Like most people, I can get easily irritated. Right now, I’m boycotting Wendy’s because of the ridiculous commercials which spoof 70’s and 80’s tunes while skinny Wendy (aka Red) dresses up like thw singers and makes out with a pretzel bun. When I posted this on facebook, one of my good friends asked me why I would go to Wendy’s anyway. Good point.
Another thing that bugs me are dog shows. Before I go on, I’m not claiming for a second that my complete annoyance by things like this are normal. I think it’s like a phobia; I have a physical reaction to these types of things. The thought of an arena filled with people who pay to watch others dress up like turn of the century debutantes and walk dogs among fake grass turns my stomach. They give the dogs ridiculous names like Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot (aka: “Sadie”) and make the audience watch as their pooches get dental exams, enemas and other invasive medical procedures. Personally, I’d rather watch a dog chase his tail or stick his nose up another’s ass in a thirty second youtube clip while sitting in my underwear.
Showdogs in San Francisco couldn’t be further from the Westminster Kennel dog show. Suits and ties are replaced by piercings, jeans and tees. Fake grass is replaced with, based on my observations of the some of the staff and clientele, real grass that just might happen to be rolled into a small white paper. Canine conversations are no longer about four-legged friends but about the rest of America’s obesssion…the hotdog. It is estimated that Amercians eat 20 billion hot dogs a year. It is also estimated that there are about 83 million owned dogs in the USA. What isn’t known is how many of the 20 billion hot dogs are eaten by the 83 million dogs in a given year. That said, it makes perfect sense to focus a restaurant on the beloved frank.
The menu at Showdogs is simple. In addition to a small breakfast menu, there are a number of renditions of the American favorite as well as a few classic American sandwiches like the burger and fried chicken. In addition, there are all the words foodies wanna see in a menu including organic, house made,hand dipped and special sauce. My trigger words include “sharp cheddar” and “chili” so I had to try the chili cheese dog ($10). I asked the guy behind the counter what should complement the dog and without hesitation he recommended the onion rings for $5. Along with it, there is a good selection of local brews which, when you drink enough, can almost make a dog show tolerable. In particular , the Hell or High Watermelon from the 21st Amendment brewery was memorable ( I later drank a six-pack with my uncle in Pennsylvania). The food was equally as memorable. I mean, a hot dog and onion rings has boundries regarding creative licence but it still has to be tasty. The think and crunchy onion rings were among the best I’ve had especially when eaten with any of the house made sauces available.
My mom used to boil hot dogs until they split, throw them on a bun and yes, they tasted like lips and assholes. Since then, the hot dog has evolved beyond the ball diamond and street corner cart and have become the focal point of many menus across North America. In fact, a hot dog by Dougie Dog in Vancouver is served topped with Kobe beef and Lobster and soaked in 100 year old Louis XIII cognac has just attained the Guinness nod for the world’s most expensive hot dog with an estimated value of $2300.
Showdogs has embraced the dog and elevated it to a decent meal. The vibe, service and experience was the complete package in this establishment that definitely qualifies as a dive. S0 while skinny Wendy is making out with a pretzel bun while singing an Eric Carmen ballad and people jam into Madison Square Garden wearing their Sunday best to watch dogs walk their owners, I’d rather grab a pint, listen to Pearl Jam in the background and eat a dog instead of watching them.