Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sneaky's by the Brook

I had spent the better part of the day working with a friend on a project and left his office around 2:00 ready to eat. The nearest hot dog place was Sneaky Pete's in Mountain Brook Village so that became my destination.

The old-timers may remember Britling's cafeterias in Birmingham. Britlings was a chain in Birmingham and other cities. Many years ago there was a Britling's Cafeteria located very near the location of this Sneaky Pete's which they labeled "Britling's by the Brook". So in my strange mental gymnastics this Sneaky Pete's has become "Sneaky's by the Brook".

Let's get on with the visit. This Sneaky Pete's doesn't appear to be owner operated but has always served good hot dogs. I've been there before on several occasions. I'm not a "Brookie" but pass through there often. They do have the recipe down pat. The presentation leaves a little to be desired but after all, they are just hot dogs. I ordered my usual order for an "official visit"; a hot dog, chili cheese dog, chips and drink. I was quickly served and went to one of the many less than clean tables to eat. I immediately noticed that the toppings on the chili cheese dog were a little skewed toward one end. I remedied this using a chip and started eating. When their hot dogs are done right they are good, and these were. My only complaint would be that I prefer real 100% cheese rather than "nacho cheese" (yellow sticky melted cheese flavored food product).

Eating at Sneaky's by the Brook is an interesting experience, somewhat like eating at Pete's Famous. You will see a real cross section of society stopping in for a quick dog. Not everybody will admit it but hot dogs have an appeal that crosses all kinds of boundaries. Actually I have noticed how easily conversations can start up between customers in a hot dog place. This has happened for us numerous times.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Returning to Yaya's and Full Moon

Lately we have revisited a few places we have already written about. One day when Robert called me and said he wanted to go back to YaYa's I offered no argument what so ever. If you missed Yaya's take a look at the original posting Here.

YaYa's still serves up one of the most unique "samiches" you will find. Their Q-Dog is a hot dog with kraut topped with enough bar-BQ to make a decent sandwich itself, finished off with their unique sauce. All this served by Mr. Personality who loves his business and his customers.

The day we revisited YaYa's was a damp, cold winter day, not the best time to eat outside. Robert had called his friends, the Ackers who own Crossroads Cottage, Home of Forgotten Arts, which is right behind Yaya's. They came out and placed an order and we all went into their shop for a sit down visit and lunch. This was the perfect way to deal with the "dining room" at YaYa's which is a picnic table under an umbrella. Of course Mr. YaYa offered to dry it off for us and make us as comfortable as possible which was tempting but we opted for the great indoors.

During this visit I asked about his sauce which prompted quite a discussion. He even gave me his recipe along with the comment; "Bar-BQ guys aren't supposed to tell their recipes, are they?" Well his recipe is safe with me. I'll never tell or even make it. It calls for ingredients which must be purchased in very large quantities making it impractical to make for yourself.

Another Revisit:

I like the unusual hot dogs so I recently went back to Full Moon to pick up some "moon dogs". Read about the original visit here.
Yes, they do serve great ribs but the moon dog is just as good. On this visit I took the dogs back to the office where a friend and I sat down and devoured them together. He is also a hot dog lover but had never had a moon dog before. He has now found a new and memorable dog to have every now and then. I'm sure I'll be having more!

And Another Revisit:

One Saturday my wife and I found ourselves close to Sammy's Old Fashioned Hot Dogs and I was able to convince her to eat lunch there. Read my original post here. During these revisits sometime we try something new since Robert and I usually stick to a "standard" order for comparison purposes. This time I went right for the dog I originally called their "special dog". I came to discover when I ordered it that what I got was a blank stare from the teenage guy manning the counter on Saturday. They call this dog a "beef dog". It's a hot dog topped with their hot beef concoction. Other hot dog stands call a similar product a "special" but I offer no argument in giving their dog a different name. It is so much better than the usual "special" it deserves a name of it's own.

My wife had the "beef on a bun" sandwich which is basically the same hot beef that I had on my dog, but served on a hamburger bun. It is something like a sloppy-Joe, but different. She isn't a big fan of hot dog stand type food but really enjoyed this item. I want to go back now and try one of their legendary hamburgers.

A Couple of Unexpected Hot Dog Pictures
Finally a couple of parting shots. During a recent visit to Nashville I had to stop and take this shot of Houndogs Hot Dogs and Flip Flops. What a combination,. Maybe the flip flops are some food item. I didn't hang around long enough to find out. We had just finished a large breakfast and the weather was cold so hot dogs and flip flops had no appeal. Why were we in Nashville? To go to the Garth Brooks concert, of course. Anyone who knows me was just as surprised as I was to find us there, but it was fun.

And I simply must include this shot of a Christmas gift from Susie. Yes, it's a gummy hot dog. I haven't tried it yet. Maybe I should do an entry just on the gummy hot dog.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Paul's Hot Dogs

The holidays have slowed down the progress of the hot dog tour but we are trying to get back in the saddle. A couple of days ago I counted the places we have visited and found we have visited 28 local hot dog servers as well as 2 not so local. That makes 30. After visiting that many hot dog places some truths seem to be surfacing; more about that later.

This week we visited Paul's Hot Dogs in Trussville. There are two locations to visit, but we opted to visit the location on Chalkville Road. One thing that must be emphasized is that order number 25 is ready and should be picked up. We were treated to numerous notifications of that fact while we were there. Actually, he did finally pick up his presumably cold sandwiches. It seems he was very occupied with his walkie talkie (aka cell phone).

Now about Paul's. This place is a good basic hot dog stand with hot dogs that are predictable offerings in our area. Looking at their menu I see numerous items that don't always appear on the menu such as a "blackened bologna sandwich". Other items are just varieties of selected toppings that can be ordered or excluded. Robert and I took a couple of other companions (Aaron & Susie). Susie proceeded to order a hamburger and fries which she reportedly enjoyed. Of course the hard core hot dog guys ordered various hot dogs. The usual order for comparison sake id a hot dog and chili dog, both all the way. I also added a corn dog just to sample this offering.

I have always liked corn dogs when done right; so seeing one on the menu I couldn't resist. Perhaps I should have resisted because I have definitely had better. Maybe that should be my next quest...the perfect corn dog. Right now the best I have found around here is at Lyric Hot Dogs.

Paul's has a loyal following and was doing a brisk business. The chili on the chili dogs is good and their "special sauce" is also good. The orders take a little longer than at most hot dog places, but their signs say this is so they can serve a quality product. I'm not sure I agree; I've had equally good hot dogs served much faster.

Now regarding my comments above about the truths I am seeing after visiting this many hot dog servers. I have found that hot dog places seem to fall into two categories; predictable/ordinary and unusual. The ones I would call "predictable" are the normal hot dog places. They often have a sauce similar to Sneaky Pete's sauce and their dogs are similar. There are definitely differences as some are better than others but the basic serving has a predictable nature. On the other side are the unusual offerings. I have found that I really like the unusual products. The predictable ones can be very good, but I seem to love the new unexpected dogs I have found. At some point I am going to develop a ranking of sorts. I can see that it must include two basic categories; the predictable and the unexpected.