I got a kick out of this. Just imagine Ripert’s reaction had he noticed the 250-pack tubs of MREs that are often available, or his response to the 6-person inflatable pool party raft (complete with cupholders) that forms a key component of the summer impulse buy aisle.
I guess I can add food blogging to the list of digital things that I fail at, along with managing fantasy basketball teams through an entire season and keeping a tumblr page going for more than a few weeks. Still, every now and then I get the urge to hold forth about things I like or post a photo of something delicious. A good example of the latter is these deep-fried green chilis from Sri Ganesh’s in Jersey City. I can assure you that as good as they look, they tasted even better.
Looking at the Village Voice’s hot dog round-up, I was reminded that I never posted this photo from last September’s Max’s vs Windmill taste test. The Windmill dog was delicious, but I still give Max’s the edge. A bit more snap (they definitely griddle until well done), and I can’t get enough of that hot relish. Sadly no photo of the latter, but enjoy gazing at the Windmill’s offering in all its glory.
Max’s, 24 Matilda Terrace, Long Branch NJ
The Windmill, 586 Ocean Boulevard, Long Branch NJ (multiple locations)
Here is where memory fails me. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the place we went to (also in Union) for Italian hot dogs. I think I repressed it, actually, so grossed out was I by these monsters. As you can see, they’re something else. I don’t know who came up with the idea to stuff a quarter of a ciabatta with hot dogs, griddled peppers and onions, and about a pound of fried potato slices, but he or she was a real sicko. The fact that the only other customers aside from us were morbidly obese did nothing to alter my judgment. Though I felt bad for wasting food, most of mine ended up in the bin.
Mystery Italian hot dog joint (Charlie’s?), Union NJ
Our next stop was the Galloping Hill Grill in Union. They get the onion ring award, plus they have birch beer (!), but the dogs themselves were a bit bland and served on ridiculously thick, puffy rolls. Normally I’d welcome some good, chewy bread, but when you’re trying to eat at as many different places as possible, stomach space is not to be wasted lightly.
Galloping Hill Grill, 325 Chestnut Street, Union NJ
Wow. I can’t believe I forgot to post this. Better late than never, I suppose. To bring you up to speed: We went out to Jersey one afternoon and ate a bunch of hot dogs. Not as much as we would have liked, but enough to make us thoroughly sick of them at the conclusion of the event. The hands-down winner (in my opinion) was Jersey City’s Boulevard Drinks, a tiny old-school joint. The dogs are the small, very snappy kind that I love, and they have some killer homemade chili (thin, spicy, and vinegary) that’s not greasy or gunky. Above you see the excellent facade and a bit of one of Al’s dogs. Next up: The Galloping Hill Grill.
Boulevard Drinks, 48 Journal Square, Jersey City, NJ 07306
This was how we ended up celebrating the end of 2008. We modified a Nigel Slater recipe, creating a marinade of honey, fish sauce, kecap, star anise, soy sauce, sugar, and Sichuan peppercorns. The ribs went into the oven for 3 hours or so, and they came out pretty darn well. Nowhere near as good as some properly smoked meat, though! Ah well. Summer’s coming soon enough (or so I tell myself).