Manhattan has a magical power of making things you thought were good, bad. For instance living in Manhattan, but it also makes things you thought were bad good, like hot dogs. Hot dogs are usually made from a mixture of chicken, beef, and pork and then put into a sheep’s intestine. They are fast, portable, and microwavable. In other words they are perfect for Americans.
Weenies are not exactly considered gourmet where I’m from. I thought “gourmet hot dog” was an oxymoron until I moved to the east village. I found that if I walked two blocks in either direction I could find not only a hot dog that was considered gourmet, but also romantic and hip places that served them.
Oscar Meyer or Ball Park Frank? Ketchup or Mustard? These used to be the only questions I was asked regarding dogs. This is not the case at places like Westville and Crif Dogs in NYC.
Westville East is a small restaurant located on the corner of 10th and A in the East Village. Along with plates like arugula salads, whole grilled trout, and crab cakes, they also feature veggie dogs, ranch dogs, and Hebrew national hot dogs. With toppings like chili,cheese, sour kraut, and grilled onions they are not necessarily original. But the chili, for instance, has chunks of fresh vegetables, and the grilled onions are sweet and soft. At Westville young hipsters, fashionistas, and families alike are willing to pay up to 11 dollars for a hot dog special.
Crif Dogs offers dogs like the “The Chihuahua” which is a bacon wrapped dog covered with avocadoes and sour cream. Another is the “Morning Jersey” which is their special house dog wrapped in ham covered in melted cheese and a fried egg. This place is exciting to say the least. It has the crowded fast paced feel of the papaya dog on 6th Ave. and 4th along with the hip underground feel of a Lower East Side bar.
I’m not saying that I will eat hot dogs on a daily basis now, but franks New York style are the kind thing to show an out-of-towner. Hot dogs are the perfect example of New York taking an American tradition and adding its own creativity and flavor. Hot dogs in New York are like a lot of people in New York; Questionable and slightly gross, but if dressed up the right way, totally in fashion.