I can't believe I FINALLY made on of the NJ Hot Dog tours!! It certainly did not disappoint. With much help from my fellow Roadfooders, I took a NJ Transit train from New York Penn Station to Newark Penn Station, then another train to Roselle Park and after a very short bus ride, I arrived at the first stop of the tour, (GHI) Galloping Hill Inn
Exterior of Galloping Hill Inn. The bus was already there so I said hello to John Fox
and made my way to the counter to place my order.
GHI logo on the window
Part of the GHI menu.
I went for a dog with mustard, chili and onions. After the first bite, I realized that I don't like chili and mustard together. It feels like a battle of wills to me and they're both working against each other. I'll echo the comments of others about the bun. It was a good bun, but I thought it better suited for a sausage and peppers sandwich or a nice Italian cold cuts sandwich. The dog couldn't stand up to it. The chili reminded me of Hormel although I don't think that it was, it just didn't "pop" for me". The dog was okay, but didn't really stand out. Not a favorite stop for a number of people, but I'm always glad to try something new!
I'm not sure who this couple is, but I asked if they would pose with their burgers and they were happy to oblige.
It was also John Fox's birthday and his wife brought a cake and we all sang to him! Happy Birthday John!
Our Starship Enterprise for the day. Our Captain Kirk was a gent named Dennis and he did a fine job maneuvering through the streets on this lovely day.
Our second stop was at Dee's Hut
, a small truck on the mean streets of Roselle Park. Here we see the line of hot dog heads awaiting a Sabrett's dog with some of Dee's homemade onion sauce, or perhaps some of her chili. I have to tell you that Benzee and John Fox complement each other so well on this tour. Benzee is like Morgan Freeman in "Shawshank Redemption". He's a man who knows how to get things! The organization with the bus, payments, getting the info out to everybody, doing the head counts, etc... Thanks a million, Benzee! And John Fox, just an incredible encyclopedic knowledge of hot dogs, their history and the people who make and sell them. He gave us a Cliff Notes rundown of what was available at each place before we arrived, which I found to be very helpful in choosing what I would eat! Thanks, man!
Such a small truck, but some outstanding food.
Dee hard at work in the truck. She knew we were coming, but I can only imagine the look on her face when our bus pulled up!
St. Theresa sign. Now I don't know about y'all, but I don't come across this at a street truck or cart in NYC very often!
I had mine with her homemade onion sauce and homemade chili. I really liked this whole package. The bun was soft, the dog had a nice snap to it. The onions in the sauce were soft and had a nice tomato flavor to it. The chili was similar to a bolognese sauce, which John Fox mentioned a few places made it that way.
And a nice cold cream soda to wash it down.
Our 3rd stop was at the Rahway Grill.
Tucked away on a small side street, this was worth seeking out.
Rahway dogs in the window. I love that I can see my food cooking and being prepared right on the street.
Rahway grill, exterior.
I liked this place from the moment I stepped inside. It has been around since the 1920s and it looks like not too much has changed. One thing that caught my eye was a man having a bowl of ice cream at his table and the bowl was the same pattern that my mom had at home when I was a kid. They weren't going for restaurant decor, but just for whatever works.
jukebox and Christmas decoration. Not so much about celeb photos, but pics of people they know, family and friends.
Walt, I know you had a hamburger today, but no, definitely no pancakes! Put down the syrup pitcher and step away!
Dressing the dogs, my stomach started to grumble. Feed me!
Self serve onions, I like their style.
This was just pure and simple. An all beef dog with an assertive flavor and snap. Their finely chopped onions went quite well with the thick, rich chili. I was liking that chili more and more with each bite. I though I detected a graininess in it like cornmeal, but I'm not sure. I can't exactly put my finger on the taste, but I'd make a detour for more.
Pennsylvania dutch red birch beer. This is what I grew up with, although I now prefer Foxon Park white style after fellow Roadfooders Ayersian (Chris & Amy)
got me hooked on it at Blackie's and Frank Pepe's. I was hoping to find some off-the-beaten-path drinks today, but this was as far as the beverages veered off course.
Stop number 4, Lutz's Pork Store
. This was an interesting stop to say the least. The moment I walked in, I was beguiled by a smoky perfume. John has known the owner, Patrick, for a while and has tasted many of their products. Benzee to school with Patrick from elementary through high school! Pat took some time to tell us about the store and introduce us to his staff who make the sausages, wursts, coleslaw, sauerkraut, you name it.
Finally, some recognition. Pat, I think you should build an overhead, lighted marquee for our arrival next year!
Pat from Lutz's and his staff. John Fox had told us that Pat and the guys would have samples for us. Little did we know that he had put out a whole spread!
Grand Reserve award. A pretty awesome honor in the meat world. Although I wonder how a Grand Champion would lose their title: Unkind photos from Playboy surfacing years later? Plagiarizing an article from Smoked Meat Aficionado Magazine?
Meats on here I have never even heard of before!
Lutz's specialty sign
They had a tray of Lutz's footlongs and custom dogs
as well as Lutz's italian sausages and brats
I went in for a Half sausage/half hot dog
Same shot but with dog dressed in mustard and kraut. Lemme tell ya, the combo of the Martin's potato roll, that homemade sauerkraut, the smoked dog and that extra hot mustard was just heavenly. If we weren't stopping anywhere else, I might have downed a couple of these. The sausage was good as well, but It felt kinda naked without the peppers and onions. That's why we could buy them to go!
I could always take or leave sauerkraut. It always seemed to like a condiment for a hot dog or one of the building blocks of a pastrami reuben. This was the first time I ever imagined it as a stand alone side dish. It was sweet and sour with a good speckling of caraway seeds. I ended up buying a container of this along with 3lbs of pork chops to cook up this week.
This jalapeno mustard had a nice tang to it and a very bold pepper flavor that kicked in immediately. Loved it!
Benzee and Fox with Pat from Lutz's
Next on the hit parade was Jimmy Buff's
, home of the Italian Hot Dog.
Italian Hot Dog, in repose.
Jane and Michael & Jane, I think they liked your write-up in the recent edition of Roadfood.
Billyboy and Jimmy Buff. Mr. Racioppi was kind enough to take a picture with me.
Being a viideo game freak from way back, I was very excited to see that this game exists. Yippee-ki-yay!!!
My single italian hot dog. I really loved this hot dog! I am glad I didn't order a full size as I would not have been up for the task on this day. Like a Pan Bagnat sandwich or a Muffaletta, this "pizza bread" is the perfect vehicle for this style of hot dog. I found it to be soft yet chewy with a fresh flavor and it held up nicely to the naughty greasy filling. I like how the mustard is on the bottom and ketchup can be applied to the top so that hot dog lovers of both camps (ketchup lovers & ketchup haters: the Montagues & Capulets of the hot dog world) can live in peace! Potatoes on a sandwich just makes sense to me. I've been putting fries on sandwiches for years and Primanti Bros. goes back even further. The peppers and onions worked well with the dog which had a good, slight crunch and snap as well as flavor. Beverages were on the house and Mr. Racioppi and his staff were most kind.
Tank burger: Has anyone ever finished one of these?
Buff mobile. That name just makes me laugh! Ahh, a 13 year old mind trapped in a 38-year old body.
The last stop of the day was Pappy's Diner
. I really dig this old-fashioned sign.
Rumor has it a few people were obsessed with this clock. Sorry folks, I cam by with a Ryder truck the next day and it is MINE! All mine!
My Texas hot.
My Texas hot-Part 2. This shot really shows the onions. There was something green on them that I could not identify. I was not a fan of this dog at all. The dog was a bit bland, I was put off by the mystery flavor in the onions and the flavor of the chili really reminded me of Campbell's Vegetable soup. I know that wasn't it, but that is what immediately popped into my head.
The gang at the end of a most tasty day!
Billyboy with Benzee and John Fox. I was proud to have my photo taken with two great Roadfooders and great hot dog enthusiasts.
Screenbear, thanks for being my bus partner and for some great conversation AND the ride to the train station!
John Sagi, thanks for the chili. I haven't tried it yet, but I think there is a cheese & chili stuffed burger in its future!
I look forward to next year!
"Eating is an adventure, enjoy the ride!"- billyboy, 2009
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