Sandwich 37: Crif Dogs
I wish I could say that I was the man who first devised the argument that a hot dog could, in fact, be a sandwich. Sadly, Jeb Lund beat me to the punch in July of this year, crafting what exists as one of the finest discourses I've read on sandwiches and being American in general. Seriously, read it here.
For these reasons, I will not make the sandwich-hot-dog argument here. I will not discuss the implications of the open-faced sandwich; whether it needs to be composed of two separate pieces of bread to qualify as a sandwich and, if not, if things like burritos and calzones are then indeed sandwiches, and furthermore, if breaded chicken would technically qualify as a sandwich in this case. No, you will not see these arguments here. Such things are far too complicated and strange and sexy for me.
I will simply say this. I recently stopped by Crif Dogs and sampled their wieners. If those mouth-watering hot dogs are not, indeed, sandwiches, if I'm not right about that, then I must be wrong about every damn thing in this crazy, mixed-up world.
Crif Dogs (named after the time co-founder, Brian Shebairo, tried to say the name of the other co-founder, Chris Antista, with a mouthful of hot dog) is a New York institution and hot dog haven. Their spot in Williamsburg has ancient arcade games for tables and display cases featuring the Star Wars action figures of my youth. In short, it's a great place to wait in line. Even with no line, though, hot dogs take over five minutes to prepare, which means they're either really fresh or really lazy, though I'd like to believe the former.
But back to the sandwich argument. The beautiful thing about "NYC's #1 wieners" is that they are basically sandwiches that happen to have hot dogs in them. Smell me on this for a second. For instance, their Tsunami dog, which is wrapped in bacon and slathered with teriyaki, pineapple, and green onion, sounds like a wild and original sandwich until you release it's a hot dog. Or perhaps their Philly Tubesteak (perhaps the greatest name ever), an all beef dog dripping with cheese whiz and sauteed onions. Tell me how, how these could possibly fail to qualify as sandwiches.
My choice wieners were the Spicy Red Neck and the Little Ma. The first, a spicy minx of a dog, piled on with chili, slaw, and jalapenos. And of course, it's wrapped in bacon.
However, in terms of utter absurdity and deliciousness, the Little Ma is the true champion. A bacon wrapped dog, with (get this) peanut butter, a pickled cucumber, and crushed potato chips. It's probably the best hot dog I've had in my life.
If I still have any credibility after that statement, you are an open-minded cat and I applaud you. And if there was ever a dog to try, it's this. It wins for being tantalizing, sure, but more so, for being nostalgic to my childhood for no reason at all and manipulating my taste buds to fire off in bizarre and wonderful combinations. My nuerons went bananas for this dog and yours will too.
I went sober, but I can imagine after about thirty or forty beers, this place would be the closest thing on earth to heaven. Check it out, as soon as you can, and get weird with some wieners.