Tag Archives: hot dogs

Yummy sausage full of nitrates and unknown meat. Best soaked and/or cooked in beer and served with chili and onions.

Stan Kasten surely approves: Nats switching to same hot dog vendor as Phillies

O NOZZZZ! The Washington Nationals are apparently switching to the same hot dogs as the Philadelphia Phillies. TAKE BACK THE PARK HAS PHAILED!1!!!!1 Stan Kasten must have done it before he quit. Why didn’t you stop it Andy Feffer?! Selling Phillies hot dogs isn’t NATITUDE1!!!!!1

OPENING DAY 2005: Phillie Phanatic fires Hatfield hot dogs at spectators, few injuries

OPENING DAY 2005: Phillie Phanatic fires Hatfield hot dogs at spectators, few injuires

Based on the newly released 2013 Nats promotional schedule, it looks like the Nationals Park will be selling a different brand of hot dogs this coming season, Hatfield. Way back in 2005 when I went to the very first modern Nats game ever up in Philly, I had a Hatfield hot dog and enjoy it. Plus, there was a hot dog shaped cannon on a cart that the Phillie Phanatic used to fire freebies to/at the crowd.

Is 2013 the last season for mock outrage about the Phillies? Or am I behind the times? Either way, I’ll skip the hot dog and have a Ben’s Chili Bowl half-smoke anyway.

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Nationals Park Media Day: Victory Knot is not so much a pretzel, but a dare

Victory knot
WASHINGTON, D.C. — This gourmet sea salt covered pretzel is one of the new food items previewed at Nationals Park media day yesterday. It comes in at two pounds and comes with several spreads, like beer cheese which is quite good, and an Orwellian nickname. I imagine there will be several bets placed on whether someone can eat the whole thing. Too bad they couldn’t have made it a curly W.

Other things learned from media day:

Starting with game 2, season ticketholders will have their own gate behind center field, complete with red carpet.

The team is sponsoring Smiles for Haiti with drop-off points for toothbrushes

The new Presidents Race video is pretty funny

The Red Porch restaurant has been expanded into the seats a little bit. You can sit there for up to 90 minutes.

The PNC Diamond Club has undergone a $2 million renovation. It looks great and I think it is more open than previously, but they removed the box score from game 7 of the 1924 World Series. Clint Khoury narrated a video describing the renovations. It is nice and all, if anybody wants to treat, I’m in. The bourbon selection is pretty good too.

There is a health food cart on the third base lower concourse this year. It will have wraps and yogurt/granola parfaits among other things. Section 110.

The Miller Light Scoreboard Walk now has chairs and is going for a “South Beach” feeling. Now, I’ve never been to South Beach, so um, I’ll just take their word. They also have corn hole, ring toss and other things that I’d prefer not be called interactive games. They say it’ll be a hot spot for the 21-34 set. I guess I better take advantage of it now. Thursday – Saturday nights are party nights with the gates opening 2.5 hours early and some $5 beers.

Chicken and waffles at Change Up Chicken in 130 — the syrup has a bit of cayenne in it which is tasty.

Taste of the Majors is now foot long hot dogs for each team in the NL East, i.e. Mets dog has sauerkraut.

Triple Play Grill in center field will have shrimp po boys and foot long fish dogs (aka fried cod). I’d probably eat that tomorrow if there was a game I was attending.

The busloads of Phillies fans will probably give us a hard time about Steak of the Union, but they can’t agree between Pat’s, Geno’s or Jim’s either.

Five Guys, Ben’s Chili Bowl and Hard Times Cafe are all back this season. I think Gifford’s Ice Cream may be gone though.

Thanks to Lisa Pagano of Nats PR for the invitation.
[flickr : Nationals Park Media Day/slideshow]

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Review: Yocco’s

yoccos1
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — For several years now, I’ve been wanting to try Yocco’s The Hot Dog King on the way back from my annual ski trip in the Poconos. Yocco’s goes back to 1922 and is perhaps the best known Lehigh Valley eatery. We stopped by the location near Lehigh Valley International Airport, just off of the Airport Road exit of US 22-Lehigh Valley Thruway (or the Double-Duece according to my friend Tom).

Going in, I had heard mixed reviews of Yocco’s. Tom said “really, Yocco’s?” while another acquaintance gave it the thumbs up. Tom’s contention was that Yocco’s wasn’t bad, but nothing special. After eating there, I have to agree with Tom.

yoccos2

My wife and I each ordered two hot dogs each with chili sauce, onions and mustard. She also added cheese; Kraft singles or something similar that is put in the bottom of the roll. The franks are Hatfield, a tasty brand that are the official hot dog of Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. Ours were not very fresh though, having sat on the cooler side of the stove for an indeterminate amount of time. The chili sauce was fairly tasty, but not very hearty and overall nothing special. One cannot expect much for $1.24 each I suppose. I also ordered the crinkle cut french fries which were fine, but nothing special. Mrs. T’s pierogies are also available as a side, but we did not order them.

Yocco’s is so named because the indigenous Pennsylvania Dutch population had trouble pronouncing Iacocca, the family who opened the restaurant and runs it to this day. Yes, it is the same family as former Chrysler chairman and Snoop Dog pal Lee Iacocca — he’s the nephew of the founder. Know run by a fourth Iacocca generation Yocco’s has six locations. They also have a great “hot dog king” logo that looks like the kind of sticker a pre-teen’s skateboard might have on it.

Yocco’s is cheap, decent and the backstory is good, but nothing really special. I may stop a Yocco’s again some time if I’m in the Lehigh Valley, but I am not going out of my way to do it.

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Grading Nationals Park

In 2003, ESPN Page 2 conducted an unscientific survey of all the ballparks in the major leagues. I used the same criteria to evaluate RFK Stadium in 2005 and then again after it was “re-opened” by the Lerner group when they bought the team in 2006. After three visits to the new Nationals Park, I have used those same metrics to see how it fares:

1. Access:
One Metro line stops within a block of the main entrance. Parking is scarcer than RFK, but available online and from one I have seen, readily available. There is also free parking at RFK with a shuttle to the game. All reports indicate that each of these options performs well. For me, a Metro rider, it takes me less time than traveling to RFK. 4

2. Exterior architecture:

The stadium isn’t the same brick template as almost every other new park. It blends in with the federal architecture fairly well, but doesn’t wow factor of the very best parks. The Capitol dome and Washington Monument are visible from many seats, but an office building, ironically developed by the team ownership before the ballpark site was selected, eliminates the view from many seats. Without that hindrance, there would be another point in this rating. 4

3. Interior architecture:

The blue seats are a nice departure from the green that almost every ballpark built in the last twenty years. I’m not sure about the two red features, the press box and “red porch” area, but it isn’t horrible. The structural steel is painted gray, which is kind of bland. If that were a different color, like blue or red, the park would look better.

The concourses are sufficiently wide, though getting between some parts of the stadium is difficult and requires changing levels.3.5

4. Ticket prices and availability:
Tickets are readily available. They cost more than RFK, but some of the cheapest seats have the best capitol dome views. 3.5

5. Seat comfort:
Blue plastic seats are better than yellow wooden ones. They are aimed the right direction too. Having cupholders is also a welcome change. 4.5

6. Quality of hot dogs:
The Gwantley hot dogs are tasty, but not memorable. They don’t give me heartburn like the RFK dogs did though. I prefer the half-smokes anyway. 4

7. Quality/selection of concession-stand fare:
This is one of the best parts about Nationals Park, the food. Many local/regional vendors have set up shop. Ben’s Chili Bowl half-smokes are available just about anywhere you can buy hot dogs. Five Guys has a stand, as does Hard Times Cafe and Red Hot and Blue. Gifford’s, a local chain, is the ice cream vendor. The time spent in line still leaves something to be desired, so I am docking a point.4

8. Signature concession item:
Ben’s Chili Bowl half-smokes! Philly has cheesesteaks, D.C. has half-smokes. You can get them anywhere in the park too. I haven not tried the Curly W pretzels yet, but I get the feeling they could be executed a little better. 5

9. Beer:
The beer situation is actually a step back from RFK. Good luck trying to find something other than a macrobrew without a lot of hunting. 2.5

10. Bathrooms:

There are more of them, but they are not well designed for traffic flow. I asked a few women how the are and they respnded that they had improved, but one suggested that changing tables should be in the regular bathrooms and not just the family bathrooms.3.5

11. Scoreboard:
The HD Screen is huge with clear pictures of the game, but the operation leaves something to be desired at times. This really should be a 5, but early season problems knocks off 1/2 a point. 4.5

12. Quality of public address system:
A p.a. you can understand? How unlike RFK Stadium. They don’t overdue the loud music like other sporting events though, something I did not expect. 4.5

13. Fun stuff to do besides the game:
There is a plenty to do — video games, Build-A-Bear, speed pitch, playground, etc. I’m not there for that though. 4

14. Price/selection of baseball souvenirs:
Expensive, but more expansive than RFK. Had I been able to find a newborn onesie, this would have been a 4.5. 4

15. Friendliness/helpfulness of usher stuff:
There is a concerted effort not to be like the ushers in RFK. 4

16. Trading-up factor:
New park and higher prices means trading up is harder, but also less necessary. 3

17. Knowledge of local fans:
Anybody at a Nats game the last few years has been a true fan. 4

18. Seventh-inning stretch:
The Nats Pack leads in the singing of Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Instead of playing “Heart” from Damn Yankees, they play Otis Day & The Knights Shout, a poor decision that costs a point. Chuck Brown’s “Bustin’ Loose” for home runs adds a token point. 3

19. Pre-and-postgame bar-and-restaurant scene:
There is none whatsoever, but that will change in the next couple of years in a big way. 1

20. Wild card: Racing presidents adds 4 points, one for each. The commitment to find local/regional vendors for food adds another 5. Getting the park built on schedule adds 1. Trying to do something different with the design adds 1.

TOTAL POINTS: 81.5

That is a 10.5 upgrade from 2005 RFK Stadium, tying it with Fenway Park in Boston and Safeco Field in Seattle. Within a few years, the grade should improve with the massive redevelopment of the neighborhood, statues of D.C. baseball greats around the ballpark perimeter, docks on the Anacostia River for water taxis and other boaters. Minor changes like beer selection can easily add a few points too. The park could max out close to 90 points if 20 M Street S.E. (a building ironically developed by the owners of the team) is knocked down, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

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Nationals Park information

I am going to aggregate all of the evergreen Nationals Park information I can find right here. I will be updating this as necessary.

INSIDE NATIONALS PARK

Brief notes:

  • Bottles of water up to 1 liter are permitted
  • Small soft-sided coolers are permitted
  • Single serving packaged food from outside the ballpark is permitted

    Gate Times at Nationals Park

    Nationals Park A-Z Guide

    General Ticket Information

    Seating and Pricing Diagram

    HOW TO GET TO NATIONALS PARK

    Hints

    Travel TipsThe Post

  • Don’t drive to the actual ballpark neighborhood unless you have already secured a parking pass.
  • You can park for free at RFK Stadium and take the Nats Express shuttle to Nationals Park.
  • There are racks for 250 bicycles.
  • Capitol South Metro is not too far away if you are coming from Blue/Orange lines.

    Directions to Nationals Park

    Way to Go – Interactive Map

    A Guide to Nationals ParkThe Post

    Go Metro! Go Nationals! Take Metro to Nationals Park.

    NATIONALS PARK MEDIA COVERAGE

    Nationals Park: Home (At Last)The Wash. Times

    Nationals Park: The Opening – WTOP

    Welcome to Nationals Park – WRC

    Washington Nationals: The Inaugural Season 2008

    Baseball’s newest field of green

    NATIONALS PARK’S NEIGHBORHOOD

    There is not much there yet except for construction sites. That will by next season and improve annually.

    JDLand.com Near Southeast DC Redevelopment

    Q&A: Jacqueline Dupree

    EATING AT NATIONALS PARK

    Single serving packaged food from outside the ballpark is permitted.

    There are a variety of restaurants including Ben’s Chili Bowl, Hard Times Cafe, Five Guys (though maybe not on Opening Night), Red, Hot & Blue, Boardwalk Fries, Gifford’s, Cantina Marina, La Piccola Gelateria, Mayorga Coffee, Noah’s Pretzels, Kosher Sports, Krazee Ice. The hot dogs sold in the stands will Gwaltney. Coca-Cola products will be sold.

    There are very few options in the ballpark vicinity. Barracks Row (8th Street SE near Eastern Market) is marketing itself to the ballpark crowd.

    I will update this as I get new information.

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  • Rating area chili dogs

    There are only a few hours left in National Hot Dog Month 2007, so I thought I would finally get around to comparing Washington D.C. area chili dogs. I think I alluded to this post as far back as last fall, but it was only recently that I got around to visiting all the establishments I intended to profile.

    For the purposes of comparison, I ordered the same thing at each of these places, a chili dog with onions.

    Ben’s Chili Bowl – $3.45
    For nearly 50 years this hole in the wall has served D.C.’s U Street, surviving the 1968 riots and the Green Line construction. Bill Cosby makes it a point to stop here when he is in town. Politicians make Ben’s a regular campaign stop too.

    The frankfurter probably comes in at about 1/4 lb. and is served on a steamed roll with Cincinnati style chili which is spicy and saucy, but not terribly meaty. It has more kick than your average store-brand dog. I enjoy them here, but find that the roll tends to get soggy and I’m not big on Cincy chilly, which works better on a half-smoke.

    Other notes: The fries are generally tasteless and limp. The dining area can get awfully humid. The location is great though, just across the street from the U Street Metro. Its worth the trip to see an old school District institution and to get a half-smoke, but not so much the chili dog.

    Vienna Inn – under $2
    Since 1960 The Vienna Inn has been serving chili dogs and cold, frosty draft Budweiser. I have been going there for years.

    A chili dog at the Inn goes for a mere $1.50 or $1.75, I cannot remember specifically. They are so cheap because the dogs are really small, barely the length of the bun. The quality of the dog isn’t super, but it is tasty in part because it is cooked in Bud. The chili is spicy with finely ground beef. It isn’t too saucy, so there is meat in every bite. The dogs go down easy, so it isn’t unheard of to eat several of them in a sitting.

    Other notes: The original owner, the late Mike Abraham, called The Vienna Inn just a “crummy beer joint” and in a lot of ways he was right. Since the place changed hands the windows and doors have been upgraded (probably brought up to code) and the waitresses are not nearly as surly. The service is still not fantastic, but that is part of the experience. The fries are shoestring with spices on them and are quite good.

    Hard Times Cafe – $6.79
    A local chain of chili joints with locations in Old Town, Clarendon, and elswhere. They have been around as far back as I can remember.

    Of all the places surveyed, Hard Times has the highest quality ingredients. The all beef dogs are big at 1/4 lb. and they have Texas chili. There is a Cincinnati style as well.

    Other notes: Tasty fries come with a chili dog. The interior of the Old Town location is rustic looking with lots of wood, an appropriate ambiance for a chili joint.

    Weenie Beanie (no Web site) – around $2
    Weenie Beanie was once a local chain, but only one remains.

    I finally hit Weenie Beanie, a tiny little store at the end of the W&OD trail in Shirlington recently. The dogs are normal sized and cooked split before being filled with chili and onions. This works well as it really lets the different ingredients combine while you are eating. The chili isn’t very meaty though and the serving wouldn’t be called generous, but it is still tasty.

    Other notes: One of the tracks on Foo Fighters first album is named “Weenie Beanie,” allegedly a tribute to this tiny take-out place. There is a day labor site right next to Weenie Beanie. Half-smokes are also popular, but I haven’t tried one there yet.

    It is tough to decide between the Vienna Inn and Hard Times for my favorite. While Hard Times is higher quality, the Vienna Inn has a sentimental advantages. I would put Weenie Beanie over Ben’s because I am not very enthusiastic about Cincinnati chili.

    Someday, I’ll do a similar entry about half-smokes.

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    A look at hot dogs

    Hot Dogs With BiteThe Post
    There was a Sunday Source feature on local hot dog joints this past week with commentary from the president of National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. I’ve been to to two of the featured; Hard Times Cafe and The Vienna Inn (as recently as Sunday). I haven’t been to Shirlington’s Weenie Beenie though and I think before the month is out, I’ll have to make a stop. After that, I’ll finally compare those three places and Ben’s Chili Bowl to determine who makes the best chili dog in BeltwayLand.

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