hot dogs are now available at Safeway. Hot dog! Like most kids, I was a fan of hot dogs at, say, 10. Somewhere in my teens I lost the craving for them completely. Ball Park, Oscar Meyer, Butterball, Armour, they all became bland and salty. My palate had matured and they simply didn't taste good anymore. C'est la vie, life moves on.
After I moved to NYC, I went to my first Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island. Nathan's Famous sponsors the annual competition, and provides the dogs. Growing up on the west coast, I had only heard of the chain and their dogs in connection to the contest, and had never eaten one. On the 4th of July, I had my chance. I waited in the long line and got my first taste of a hot dog in probably ten years. And... it was delicious.
Smoky, spicy, a little salty and a lot yummy. This was what hot dogs were supposed to taste like! Since then I was hooked. I stopped by Nathan's whenever I was out at Coney Island. I stopped by the Nathan's Famous shops in the city. I even expanded out to Gray's Papaya and variants, like Papaya King and Papaya Dog. NYC is truly a foodie's dream.
Once I moved from the city, Nathan's Famous hot dogs became part of the fondly remembered past, like delicious street schwarma and 24 hour delivery from the corner deli. I figured it was a treat only to be enjoyed on the occasional return trip to NYC... until I saw that green & yellow package on the shelf at Safeway last week. What was this? Nathan's has gone national? Heaven! They even sell them 8 to a package, just like the buns! Could it get any better?
So tonight I'm enjoying a nice summer meal of Nathan's Famous hot dogs. Thrown in the toaster oven on broil for 5-10 minutes and covered in spicy mustard, with a cool beer from the fridge, I'm transported back to those lazy New York summer days at the beach.
Bring on the good ol' days.