Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tidewater's Top Dog?

Hot Dog King
Newport News, VA

Wouldn't it be great to be able to recapture that feeling you used to get seeing all those presents under the tree?

Imagine being seven again, knowing Christmas day was coming and soon you'd be ripping off wrapping paper and staring at whatever wonderful new toy Santa brought you?

"Like a kid before Christmas," as the saying goes.

It's tough though.  As grown men and women, "we've seen it all."  It can be tough to recapture that titillating feeling for anything.

Well, except for Gus' Hot Dog King.

They've recently opened a shiny new joint in Williamsburg, VA -- but the Newport News location is the original.

Around since 1972, it's become an institution. 

And eating at Hot Dog King is one of those things Suit 69 can get excited for.

Needless to say, they specialize in hot dogs.  And you can get just about whatever you want on 'em.

There's the usual ingredients -- onion, relish, cheese, sauerkraut.  Then some extras like cole slaw and jalepenos.  But their homemade chili is where its at.

I was pretty hungry when I rolled up to Hot Dog King.  But that was by design.  I'd been planning for a few days to make sure I was ready for some good old-fashioned gluttony.

You see, only rookies show up unprepared.

Their menu isn't huge, but it has all you'd ever want.

Hot dogs.  Chili burgers.  North Carolina-style barbecue.

They even have chicken sandwiches in case you are the kind of person that goes to Hot Dog King to order a chicken sandwich.

"Morons," I think they are called.

Nothing on the menu is more than $2.00-$3.00.

So it's cheap place to grab lunch during the week, while also allowing you to mix and match different things and try a bit of everything without breaking the bank if you want a little more.

That's exactly what Suit 69 did.

I ordered a footlong hot dog with chili, mustard and onion, a chili burger and some onion rings.

The waitress was great.  You could tell she was a "pro."

Hearing my order, she told me she'd be bringing out my onion rings and hot dog first, and then my chili burger a few minutes later.

Burgers take longer to cook, after all, and she didn't want my hot dog to get cold.

There's no doubt about it, quality service is one of the main things that makes a top tier dining experience.

The other main thing is the food.

That test began as soon as my hot dog and onion rings showed up.

Of course, the onion rings were solid, but the hot dog is what shined.

First, the bun is steamed, rendering it just warm, soft and moist enough to softly cradle all twelve inches of the King's weiner -- but not soggy enough to explode in your hand.

Like I mentioned, the chili is their specialty.  Its meaty, smoky and is a nice compliment to their hot dogs.
The onions?  They stood up for themselves, which was a pleasant surprise. They weren't the super sweet, sugary variety.  Their flavor held up even against the mustard and chili.

Now, the most important part -- the hot dog.  It was incredible.  It literally snapped and burst with that wonderful hot doggy processed meat juice on every bite.

All together, it added up to incredible.

I was feeling pretty stuffed when my chili burger came out.  But I made work of it too.  The truth is, the chili burger was good, but hamburger meat can kind of disappear in the chili.  It needed some more mustard to hang.

So, sitting there in my suit, feeling kind of like a water balloon, I was done.  There was absolutely nothing in the entire world that could get me to eat one more bite.

Except for funnel cake fries.

I saw the sign for them, and I had no choice.

Funnel cakes are one of the world's most amazing foods.

But every time you see them, it's either at a baseball game and they're $14 a plate -- or it's at a state fair and its 104 degrees outside and just thinking about eating them makes you want to hurl.
But Hot Dog King's Funnel Cake Fries lived up to the hype.

After all, they were sugar in it's best form.  Fried.

Fearing what was now Ocean Liner 69 would collapse the chair I was sitting on, I slowly rose, waddled up to the cash register and paid.

I ate all that for right around $10.  Not bad at all.

I would have gladly paid a few bucks more for the shirt, but I looked around and they don't sell them apparently.

Maybe next month, when I'm hungry again, Suit 69 will roll back up to Hot Dog King to see if they've changed that policy.  And maybe grab a bite to eat while I'm there.

Rating:  Bought the Shirt!

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