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OMG - I'm going on the Munchmobile


larryc
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I spoke with Pete Genovese yesterday. He is getting ready for this summer's Munchmobile series which marks the 10th Anniversary of the Munchmobile. There will be some new things planned, one of which is live coverage! You will be able to watch each Munchmobile trip live on your computer. It will be especially fun to watch the reactions of people who don't know that they will be visited, and to hear comments and opinions of the places that are being reviewed.

I'm looking forward to this season. The kickoff party will be in a few weeks.

John the hot dog guy

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Did he happen to open things up as to how one could get on the Big Dog this summer? :-D

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

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No, but it will probably require writing in and telling why you want to be on the Munchmobile and why you think you would be a good choice. That's the usual procedure. I'll speak to him again soon and find out. I'm sure it will be in the paper shortly as the season is about to start and they have to pick people before the kickoff.

We spoke about the new feature this year as well as the upcoming kickoff party. They will try to make this year special as it marks the Munchmobile's 10th Anniversary.

John the hot dog guy

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Larry, you should put in a good word for the guy who recommended a Munchmobile favorite from last year. ;-)

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

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  • 1 month later...

Has anyone from here been picked? If you applied, you would know by now. This year you had to send in a music video that contained Munchmobile, Big Dog, and some other words. You can view some of them here: http://videos.nj.com/cgi-bin/mte/mt-search...le&blog_id=3232

They're quite entertaining. As mentioned earlier this year you can view the outings live on your computer. I'll be going on an outing to be a guinea pig. It's sort of a test run to make sure all of the video equipment will be working. There will be a regular weekly outing that will review a different food or food type. Then there will be a special team that will just review pizza. Similar to the S.W.A.T. Team 2 years ago that reviewed 87 hot dog establishments.

The Kickoff will be Thursday, May 15th. The munchers will be introduced, and there will be entertainment and of course hot dogs.

John the hot dog guy

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Well, actually, they had the standard "tell us why you should be on the Munchmobile" way of entering, and yours truly seems to have charmed the Powers that Be. I'm on the Big Dog this year. :-D

I don't know much more than that, but I'll be sure to report on the experience sooner rather than later.

Thanks for any Gulleteers who managed to tweak Mr. Genovese's ear in my favor. ;-)

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

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As mentioned earlier this year you can view the outings live on your computer.

The Kickoff will be Thursday, May 15th. The munchers will be introduced, and there will be entertainment and of course hot dogs.

Will there be a schedule posted and a URL so we can access these live links?

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Well, he didn't say not to tell anyone, but I will be going on the Real Chinese trip on June 28th. I am massively excited; that was my first choice. :-D

I'll spread whatever word I can that isn't protected for publishing or anything like that, but hell, this is so exciting!

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

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  • 1 month later...
Well, he didn't say not to tell anyone, but I will be going on the Real Chinese trip on June 28th.  I am massively excited; that was my first choice.  :-D 

I'll spread whatever word I can that isn't protected for publishing or anything like that, but hell, this is so exciting!

MJP, I just finished reading about your tour online http://www.nj.com/entertainment/dining/ind...obile_real.html

Looks like a good time was had by all -- and in all honesty, I would have probably chickened out on some of those dishes!

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I'll have to post the details at some point. I really honestly didn't go for the tripe, jellyfish, and the tendons (Noodle Chu and Chef 81 respectively)... it was the texture for the first two, especially the tripe (it had a very, very odd mouthfeel and flavor after the first bite) and the tendons were just underflavored. They were nothing but spicy, nothing to round it out or do anything about the texture of the tendon.

I will say this - Chef 81 was my absolute favorite of the trip and had, without a doubt, the very best soup dumplings I have ever had since my first trip to Joe's Shanghai as a kid. The water eel, duck, and noodles were amazing. This is such a wonderful restaurant.

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
MJP, are you (or are any other egulleters) going to the Munchmobile picnic this Sunday?

Heh, sorry for the lateness, but we had pre-existing plans. I'd have gone if I didn't have friends in from out of town. D:

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

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  • 8 months later...

http://www.nj.com/entertainment/dining/ind...le_hotdogs.html

The Munchmobile did hot dogs Saturday. I was a part of this trip. The article will appear on Friday, July 3rd. I'll hold off on my comments (positive and negative) until after the article appears. We will probably hit a few more places soon. Out of the six, 5 were new to me.

John the hot dog guy

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I saw the Munchmobile outside of Holsten's in Bloomfield today. Now I've read that they're combing the state for the best ice cream sundaes today.

All the folks aboard looked super-psyched.

Blessed are those who engage in lively conversation with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called, "Dentists." (anonymous)

Life is too short for bad Caesar Salad. (Me)

Why would you poison yourself by eating a non-organic apple? (HL)

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  • 3 weeks later...

The hot dog trip article was delayed due to the death of Michael Jackson and the need to include the next trip (4th of July backyard cookouts) close to July 4th. It was published Friday. I had a great time sampling hot dogs with the other munchers.

http://www.nj.com/entertainment/dining/ind...new_jersey.html

Edited by John (log)

John the hot dog guy

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My comments on the 6 places that we visited on the hot dog outing.

1) Wally's Hot Diggity Dog. 2 dogs there. Boiled Boars Head all beef natural casing, which is one of the 4 or 5 best all beef dogs I've sampled out of dozens. Not good here. Cold; although that might have been due to them being left out to be photographed. But they were bland as well, This dog (and I had a Boars Head at home 3 weeks ago) lost flavor from either being in the water too long or being old. 2nd dog: Boars Head beef/pork skinless. An average to slightly better than average dog in this style, it was prepared well on the grill and was hot. Would have been better with casing. Decent, if unspectacular dog. Good bun, canned chili. Not a place I would return to.

2) Valentina's. I had to know the brand and convinced the owner to tell me. I promised him I wouldn't reveal it. I had guessed it although he initially said I was wrong. A quality dog, but it was skinless. I did like the flavor, but it was a little greasy and had a slightly sweet taste that distracted from the overall quality of the dog. The roll, which was a potato roll I think from a nearby bakery was too big and bready for this dog. I did not like the chili. This dog would have been better with a casing and a different bun.

3) Geenie's Weenies. A big disappointment. The dog they use, Thumann's natural casing griller, 6 to a lb (not their special deep fryer served at Rutt's, Hiram's, Libby's, and a slew of others) is served a weird way here; griddled, then deep fried. I special ordered mine griddled only. First time I was there (2 weeks after they opened) I had it both ways, so I know what it's like the way they usually serve it. Better griddled. I actually buy the Thumann's griller they use to prepare at home, as it is my favorite beef/pork dog. I grill it and it's great. Here, on both occasions, it wasn't hot enough even after being handed to me right off the griddle. Service is bad here. I gave them the benefit of the doubt the first time since they had just opened, but the service was still bad, even with them knowing who we were. For whatever reason, they couldn't comprehend "mustard on the whole dog, chili on half". Both times they got my order wrong. Too bad because I really wanted to like this place. I like the dog they use and their prices are very reasonable. The chili was very good the first time, but they changed it, and for the worse. Bottom line, they take a great quality dog (at a great price) and prepare it all wrong, serve it less than hot, and screw up your order. I'd rather stay home and make this dog right.

4) Curbside Cafe. 8 to a lb natural casing Hatfield's New York style dog. Not to be confused with Hatfield's regular beef dog (not good), and their beef/pork dog (really bad) and their beef/pork/turkey dog (even worse). This dog is made to compete with Best and Sabrett and only sold in our area, not PA where it's made, and where they like milder pork based dogs. A very good dog, beefy, spicy, and smokey with a good snap and good tight casing. Prepared perfectly in water, this dog was hot, fresh, and tasty. Good chili. In my opinion, the best dog and chili of the day.

5) RT's Dawghouse. 8 to a lb Thumann's natural casing beef/pork deep fryer. Used at many places that serve a deep fried dog (Rutt's, Hiram's, Libby's, Johnny & Hanges, etc.) Many places don't leave the dog in the oil long enough. This place does. A good, but mild dog, this one is usually served with a chili or other condiment (Rutt's relish). A decent dog with a decent homemade chili. Ok place that I would return to if I'm in the area. Other places similar that are much closer. RT's Doghouse is good for what it is. Excellent fries.

6) Mazzi Dogz. Same exact dog as Curbside Cafe. See above. Prepared the same way (dirty water style) but with a mixture of water, beer, and some other things. Vinny the owner doesn't remember telling me this on the phone a few weeks ago and thought one of his employee told me. The beer and other ingredients that the dogs were heated in didn't make a difference. These things are overrated and I would never waste a perfectly good beer. Tough choosing betwen here and Curbside Cafe as top dog. My dog was prepared well, was hot and tasted good. Chili was good too and similar to Curbside's. I think I would give the nod to Curbside ever so slightly regarding the dog and chili. One thing I didn't like about Mazzi Dogz. I ask a lot of questions and one was "how long do you leave the dogs in the liquid if it's slow and there aren't many customers?" I was told up to 4 hours! This is a recipe for disaster! Remember Petrides? Bland and flavorless due to too much time in the water. Vinny thinks that the tough casing will prevent the dogs from losing flavor. This is not so. I happen to be a scientist as well, so I know. We were lucky that our dogs were not sitting in the water too long. I also saw dogs in the refrigerator that were exposed to air and risk being dried out. Curbside Grill doesn't leave the dogs in the water too long (I asked), so I'm sure they will be consistently good. Which is why I would go here rather than Mazzi Dogs if I was in the mood for this particular Hatfield dog.

Compared to all places I've been to, I would consider Wally's to be mediocre, Valentina's to be run of the mill. Decent, but skinless dog, wrong roll. Geenies as ruining a good dog with bad preparation and service (what is so hard about mustard on the whole dog, chili on half?), RT's Dawghouse as being solid if unspectactular, and Curbside Cafe and Mazzi's as serving very good, above average dogs, though I see the possibilty of getting a bad dog from Mazzi's. I would consider some places I've been to as being better than these two simply because I may like the brand and method of preparation a little better. Jerry's, Boulevard Drinks, Bubba's, Jimmy Buff's (footlong), Papaya King, Frankly Burgers all serve, in my opinion, a better beef dog.

Though I didn't have an Italian Hot Dog, I did see and/or ask about them. I wouldn't recommend any of them because they either use the wrong type of dog or prepare it wrong.

John the hot dog guy

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