Where: the Varsity, in Atlanta, GA.
What: a chili cheese dog, because they’re the gold standard of hot dogs.
With whom: Trav. On Valentine’s Day. Because we’re romantic like that.
Why: the Varsity is famous as all get out and there wasn’t a better place to eat my Georgia hot dog.
Grade: B on the hot dog, A on the overall experience. Varsity hot dogs are just regular old hot dogs, but the point isn’t necessarily the hot dog itself and only itself — it’s the atmosphere, the lines, the history, and, well, the onion rings. The Varsity’s onion rings are fucking delicious.
Where: Frank, in Austin, TX.
What: the Carolina Pork It!, which in fact has an exclamation point in its name. A cheese-stuffed dog wrapped in bacon and deep-fried, and topped with great slaw.
With whom: Allie, and her friends B. & J.
Why: Deep fried. Bacon. Cheese. Slaw. The name.
Grade: B+. I had some straight up dogs from Frank the day before this, at a sandlot baseball game, and the strength of their dogs is in their mustards and the actual dog, and the excess of this almost distracted from it. But then there was deep fried bacon, so. Also could have used more contribution from the cheese, which got lost in everything else.
Where: Provided by the Pig at Merge 25.
What: the beet and blue dog; blue cheese and beet mustard.
With whom: Me myself and I, and about 1500 other Merge fans.
Why: BEET MUSTARD.
Grade: A. One of the best dogs I’ve had. The dog itself was great, and the beet mustard — the tang of mustard with the sweet of beets — was a perfect counterpoint to the blue cheese crumbles. I scarfed that thing in about four bites and almost went for another one.
Where: Al’s Burger Shack, 516 W. Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC.
What: the Pool Room dog; chili, mustard, slaw, hold the onions.
With whom: Me myself and I.
Why: I love chili cheese dogs, and I needed to eat before seeing the Shilohs.
Grade: B+. Super solid dog and excellent chili, but the slaw was standard — good but not outstanding — and I found myself feeling it was a little light on the mustard, which I will just correct next time I’m in by asking for extra mustard. Problem solved!
Where: Skippy’s, 624 W 4th St, Winston Salem, NC.
What: the chili cheese dog
With whom: Allison
Why: I love chili cheese dogs.
Grade: A-. The dog and the chili were straightforward; loved that they use shredded cheddar for cheese, leaving it to melt on the warm chili, instead of standard orange nacho stuff. The highlights were the pretzel roll, which was phenomenal, and the seriously above average string-cut fries, hot out of the oil.
Where: Kramarczuk’s, Target Field, Minneapolis, MN.
What: the Polish
With whom: the Every Everything crew
Why: Jan recommended it!
Grade: B+. I’m not a huge Polish person, but the sausage was tasty and the sauerkraut was otherworldly good.
Where: Stuggy’s, Baltimore, MD. Camden Yards location, under the new centerfield roof deck; there’s a brick and mortar store in Fells Point.
What: Crab Mac ‘N’ Cheese Dog
With whom: the Paternal Unit and Uncle A
Why: Baseball! Macaroni and cheese and crab meat on a hot dog! Because God loves me and wants me to be happy!
Grade: A-. Great jalapeno mac and cheese, tasty Baltimore style crab meat, fantastic dog underneath it all. Would have been an A if I hadn’t let it get a little cold.