Tiny Hot Dogs - Troy New York Meet Up

Post
TnTinCT
Cheeseburger
2010/08/16 10:03:58
What a beautiful day for a road trip – especially one focused on road food! Last Saturday we headed north, and west into New York State for the Troy Hot Dog meet up.  Our first stop was Gus’s Hot Dogs in Watervliet. We met up with Shmaboo (Tim), who grew up in the area – lucky for us, as it turned out we were the only three roadfooders, and his knowledge of the area ensured we hit the best of the Albany dog stands!
 
Gus’s isn’t much more than a shack – a window where you order, and another window where you pick up. Like all good “joints” the pseudo-surliness of the staff adds to the atmosphere.  We got four dogs – as Shmaboo mentioned in his write up on the meet and greet thread, many folks were eating pyramids of dogs. The dog with “everything” includes mustard, onions, and sauce, and isn’t much bigger than my middle finger.  We got a Greek Hamburger, also – my mother grew in Erie, PA and told stories of the greek dogs and burgers she enjoyed. I don’t have a basis for comparison, but the grilled onions on the burger (vs. the raw onions on the dog) gave the burger a bit of an off-putting flavor, I didn’t eat more than a bite. The dogs were good – natural casings giving a good snap, and a decent chili-taste to the meat sauce. You can’t beat the price – four dogs, a burger, and soda came to about five bucks.







We hung out for a while hoping for more road-fooders to show up, then decided to hit the road and get a few more dogs. Our second stop was Hot Dog Charlie’s in Cohoes. It had more of a chain-restaurant look to it (and does have several branches in the area).  We took a picture of a picture hanging in the restaurant – this was the original owner, and for a “six degrees of separation” moment, the kid on the right side of the picture went to high school with none other than our dining companion, Shmaboo!


 
The dogs were my favorite of the day – snappy, and the sauce had some visible simmered onions along with the meat. It had a nice chili taste, without overpowering the tiny dog – I easily could sit down and eat six of these at a go.





While we were at Gus’s, Shmaboo told us another regional specialty is the fish fry – a long piece of fried fish on a bun, with chili sauce. Since it was available at Hot Dog Charlie’s we got that, too. Both of us expected the same “chili” sauce as on the dogs, but it turned out to be more like what we call “hamburger relish” – a tomato based pickle relish. The fish was made to order, so it was crispy and fresh, and the chili sauce added a surprisingly good note to the sandwich. It’s a winner!



The last stop for the three of us was Famous Lunch in Troy – another “joint” that’s been around since 1932. It has a great atmosphere – a long line of stools at the counter, and along the wall a bunch of small booths. The grill is in the window, the better to entice you inside. I love that they keep their chili sauce in a big bean pot on the grill. This to me had the most chili-like of the sauces, very dark, and slightly loose. It was good, but overpowered the dog – we also discussed the possibility that they might use a different dog, also – the entire bite had a bit of a different flavor than the other two stops.







And the single dog showing in the window shot - he made it for the picture we were taking, and kindly gave us the dog gratis afterward! Here's a bit of perspective on the size, with the dressed dog on a plate next to a quarter.



All of the stops sold their own sauce – and Shmaboo had also brought along another sauce from his area of the state – we can’t wait to try it! The “Zippy” sauce sign was posted in Famous Lunch.





We said goodbye to Shmaboo at that point, and decided to spend the rest of the day exploring the area. We hit a local cemetery to find “Uncle Sam”’s grave – the story goes that he was provisions inspector, and during the War of 1812 stamped the goods “U.S” – and Uncle Sam was born. We didn’t find it, but got some great views of the area from the hills in the cemetery. 
 
Shmaboo had suggested that we stop later in the day at the Snowman – a local ice cream place. We headed there after our cemetery tour – Tim got raspberry sherbet, and I had a root beer float.  You have to love the sign!







On the way out of town we detoured to find “Nipper” – the RCA dog. Neither of us expected to find him so LARGE! The building he is on now is an Irish American club which was a distribution center years ago. Another great example of roadside America!







Our last stop in the eating journey was Kingston, NY – Dallas Hot Wieners.  This was a totally different experience from the earlier dogs. It was a full sized, steamed, skinless dog. The sauce was much saucier – very little meat, and had a true chili bite to it that left a little afterburn.  I would have enjoyed it more with a better, natural casing dog. The dog was so bland the chili sauce totally overpowered it.







It was a great opportunity to sample some local food – my favorites, in order – Hot Dog Charlie’s – an A+, Famous Lunch – an A-, Gus’s and finally Dallas Hot Wieners.  Thanks to Shmaboo for sharing his knowledge of the area and giving us the Snowman tip!


Ivyhouse
Cheeseburger
Re:Tiny Hot Dogs - Troy New York Meet Up 2010/08/16 10:19:38
Great trip report, thanks! 
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
Re:Tiny Hot Dogs - Troy New York Meet Up 2010/08/16 11:18:06
Nice trip report!  I threw a party for a neighbor from Troy, NY a couple of years ago, and I ordered some of those little weiners from there, along with the buns.  I wasn't able to get any sauce, so I still don't know what the real thing tastes like.
Buffalo Tarheel
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Tiny Hot Dogs - Troy New York Meet Up 2010/08/16 12:49:39
Nice report, Terri.  All the food looks great.  The fish sandwich looks pretty interesting.  We have fish fries in great number in this part of New York, but I have never seen one with the type of relish or sauce that your pictures show.  Sounds good, though.
 
Schmaboo, welcome to Roadfood.
LindaW
Cheeseburger
Re:Tiny Hot Dogs - Troy New York Meet Up 2010/08/16 13:11:16
I was unable to join you on Saturday due to an emergency plumbing issue (thankfully resolved by mid afternoon). The pics look great and yes, fish frys are big in this area. Up the road from Hot Dog Charlies is Matt's Fish Fry a great little gem of a restaurant/market. I bought a few dozen topnecks there later on Saturday to bring home for dinner. Further down in Watervliet on Rt  32 is the original Ted's Fish Fry...a local chain with a few locations and that's always been a favorite as well. Glad you all had a blast, and hopefully, I'll get to meet some of my fellow Roadfooders the next time a meet and greet is in the area.
seafarer john
Filet Mignon
Re:Tiny Hot Dogs - Troy New York Meet Up 2010/08/16 14:05:57
Terri: great photos of the Troy hot dog scene. Sorry you were not impressed by Dallas Hot Weiners. Theirs is the style I grew up with, and I guess, we all prefer what we learned to like early on. As I've said many times on these forums, the Dallas and other Greek Mid-Hudson Valley hot dog joints are not famous for the quality of the dog (I think it's not a great dog- actually it's a pretty low quality dog) but they are famous for the sauce, and that's what its all about as far as I'm concerned. The thing is, the combination of the forgettable dog with the great sauce and the steamed bun is a wonderful combination - I've tried it at home with better quality dogs and it's just not the same. I noticed you went to Dallas#2, we still call that place "Uncle Georges" which was it's name until about 10 years ago when Dallas took over. Dallas #1 is still in operation on North Front St in Kingston in a tiny storefront  with 3 or 4 booths about a dozen stools at the counter and a very busy takeout business.   

BTW: Hot Dig King was supposed to meet us at Gus's last Fall and never showed - is there a pattern here?

Cheers, John 
TnTinCT
Cheeseburger
Re:Tiny Hot Dogs - Troy New York Meet Up 2010/08/16 16:29:46
MiamiDon - I actually picked up a flyer at Gus's noting packages you can order with dogs, buns, and sauce, thinking it would make a great gift idea. I didn't notice until we got home that it was CASH only LOL - so would need to make that 2 hour drive back to place the order!
LindaW - sorry about the plumbing issues, it was a great day for a road trip and hot dogs!
seafarerer john - it is funny how you like what you grow up with - we are so used to "connecticut" hot dogs - Grote & Weigel, Mucke's, Martin Rosol - natural casings, so the skinless type have less appeal. That being said, the sauce left a really nice afterburn - not a lot, just enough to remind you of what you ate.

Ivy and Rob - thanks for the comments!
ynotryme
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Tiny Hot Dogs - Troy New York Meet Up 2010/08/16 17:01:09
eveything looks delicious and a wonderful report. thank you
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Tiny Hot Dogs - Troy New York Meet Up 2010/08/16 18:06:28
Hot Dog!!!

Now that's my kind of a roadtrip!

However,  I've never understood two scoops of the same flavor.
Shmaboo
Junior Burger
Re:Tiny Hot Dogs - Troy New York Meet Up 2010/08/22 10:53:40
Tim and Terri,

Great report!  I had a wonderful time spending the afternoon with the two of you.  I'm glad you enjoyed the Snowman.  I have to agree with LindaW: if you pass through the Capital District and have a craving for a fish fry, go to Ted's.  They are the best!

MiamiDon: you can order Hot Dog Charlie's sauce online from hotdogcharlies.com.

Thanks again for a great time, and thanks for the welcome to Roadfood!