I won’t be eating another hot dog anytime soon.
On Saturday, I completed the Connecticut Hot Dog Tour. A group of men, including my husband, organized a tour of 10 famed hot dog joints in the state (a bonus eleventh one was thrown in spontaneously). These guys don’t mess around. They had an official tee-shirt and soundtrack, and we traveled in style on a party bus. And we had hot dogs. Lots of hot dogs.
1. Rawley’s Drive-In, Fairfield
The Order: Works, with “mustard, relish, kraut, and bacon,” $3.00.
The Verdict: Delicious dog, with a good contrast between the tangy kraut and the crunchy bacon. This was a great start to the tour.
2. Super Duper Weenie, Fairfield
The Order: Georgia Redhot, a “¼ lb. spicy Southern sausage with sauerkraut, mustard and our own sweet relish,” $4.25.
The Verdict: This big boy was delicious too. The sausage was split and grilled and served piping hot with excellent toppings. We were on a roll.
People insisted we had to try Danny’s nearby, and it was inserted into our tour.
The Order: Bull Dog, with “spicy chili and fried onions,” $3.95.
The Verdict: I liked this all right at the time, but I soon started worrying about the spicy chili not sitting so well with a long day of half-dogs ahead. The group’s mood seemed to lag on the way to the next stop. The consensus seemed to be that we should not have inserted this extra dog into the tour!
4. Glenwood Drive-In, Hamden
The Order: Hot dog, with mustard and hot relish put on at the counter, $3.95.
The Verdict: This was the winner of the day, an excellent char-broiled dog with a toasted bun and great hot relish. Many people on the tour voted this one the winner.
5. Top Dog, Portland
The Order: Orleans Dog, with “a hot and sweet relish,” $2.70.
The Verdict: My husband, a Portland native, tried to warn the tour against this stop. It was not a favorite. The owners were very sweet and friendly, and you can’t beat the décor, so that almost made it worth a visit.
6. Doogie’s, Newington
The Order: The Doogie Dog, “One of my Best Ever Creations. Caramelized Onions & Dijon Horsey Sauce,” $3.59.
The Verdict: A nicely-charred, delicious dog, and the toppings were a refreshing change after having a lot of spicy chilies and relishes. One member of the tour ordered—and put away—a two-foot dog.
Interlude in the Park
We were all greatly restored by a visit to the lovely Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain and a walk around the pond.
7. Capitol Lunch, New Britain
The Order: Hot dog, with “mustard, onions, sauce,” $1.75.
The Verdict: I liked it, and I remembered it fondly from my college days. The group, though, seemed unnerved by its strangely black sauce. And I didn’t remember it looking like that.
8. Blackie’s, Cheshire
The Order: Hot dog, with corn relish and mustard at the counter, $1.75.
The Verdict: I had been here before and had liked its famous relish. It didn’t disappoint.
9. Frankie’s, Waterbury
The Order: Hot dog, “French with spicy cheddar cheese,” $3.49.
The Verdict: Nice dog, nice sauce. This was a tasty hot dog, and there were a lot more varieties that looked promising. This late in the day, though, people sort of slouched when they saw the size of it.
10. Al’s Hot Dogs, Naugatuck
The Order: Hippo Dog, “cheese, chili, kraut, bacon,” $4.49.
The Verdict: Pretty good, but enough, already. I think this bad boy would have been more appreciated earlier in the day.
11. Merritt Canteen, Bridgeport
The Order: Brutal Dog, “Georgia Red Hot with Chili,” $4.00.
The Verdict: This was so hot, so spicy, such a brutal end to the night. I suspect it was good, but my lips are still burning too much to tell.
End of the Night
This was a great tour with a great group of people. The men had a much tougher time than the women, who were splitting dogs. This end of the night quote by Chris P. summed it up well at the last stop: “Don’t touch me!” On the way home, he explained: “I feel like E.T. at the end of the movie when he was all gray and his heart was fading.”
As for me, I’ll be going vegetarian for a while.
Hot dogs not your thing? Take me to the falafel!
Update: The video