Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Green Grass and Spicy Chili Dogs Forever

Pat’s Hubba Hubba
24 North Main St.
Port Chester, NY

New York City is full of strange paradoxes.

Like how some people actually voluntarily choose to live here.

Like how if you walk down any sidewalk in Queens you will hear every language known to man – except English.

Like how it is perfectly legal for men to marry men, but you go to prison for two years if you accidently shoot yourself in the leg.

Or like how the leafy, hoity-toitiest suburbs northeast of New York are such a hot bed for America’s ultimate blue collar junk food: the hot dog.

Or like how chili dog parlors all over America name their delicacies after a Brooklyn amusement park.

I could go on and on.

But the strangest paradox to a junk food road warrior like me is how if you want a chili dog in Houston, you have to ask for a “Coney Island.” But if you want one in New York, it’s a “Texas hot” you’re looking for.


I’m sure it has something to do with marketing – and the old “grass is always greener” theory.

Have you ever noticed how everyone thinks the town they grew up in is totally lame? No matter how cool that town happens to be?

I feel sorry for kids who grow up in really cool places like Charleston, La Jolla or New Orleans.

Think about.

Like all teenagers, they desperately yearn to break free from the lame-ass chains that bind them to their home town – only to discover that every other town in America…

…is even lamer.

That must be REALLY depressing.

To a Texan, maybe “Coney Island” conjures up fun-filled Ferris wheel images of a bustling metropolis far to the north.

To a New Yorker, there’s nothing more exotic than Texas.

Well, except maybe for Boston.

For decades now, Hubba’s has been serving “Texas hots” just a stone’s throw from the Byram River that separates New York from Greenwich, Connecticut – one of America’s richest zip codes.

Right here in a five foot wide dive whose décor consists of dollar bills stapled floor to ceiling and a scattering of paper plates with hand scrawled menu items.

But almost nobody orders anything but one menu item – Hubba’s world famous “Texas hot”.

And when they say “hot’, they aren’t kidding. These New Yorkers must think all Texans eat nothing but a steady diet of jalapeño and habenero peppers for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The chili is nothing but browned ground beef mixed up with an explosion of peppery spice. No tomatoes. No onions. No vegetables whatsoever.

Just dead cow and spice. Oh, and lots and lots of grease.

I’m talking spice that makes your lips sting and your nose run.

The kind of spice that makes you instinctively reach for your beer after every bite.

But, alas, Hubba’s doesn’t serve beer.

In fact, Hubba’s is more famous as the kind of place you go to late at night – when you are done drinking beer. That’s why it stays open until 5am.

That spice alone should sober you up.

The hot dogs that are slathered with this incendiary chili are top notch, split open and pressed on the griddle until crispy and brown – a perfect complement to the wallop of spice.

As I swallowed my last bite and admired the pool of grease left over on my paper plate and tried to quench the fire in my mouth with Hudson River tap water, I thought a little deeper about my “grass is always greener” theory.

Part of what makes my gig as a Suit in Strange Places so much fun is that I can appreciate the coolness of every nook and cranny of this great country of ours.

I mean, I can actually get excited about eating grease-dripping “Texas hots” in some phone booth-sized dive in the suburbs of New York City.

But you know what? That deep sense of appreciation comes naturally when you grew up in one of the single lamest places in America.

Yep. Like every other teenager on the planet, young Suit757 couldn’t wait to break free of his Yankee prison of lameness.

And unlike those poor kids who grew up in Charleston, La Jolla and New Orleans, I haven’t been disappointed a moment since my escape!

On to greener pastures!

Rating: Seriously Thought About Buying Shirt.

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1 comment:

  1. the spicy chili of this incredible place rules ! there's no doubt about it!