Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Things I Love About New York: Hot Dogs

New York City sort of runs the gamut, hotdogwise, and it's always pretty good. On the low end, you have Gray's Papaya (this photo taken at 72nd and Broadway, though there are a few others, plus innumerable pretenders with names like Papaya King and Chelsea Papaya, etc.). The "Recession Special," which has been around since the LAST big recession, gives you two hot dogs and a juice drink for $3.50, which is a better deal than the price I paid for two hot dogs and a coke on the Florida State campus in Tallahassee. And the hot dogs really are amazing for what you pay: crisp, with lightly toasted buns, and a flavor that somehow suffuses the entire thing. Not health food by any means, but as guilty pleasures go, it's quite understandable.

On top of this, Gray's Papaya itself has a lot of odd character. Not just because it's selling papaya juice drinks ("great for digestion!" say the signs--there are hand-lettered signs all over the walls, each one as effusive as a cartoon panel), but because they sell "Polite New Yorker" buttons for a dollar each, and--as you can see from this picture--aren't afraid to advocate enthusiastically for things that have nothing to do with hot dogs or papayas. Before the current Obama sign, they were all in favor of Mayor Bloomberg. "Let's vote for a President who takes the subway!" said the sign. With so much character flying around, you almost don't care that there's no place to sit and you're elbow-to-elbow with other people, hovering over a slightly messy, very thin outcropping of a ledge? Almost. It depends on the day.

When you want a classier sort of dog, you can go to F & B, on 23rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. I took my friend Charles here today and he was quite impressed. What you see in the picture is the remains of the "guard dog" (a chicken dog with sauteed mushrooms and onions), and the "great dane" (a pork sausage, with imported pickled cucumbers, ketchup and mustard dressing, and German roasted onions). They're not only pretty large, but absolutely tasty--this is, for my money, the best chicken dog I've ever had. You can also get such delights as the "champion dog" (veal & pork bratwurst topped with home-made sauerkraut and dijon), the "hound dog" (french pork andouille stuffed with aged cheddar cheese and topped with coleslaw), or any of seven veggie dogs, including the "veggie healthy dog", which comes topped with hummus and carrots. So brilliantly simple; why didn't I think of that ever? The dogs will run you $3.50, but that's still not a whole lot, and it's a fun thing to think about later.

By the way, the cup contains shoestring fries and the sauce is the "sweet Thai chili" sauce, though they also offer garlic aioli, blue cheese, honey dijon, horseradish, and tartar sauce. Again--I want to slap my forehead and ask, "Why has no one thought of these simple variations before? Why aren't they widely available outside New York?"

Also, you may see bits of powdered sugar here and there. I had a beignet. It was very good, and only cost 70 cents.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reminds me that I did enjoy that funnel o' fries we got at the Overlook ...

5/31/2008 10:12 PM  

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