Friday, April 16, 2010

Hot Dogs At Home

It's funny how some movies you loved when you were a kid hold up really well over the years, and others you watch again and say "How the hell did I ever like that?" You remind yourself there was a time when you also liked eating Twinkies and you could entertain yourself for hours on a hot afternoon with a garden hose (perhaps not the best examples; those things are still both true for me) but you cannot fathom how you ever enjoyed some of these movies. A couple years back I tried to watch Goldfinger one night. I think I made it twenty minutes before I fell asleep. My friend David and I would joke for hours on end about the movie Undercover Blues. I watched that on Netflix a few months ago. My God, it is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I won't even get into Hudson Hawk

But some movies still make me laugh. Last weekend I watched The Princess Bride with my young cousin, Emma. I loved it just as much as I did twenty years ago. I still watch Doc Hollywood when it comes on TV, which it does with great frequency. And not long ago I watched The Hard Way for the first time in probably 18 years. Michael J. Fox plays a high-maintenance actor training for a role, so he follows James Woods (who plays a cop) all over the city, trying to understand what it's like to be a "real" cop. 

There is a scene I always loved where they go to a disgusting food stand and James Woods orders a "frog dog," which of course Michael J. Fox does as well. It's a regular hot dog that they dump their fries on, cover with ketchup and mustard, and chow down. (You can watch the scene here.)

We were having hot dogs for dinner Wednesday night. I've been in a mood for them since baseball season started (technically this is true, however it's somewhat misleading: I'm always in the mood for hot dogs.) The Angels got their first really impressive win of the season, over the Yankees, so it seemed like a good evening. Not to mention the last Ugly Betty  Lakers game. 

Elizabeth wanted a dog with cole slaw on it. That was fine with me, I am always happy to eat one of those. But I was in the mood for something else, too, and with my recent adventures at The Slaw Dogs, I was inspired to branch out a little beyond relish and mustard. I thought back to The Hard Way. A "frog dog" sounded good to me.

I grilled some Nathan's Famous hot dogs on the indoor grill. For Elizabeth's dog I cooked a can of chili, added a small sluice of it to the dog, and topped it with a nice scoop of cole slaw. For my first hot dog, I took a couple pieces of breaded mozzarella sticks and fried them, then topped the dog with them and a slug of marinara sauce. I am not going to lie: I was expecting this to suck. But it did not. Not even a little. It was, in fact, delicious. 

My second dog was the aforementioned frog dog: I placed the wiener in the bun, topped it with a handful of fries, and squirted ketchup and mustard on top. This wasn't quite as good. The whole was definitely less than the sum of its parts. I missed the familiar sourness of something like relish or pickles or A.1. sauce that I usually put on my hot dogs. 

I would not complain if I had to eat these again, but I doubt I will make them. There are far too many other toppings with which to experiment.


pasadenapio said...

I'm a true purist -- a little mustard, ketchup and relish -- but dang, these look good!

JustinM said...

I hear ya'. Mustard, relish and chopped onion is how I eat most of my dogs. But sometimes it's fun to get a little silly.

Street said...

Did you see that show on Food Network where the dude injected the cheese INTO the hot dog?

JustinM said...

I think I did see that a few years back, if we're thinking of the same thing. To be honest I was hedging my bets with the fried cheese dog. If it wasn't good I was going to eat the cheese sticks, wipe off the excess sauce, and make myself another slaw dog.

Anonymous said...

I think hot dogs are horrific. I haven't been able to eat one since a boy in 6th grade told me they were made out of worms. Good dieting trick.
Since I'm not a hot dog person, I had a quick question. I'm trying to figure out what things are considered "staple" items to keep in the fridge. What are your top ten? And, yes, they can all be condiments if you're so inclined!

JustinM said...

Great question. My 10 fridge/freezer staples would be these:

1) Basil

2) Fresh mozzarella

3) Chicken (you can do so many different things with it)

4) Pizza dough (good for pizza, calzones or breadsticks)

5) Steak Sauce (I have more than a half dozen kinds, but my favorite is A.1. Thick & Hearty)

6) Mustard (I have several varieties of this as well)

7) Trader Joe's frozen pizza (these are delicious, about $4 each, and with a little fresh herbs and cheese they taste like pizza you would pay three times as much for in a restaurant)

8) Spinach (I eat this fresh as a salad, cook it with some olive oil, salt & pepper and garlic, or toss it with some pasta)

9) Hot Dogs

10) Pancetta (I cook this with pasta, put it in sandwiches, add it to scrambled eggs, top pizzas, etc.)

BTW my pantry staples are this: garlic (the best thing in the world other than Guinness, college football, Van Morrison and toilet bowl cleaners with the nozzles that point upwards), tortillas/flatbread, hot sauce (Texas Champagne is my favorite), olive oil, flavored vinegars, sweet onions, and Weber's white bread.