Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hot Dogs: Part 1

This weekend, we packed up a car a went to my parents house in Connecticut. We drove down on Friday. Saturday after lunch, the wife and I dressed up to go sit in traffic on I-95. When traffic cleared, we made it a wedding. It was at a really nice place called the Branford House. Right on Long Island Sound and Saturday was a beautiful day for a wedding. The band was good, but I have always found wedding song selection weird. For example, when we were at Chris and Sue's wedding, the DJ actually played Run around Sue. Yes the song has the bride's name in it, but it also says she "goes out with every guy." Last nights odd wedding songs included I Will Survive, Staying Alive, and two from Michael Jackson: Billy Jean and Wanna be Starting Something. Maybe Wanna be Starting Something is appropriate, I don't know the lyrics. But Billy Jean is about be accused of fathering a illegitimate child. "The kid is not my son" and congratulations to the happy couple. With the exception of the traffic it and a few odd songs, it was a really nice time.

Sunday morning, with my parents still willing to watch the kids, we went to Trader Joe's and to follow up on something i had seen online. I like Trader Joe's and if one should show up in the Capital District, I'd shop there occasionally. They have some nice things, but I think most of them can be found in another form here already. If one were closer, I would try more of their refrigerated and frozen products. Today's list included dried apricots (for a friend),  almonds, pistachios, juice boxes, grape jelly and one or two more things I am currently blanking on.

And this brings us to our last stop of the morning and a discussion about hot dogs. Hot dogs have been showing up on blogs I follow. And when I think of my dream hot dog, I remember a place that is tragically gone. In Fairfield, Connecticut there used to be a place called Kuhn's Corner. It was a burger and dog joint. It was heaven on earth.  See those cars parked in front of the strip mall? It used to be there. Progress, huh.

Instead of the meat sauce topping found in the Albany area, Kuhn's had a Chili Dog. It wasn't a typical chili dog - which is a hot dog with a bowl of chili dumped on it. They had a secret chili sauce. It sat in a bowl on a hot plate. Simmering for days. All the hot dogs also came with bacon in the bun. So a Kuhn's chili dog was a toasted bun, bacon bits at the bottom of the bun, a hot dog (custom recipe made just for them), chili sauce, and then most people added raw onion. But lets not forget how the hot dog was cooked. The dog was deep fried before going on a well aged griddle to become part of you meal. Yes, deep fried.

The chili sauce, similar to Srirachi sauce, was spicier when at higher temperatures. So ordering it on top of their french fires was an exercise in self abuse. It was delicious, but by the 5th fry, your mouth was on fire with with what can be described as a pleasurable pain. So after reading about other people's hot dogs, I searched for Kuhn's online. Every now and then some place buys the sauce from what I am guessing is the owner's grandson. And during this search, I won the Kuhn's Chili Sauce lottery.

A small shop called Five-O Food Store, ironically located in one of the 3 buildings across the street from the strip mall's parking, sells the sauce on hot dogs. They also sell the sauce by the quart. I couldn't pay for a quart fast enough.

In the past, other places have had it and it was close, but not exactly. I tasted it cold. It tastes like the real deal. There are some old school Kuhn's Corner Style Chili Dogs in my future. I've been smiling since I bought it.



    That sauce reminds me of the above product, which is still available at local grocers (P-chops, Hannafords, etc...). It is basically a vinegar/hot pepper amalgam. This is just based on a visual analysis, along with the lack of meat.

    Anyhow, I am truly happy for you. Finding childhood hot dog bliss is a rare joy which I wholeheartedly understand.


    A better review and description of the Tallarico's Hoagie Spread I mentioned before.

  3. Kuhn's chili is awesome, but so is Charlie's meat sauce. Every time I goto the Albany area I make a side trip down 787 to hit Charlie's. I used to hit Gus' in Watervliet too, but something has changed. I stopped in about 10 years ago and was shocked at how flavorless it was. Did they clean their flattop and lose all of the flavor?

    1. I haven't been to Gus' in years. Probably even a few years before this post. No idea if they changed anything. My favorite version of the area's mini hot dog sauce is the Zippy sauce at Famous Lunch in Troy. Been a while since I've been there too.