Friday, July 31, 2009

Martie's Hot Dogs - Keyser, WV

Martie's was our last hot dog stop on the drive from Philadelphia to West Virginia. Located on the struggling main street of Keyser, it's easy to miss because the sign out front is from a frame shop that closed a few months ago. The inside has a counter and stools, filled with old signs and hundreds of hot sauce bottles.

First thing we noticed were the ice cold bottles of beer for $2 a pop. Second thing we noticed was the smoke filled Video Poker lounge in the back room full of dudes in wildlife t-shirts. Definitely a local hang out, there were newspapers and ashtrays everywhere and self service cups of coffee for 50 cents. The proprietress (Martie?) was super friendly, Instantly knew this place was going to be a winner.

The dogs were grilled to order and piled high with spicy chili and creamy slaw. I've read about west virginia's sweet hot dog slaw and figured it couldn't be much different than anything I'd had before, but it was. Also for a near ghost town i was surprised at how fresh everything was. Possibly the best dogs of trip.

Learn more about Martie's and West Virginia hot dogs in general at

Martie's Hot Dogs
96 N Main St
Keyser, WV

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Curtis' Coney Island Famous Weiners

Curtis' Coney Island is in the old mining town of Cumberland, located in the narrowest western part of Maryland right between PA and West Virginia. It's been on Liberty St. since 1918, originally called Coney Island Lunch. George Giatras & his soon to be wife worked at the stand when it first opened. Their son Louis bought the business in 1969 and opened a second restaurant 5 doors down the block, and ran both places for at least 30 years. Lou's son Gino is now running the business at the newer location.

When I saw the lettering on the windows I knew we were in the right place. Amazing. You can see the dudes making the dogs right in the front window. Sit at the counter and watch the game (pittsburgh teams out here) and check out all the old signs & stuff on the walls. There's also booth seating (which was packed) and tons of people coming in for take-out. Super friendly & fast service too. This place isn't going anywhere.

The dogs here are "Coney Island Weiner" style which is pretty much the same as a "Texas Weiner" but without the greek flavors in the sauce. Also the dog was not split - as seems to be the custom in Philly and Central PA - but grilled whole. The actual dogs were super flavorful here. Side of crinkle-cut fries and Cherry Smash soda, awesome. They also do a fried fish tail sandwich and a chocolate rickey which I was informed is "just chocolate milk with ice cubes in it".

Cumberland was a little more "quaint" than Chambersburg but has a ton of amazing old signage and plenty of neck tattoos.
Check out some shots on flickr if you're interested.

Curtis' Coney Island Weiners
35 N Liberty St
Cumberland, MD 21502

Historic Texas Lunch

Last week I spent way too much time researching the Texas Weiner and Texas Lunch phenomenon for my hot dog of the week illustration on serious eats. And noticed there are still a whole bunch of Texas Weiner / Texas Lunch style hot dog restaurants all across Pennsylvania.

So on the way to go camping in West Virginia I decided to do a hot dog tour starting with Historic Texas Lunch in Chambersburg, PA... an amazing half-empty small town that looks like it hasn't changed in 100 years except for the Mexican stores and tacquerias that are filling up vacant storefronts (save that for another trip I guess).

Historic Texas Lunch has been around for 40 years, remodeled in the 80's but still has an amazing diner atmosphere. It wasn't quite what I had expected, the menu was more diner than hot dogs, complete with creamed chip beef on toast, cheesesteaks, chicken croquettes, spaghetti and meatballs. But we came for the hot dogs that were served up in the Pennsylvania Texas Weiner style, split and grilled, covered in greek sauce, mustard and a massive pile of onions.

The dogs were great but the people looked at us like we were from outer space. Definitely a townie spot minus the usual hospitality. Maybe they're just fed up with city folk with cameras treating their hometown diner like a curiosity. Either way the dogs were decent and Chambersburg is an awesome looking town.

Historic Texas Lunch
108 Lincoln Way W (PA Route 30)
Chambersburg, PA 17201

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace

A new addition to the "why the hell isn't there one of these here" department.

Thom Lessner -of awesome paintings & sweatheart fame- designed a killer logo for his sister's new hot dog restaurant in Colombus, Ohio that's filled with his paintings and serves all kinds of hot dogs jammed full of bacon and pulled pork. They also have a full bar stocked with Ohio, Pennsylvania & New York beers as well as root beer floats made with Frotsop root beer from Springfield, Ohio.

This is totally the kind of place I dream about every day... Old school and modern at the same time, everything house made with fresh ingredients, and a big heap of respect for the history of hot dogs and diner style food.

They also seem to have found the perfect balance of over the top greasy delicious food and healthier stuff, including vegetarian versions of all their dogs.

If someone dropped one of these in Philadelphia it would blow all those half-assed faux-retro restaurants out of the water.

Read more at Serious Eats
Check out their site & menu at

Photos courtesy of Harold LaRue and Jen Killius

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oyster House

I admit, I liked the old Sansom St. Oyster bar.It was a little dirty and kind of slow, but the happy hour smelts and 1$ oysters really hit the spot. The decor was beautiful like an old oyster bar should be.

But okay I really really really enjoyed my experience at the new Oyster House. I'm actually really glad it's still an oyster bar, it's nice to be able to go and get oysters somewhere in Philly year round. Whoever is running the show is doing a good job. Super attentive staff that is very informative. The antique oyster plates hanging on the painted brick wall offsets the modern stuff which equals, charming. The oystercracker bowls were all filled to the brim as well as the horseradish containers. The drinks were yummy, and they still have 1$ oyster hour from 5-7 weekdays.

The oysters, awesome, served with vinegar and cocktail sauce. The food, yummy not to fancy but well done. The restaurant also was loud and echoey with conversation, which took getting used to but ended up being really fun and pleasant. Made me feel like I was in a cafeteria/steakhouse, in a good way.

Im going back.

Oyster House
1516 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 567-7683

Friday, July 17, 2009

Texas Weiners

Texas Weiners have nothing to do with Texas and everything to do with New Jersey.

In fact that "chili" you've been eating all these years - especially if you live on the eastern half of the united states - is actually a variation on Greek Bolognese sauce.

Read more at Serious Eats...
And watch this awesome Texas Weiner commercial-

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lunch at Del Posto

32 dollars for 3 courses at Del Posto? Really?

The bread was delicious, especially with a side of nice creamy lard to spread on it. Herb salad & octopus appetizer were decent but not super exciting. Steak was nice and simple, the "roman ribs" were OK but sort of boring. We also split the garganelli bolognese which was incredible. Pasta is definitely the way to go here.

The chocolate torta with sea salt and stratiatella gelato was fantastic. Restaurant dessert more often than not bores the hell out of me- especially on dumbed-down lunch prix fixe menus.

It's sort of strange for the first impression of such a grandiose restaurant to be a cheapo lunch prix fixe. But it's a great deal-
and looking at the full menu you realize it's just a small taste of what goes on. Good enough to want to go back for dinner.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tijuana dog

Latest hot dog painting & post over at Serious Eats. If you missed last week I did a post about Flo's in Maine, and crowned it the country's best hot dog which got a bunch of people angry.

Mexican hot dogs are really, really good and I haven't seen them anywhere in Philly other than SPTR. There's gotta be someone cranking them out of a tacqueria somewhere, or at least there should be.

In Los Angeles they've been shutting down and arresting mexican hot dog vendors, even putting them in jail, because apparently cooking the dog with raw bacon wrapped around it (the bacon gets fully cooked with the dog on the grill) violates health code. Sounds more to me like an excuse to round up mexicans. Watch this video about the controversy featuring Drew Carey.

meat rubs

Going camping in two weeks, pretty psyched to spend 5 days in the woods drinking beer and grilling big pieces of meat. Made a few dry rubs and chili powder today with a mess of toasted chilis, coffee, brown sugar, bunch of other stuff.

The Italian Market Spice Co (not to be confused with the Spice Corner) is the best place for picking up everything from sea salt, smoked paprika, and almost any herb or spice you could think of for super affordable prices. They also have the lowest price on saffron I've seen in the city, and there's always some sweet frank sinatra or motown playing over the speakers.

Don't ever pay $15 for a 1/2 oz of organic free-range lithuanian monk - stroked peppercorns at whole foods ever again.

Italian Market Spice Co
949 S. 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147

Tues - Sat: 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Sun: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm