by Terrance Mc Arthur
Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here!
Baseball, fairs, barbecues…Homes of the Hot Dog.
One of the great American comfort foods, I loved those frankfurters and wieners nestled in their buns, squiggles of mustard and ketchup making racing stripes along the meat. Today, the Great Food Search seeks hot dogs in the wilds of…Fresno?
The Jones Brothers hot dog cart is a Fresno fixture Monday through Thursday in front of the California State offices on O St. at Mariposa, across the street from the Central Library. Downtown workers line up for Anthony’s no-frills franks and Polish Sausages. A combo of hot dog, chips, and drink is only $3.50, and it has that down-home, small-town feel. You can add mustard, ketchup, onions, and pickle relish, and some spicy sriracha sauce, but it’s a basic dog, pure and simple. Thursday’s fare includes a tender tri-tip sandwich that attracts lots of customers. Live music punctuates the tri-tip day, replacing the smooth jazz recordings that are heard Monday through Wednesday. Eatin’ on Eaton is a downtown congregating of food trucks and trailers each Friday. That’s where I discovered Dapper Dogs. The dogs are more expensive ($8.25-$8.75, plus $1 for a hot link or veggie dog upgrade), but what you get is amazingly worth the price. The Blue Voodoo piles on a bleu cheese slaw that opens your sinuses, bacon, tomatoes, and their Black Magic Spice that defies classification. The biggest surprise on the menu is The Morning After, a breakfast dog nestled in a toasted bun, nestled on a bed of delicately crispy hash browns, snuggled under a fried egg and bacon, with a coating of just-made hollandaise. This is food truck fare, so search for it. Frequent sightings: Enzo’s Table on weekends, Gazebo Gardens, and the Eaton Plaza Friday round-up. Check them out on Facebook.
When I was younger, hot dogs were spelled Der Wienerschnitzel. In 1977, they lost the “Der” (which was actually incorrect German), but Die Wienerschnitzel sounds like a messy battle cry, so it’s just Wienerschnitzel—Clovis Ave. and Tulare St. The old favorites—Mustard Dog, Kraut Dog, and the Relish Dog—are still there, but they have some intimidating new friends. The Bacon Ranch Chili Cheese Dog is a glorious, messy, fork-needing ode to gluttony, and it cries out for the Friday special, a Root Beer Float.
While writing this article, I discovered that I had featured Hot Dogs in the April 2015 Great Food Search. A few tasties from that article deserve mention.
Richie’s Pizza & Hot Dogs, 844 E. Olive Ave., in the Tower District of Fresno, is home to the hybrid Pizza Dog, with pepperoni, cheese, and sauce atop a frank. The Chuck Wagon in Sanger (Academy and Annadale Aves.) has a Chili Cheese Dog that is massive and requires a pile of napkins.
My go-to, comfort dog is Jones Brothers, but my let’s-go-crazy dog is Blue Voodoo from Dapper Dogs.
By the way, let me endorse a book for reading while waiting for a hot dog. The Hallo-wiener by Dav (Captain Underpants) Pilkey is about a teased Dachshund with an embarrassing Halloween costume and how he becomes a hero. It’s silly fun, and great as a read-aloud experience.