Things I Love About New York: Hot Dogs
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.