Despite the small turnout, I thought yesterday was a very nice outing. Tim and Terri are a lovely couple, and I'm glad they came. My apologies for not bringing a camera (rookie mistake), but I know that Tim got quite a few good shots.
We started at Gus's in Watervliet. The weather was gorgeous, so eating at the picnic tables seemed like a great idea. At this point, I was pacing myself, not wanting to get too full too fast, so I got three and a chocolate milk (about $3). Yes, three dogs is pacing yourself at Capital District hot dog joints. The dogs are about the size of your finger. A small child at the table behind me got six. Another fellow left the window with a pyramid of dogs, two on top of four on top of six, making a rather impressive plate. The dogs were good and had a nice snap to them. The sauce at Gus's seems a little soupier and the buns may be a tad bigger than at the other places. Still, a tasty hot dog. If I were grading, I'd give it a B+.
We headed north up Route 32 to Hot Dog Charlie's in Cohoes. The distance between them, according to Google Maps, is 1.2 miles, so they're close. I had five here ($3.75), and would have been happy to have had ten more. The dogs have the same nice snap, but the sauce is thicker and more vibrant than Gus's and really balances well with the onions and mustard. Point of disclosure: Charlie's are the dogs I grew up eating. I probably had Charlie's hot dogs twice a week throughout my childhood. They are my reference standard, and as such, I will always have a bias toward them. A+, obviously.
We came back down into Watervliet and took the left over the Congress St. bridge into Troy. We came up the Congress St. hill, pulled a u-turn of questionable legality, and parked a couple of doors away from Famous Lunch. A little side story here... For years, Famous Lunch and the original Charlie's Hot Dogs were two doors apart. Famous is still in the same location that's it been at since 1932. The original Charlie's is now a parking lot. That might be an indication of who won the "Battle of Congress St." I had four and an RC cola at Famous ($4, including tax). The sauce is the darkest and has the richest flavor of the three places. It's an excellent sauce, but I think it overpowers the hot dog a little. In my biased grading system, an A-. However, out of the three places, I think the atmosphere at Famous Lunch is miles ahead of the others. The wooden booths, the counter and the general feel of the place are a genuine blast from the past.
Tim and Terri, I look forward to seeing the photos and reading your thoughts about the places. I hope you got to Snowman for ice cream. Matt, I hope everything is okay with you.