Another year, another NJ Hot Dog Tour and it was a great one! I couldn't believe they had 2 full motor coaches this year! Once again, huge, huge thanks to John Fox
for putting this all together, keeping it very organized, John's endless fountain of hot dog knowledge, Coney Island Lou
for designing the awesome t-shirts, the supply of water and sodas on the bus, etc... Just great time. I started out by taking the PATH train from World Trade to Newark Penn Station and then NJ Transit to Roselle Park where Mr. Fox picked me up and whisked me away to our first stop, Galloping Hill Inn
. There I met Steve Keiner (the 1999 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Champion) and his brother in the parking lot and a few minutes later met up with Chris (one half of the dynamic RF duo known as ayersian
). We made our way in for our first hot dog of the day and the strategy was to split a dog at each stop, a move that wisely paid off at the end of the day!
I suggested to Chris that we get a double with mustard and chopped onions as last year I felt that the single dog had gotten lost in the large bun. It was definitely an improvement. The beef & pork blend dogs were great. Nice snap and a mild flavor complemented by the assertive mustard. I do like my onions chopped a bit finer so there isn't so much of a powerful onion flavor/crunch so I might opt for fried onions or another topping on the next tour. I still think the bun is better suited to a sausage & peppers sandwich but that's probably because I grew up eating Freihofer's New England style split top rolls buttered in grilled. It's still a great roll, fresh with a nice chew to it. I might experiment with other parts of the menu next year to see if something really jumps out at me.
And the obligatory shot of a Roadfooder (Chris) taking a shot of his food!
Our 2nd stop was at the Rahway Grill
. Much has been said about the location of this place and I can only echo the sentiments. It really feels like it is in a quiet little neighborhood and there definitely was a sense of a local neighborhood calm to it...until about 100 or so hot dog heads stormed the castle, as it were!
And the gang queued up for their dogs and that tasty chili!
I love that you can walk up and see what you are about to eat being made right before your eyes. Nothing to hide here! I wish I had gotten a decent shot of the pot of chili.
Chris and I split a chili dog with mustard & topped with slaw. Normally I'm not a mayo slaw kind of guy, but this was homemade not too wet. There was a nice crunch to it and it had a fresh taste as well as a cooling effect that countered the thick, dark, rich chili quite nicely. As Chris had said in the RF Digest, the dog had a nice snap to it and I enjoyed the assertive flavor. That chili had haunted me since the 2009 tour. There was a quality to it, a richness and thickness that I couldn't put my finger on but I could see applications far beyond hot dogs (chili fries? chili burgers? just a straight bowl of it? the possibilities are endless!!). If I lived close by I'd be having chili dogs 3-4 days a week, no doubt. The owners are really nice too and I definitely got the feeling as I did last year that this is a place with a regular "locals" clientele.
I spied some Pennsylvania Dutch brand red birch beer in the case so Chris and I grabbed a couple of cans. I've have come to love the charms of the dry, white birch beer made by Foxon Park rather quickly (many, many thanks to Chris & Amy for that one!) but "P. Dutch" in all of it's overly sweet goodness will always have a special place in my heart as it's what I grew up drinking with my dad.
Natalie hot dogging it up for the camera. I met her last year on the tour and she is a fun person to be around!
More to come...
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