastic mustard, quick and friendly service, good snap on the hot dog, soft bun, happy days. It’s standing room only, so if you’re there in winter like we were, get cosy with the guy standing at the counter next to you and come together over a mutual love for good food!
And the west coast’s delegate…
Pink’s Hot Dogs
709 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles
I have a confession to make; this hot dog was not a planned thing. We were on our way out to dinner at Umami when our walk from the hotel to The Grove took us on a path right past Pink’s. We knew we were having big fat burgers for dinner. We still stopped for a snack. Naughty fatties, I know, but when passes a city institution such as Pink’s one does not pass it by! It’s pretty exciting, as demonstrated in the photo above by the kid who just dropped for no apparent reason other than extreme hot dog excitement.
Pink’s has been around since 1939 and if the walls lined with signed celebrity photos are anything to go by, it’s still pretty popular 75 years on. We had a chat to a local lady lining up who told us she’d lived here her whole life and never had one – she only stopped there tonight because it was the shortest she’d ever seen the line! Guess it was meant to be…
We kept it simple with our order, going the classic chili dog with mustard, onions and chili, come in at around USD$5.00 including tax. It was money well spent; fantastic dog! The chili was amazing, just enough kick to help the flavour along, not enough to overpower it. The dog itself was delicious, the bun was perfect – soft enough to enjoy, not so soft that it went soggy.
Pink’s wasn’t originally on our list of place’s to try, but it should have been – it’s not just the delicious food, it’s the experience! People there were friendly and happy and willing to chat to us strange foreigners, even though the line was deep and they could have all been grumpy and impatient… I guess that’s just the by-product of good food and service! It’s not fancy food, but it is fun, and it’s been around so long for a reason – enjoy!