Mini Meet at Charlie's Pool Room
The phone rang this morning as I was running out to do a few errands before I headed up to Alpha, NJ. The plan was to meet at Charlie’s Pool Room for the unique hot dog experience that they provide. Tony Rudy was calling. He wanted to meet early and try a few places before we were supposed meet the rest of the Hot Dog eating group at Charlie’s.
Tony and I decided to meet at Key City Diner in Philipsburg, NJ. We would figure the rest of the stops out later. I postponed my errands and decided to take a scenic route up to P-burg.
It was a cool and gray autumn day. There was no wind, so the cool air was not objectionable. I took several back roads that I know so that I could peep at what leaves were left from the autumn foliage. This seems to have been a strange autumn. A few trees had completely shed their leaves. Others were the usual yellows, red, and oranges. These seemed to be rather muted in intensity compared to previous years. Finally, there were many trees that were still green and had all their leaves. This is very unusual for mid November.
After enjoying the scenic drive, I got to the diner a few minutes early. I noticed that at the top of the hand written list of specials posted at the door “Hot Dog Omelet”. This seemed a rather serendipitous start for a day of eating hot dogs.
When Tony arrived we both ordered the hot dog omelet. I asked for onions in mine. John Fox, I am sorry that I did not ask what kind of dog they used. I am very particular about my potatoes at breakfast. I always ask for the home fries or hash browns “crisp”. I am always amazed at what passes for crisp in some places.
I was not disappointed with my breakfast. The hot dog had been grilled before being put in the omelet and the home fries were sufficiently crisp. This was a good start on the day.
Tony and I went looking for a real hot dog to tide us over until we got to Charlie’s. We found that both Auntie T’s Dog Pound and Jimmy’s on the Delaware were closed.
We tried a place across from Jimmy’s called Eddy’s Drive In. This place has changed hands several times in the last few years and we did not know what to expect. It seems that this place has become a Mexican take out restaurant but still serves hot dogs. We ordered one dog each. These dogs were from unknown parents and poorly deep fried. We put mustard and their apparently homemade relish on the dogs, but we could not taste anything. The dogs had no taste and no snap. They went in the dumpster after one bite.
This was a totally forgettable hot dog.
Tony and I went over to the rendezvous point in case anyone showed up. Everyone seemed to be getting to Charlie’s on their own so we left the rendezvous point and went to Charlie’s.
The Fencz Bros.
I have been to Charlie’s several times before. You can read me review in previous posts on this thread. As always, Charlie’s was great. I had my usual – two mealies. I am sure that others will explain what a mealie is.
This time I really enjoyed talking with all the people that showed up. When you go to Charlie’s you always wind up having conversations with whoever is sitting around the table eating their hot dogs. I have to say that this was the most gregarious bunch of people that I have ever shared the “Charlie’s experience” with. There was also a surprise birthday party for Seafarer John. A good time was had by all.
Happy birthday John!
I had not had a chance to talk that much with John Fox before. I really enjoyed talking to him about Chicago dogs the way I experienced them as a teenager. We also talked about Jimmy Buff’s in East Hanover.
I really enjoy listening to John’s extensive understanding of hot dogs. Thanks John! And thanks to all the others who helped make this such an enjoyable lunch.
As we left Charlie’s a few folks headed off to their jobs or other appointments. A few headed back to NY state and were planning to stop at Hot Dog Johnny’s on the way. How did that turn out?
A few of us headed over to Toby’s Cup for a dog and/or a shake. I find Toby’s to be your standard western NJ dog. It is deep fried and served with onions, mustard, and pickle. This was a nice ending to the day for some of the group who had not had this kind of dog before. Toby’s also makes a good milk shake.
I attempted to make one more stop as I headed back towards home. Even though this was becoming a very gray and foggy day I drove down along the Delaware River to Milford, NJ. There is a place on Bridge Street that has changed hands several times in recent years and I wanted to see if they were open.
The place is now called Big Momma’s. When I got there a few minutes after 3:00 PM they were closed. I guess that is a place that will have to wait for another day.
I continued my trip down the river to Frenchtown and then back home. This had been a great day. It was filled with wonderful people and great things to eat. Thanks everybody!
I made a major mistake in the write up of my first visit to Charlie's. I confused Joe with John. My apologies to all. I finally realized that I could go back and edit the post to correct that error. You can find the corrected post dated 3/3/07 here: http://www.roadfood.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=40&whichpage=24