Amen to everything you said Benzee. I would like to thank you also for doing the lion's share of the work in preparing for this trip. Coordinating the Tour, handling the details and travel arrangements, collecting the money, keeping track of who registered, who paid, handling cancellations and maintaining a waiting list. And running the 50/50. Without you and all your work there would be no Tour.
Thanks also to all who attended and made this a fun day. It's always fun to see old friends and make new ones. Jerry Katz (Umbada is his screen name) made the trip from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada! It's actually the second time he's attended the Tour.
Thanks to the people who own and run the hot dog eateries we visited for serving us and working with us to insure that everything ran as smoothly as possible.
Thanks to Coney Island Lou for designing the Hot Dog Tour tee shirt.
Thank you to Pete Genovese of the Star Ledger, Chris Ayers of Roadfood, and Hawk Krall of Serious Eats for attending. Look for write ups soon.
I encourage feedback, both negative and positive. We are always looking to make improvements and to keep the Tour fresh. And I love hearing others opinions of the hot dogs and the places we visited. Almost as much fun as eating the hot dogs. As I mentioned on the bus, the people who run the establishments we visited read these forums and are interested in feedback.
Galloping Hill Inn: I did not sample a dog here as I live down the street and eat here often. They are consistent and serve one of the best grilled German style dogs in the state. They got some votes as favorite of the day on my bus.
Rahway Grill: Second year on the Tour and again they got the most votes for favorite hot dog of the Tour on both buses. This year the voting was a little more spread out than last year. They serve a unique dog made by Hatfield specifically to appeal to hot dog lovers in our area. The beef dogs here, those at the Garage and Buff's (Best's), and at Papaya King (Sabrett) are all top quality dogs with their own spicing. Depends on what you like and what your taste is. I do love the dogs at the Rahway Grill and their chili is one of the best I've had. I do like the Sabrett and Best dogs better, but on this trip I'm in the minority. The Rahway Grill was liked so much last year, they were included again this year. And they are primarily a breakfast/lunch spot. One criticism of the Rahway Grill. They prepare their dogs well for the Tour, but people who have gone back at other times (myself included) have gotten dogs that have been sitting on the griddle too long and were dried out and not served hot enough. It's nice to serve a great dog on the Tour, but I wish they would maintain the same standards at other times.
The Garage in Millburn was a new stop this year. And one that was well liked. I would say that they received the second most votes for favorite dog of the day on both buses. Most had the Syd's dog. I did. It was well prepared and hot. The same as Syd's. As good a beef dog as there is anywhere. A few people on the Tour had the hamburger and raved about it. My wife had it, loved it, and reluctantly gave me a bite. Fantastic!
Jimmy Buff's was next. Some had the Italian Hot Dog, some the Syd's dog, and some the pushcart. I usually get the Italian or Syd's dog. Today I had the pushcart as I was trying to save room. An excellent Best's natural casing dog that was fried and topped with the best chili of the day. It got rave reviews. It's always nice to get the opinions of people who are having an Italian Hot Dog for the first time. And there are always a few. The people I spoke with loved theirs and signed up for the Tour largely to get to sample one. Jimmy Buff's received a lot of votes and his chili was the favorite chili of the Tour.
The Getty Grill was another new stop on the Tour. They serve a traditional Paterson/Clifton area Texas Weiner topped with the thin cinnamon/clove/nutmeg flavored Greek chili sauce. For some it is an acquired taste. I really enjoyed my Texas Weiner and it was a nice contrast to the beef dogs I had at the last 3 stops. A few people had this stop as their favorite, but most others enjoyed the dogs here. Good service and at 99 cents a better bargain than the Hot Grill.
Papaya King was next. Frank gave everyone a free dog! A great gesture from a popular stop that we visited once a few years ago. I thought it was time for a return visit and I'm glad we went. The dog was perhaps my favorite of the day; up there with the natural casing Best's franks I had at 2 stops. The Papaya King frank was hot, very flavorful, juicy and extremely fresh. Perfect preparation. Their Mango drink was my favorite of the day. Well, second favorite after beer.
Last stop was Rutt's Hut, the most well known hot dog joint in New Jersey and one of the most well known in the entire country. It's been quite a few years since we were there and it was time we threw it back into the rotation. We were served quickly as they are used to large crowds. As usual Rutt's elicits the widest range of opinions when it comes to hot dogs. They have their die hard fans who place it above all others. There are also people (on this Tour included) who think the dog is disgusting and who won't even eat it. I love this dog. I wouldn't say it is my favorite, but it's up there. And sometimes I get a craving for a couple. Similar to the craving many get for White Castle hamburgers. Maybe not the best burger, but sometimes you have to have some. I skipped this stop partly because I was getting full and partly because I had 3 dogs there 2 days ago when I finished a dry run of all the stops. Opinions were mixed on Rutt's although most loved their relish. It is unique, homemade, and easily my favorite relish. In fact it's the only one that I will put on a dog although I have sampled other homemade relishes on the side. An excellent complement to the deep fried dogs at Rutt's.
Thanks again to all who made this day fun and the one I look forward to more than any other.
Let the comments, opinions, reviews, posts, and suggestions begin.