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Fat Guy
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I wish I'd spent more time in Bayside, but we lived further out on LI. Post-college I also lived in Little Neck, but the Scobee Diner was about 90 seconds from my front door, and so often won out over WC.

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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I wish I'd spent more time in Bayside

Another eGullet first.

Macrosan: A hot dog is a sausage, yes it's true. I don't suppose I have to explain to you why sausage is good; you're mostly saying that the hot dog is a bad example of sausage. Well that is of course true of most hot dogs, just as most sausages in general are lousy. But a good hot dog is a good sausage, rather similar to a knackwurst. So before I go on, do you acknowledge the possibility of good knackwurst?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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So before I go on, do you acknowledge the possibility of good knackwurst?

Careful, macrosan! It's a trap!

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I wish I'd spent more time in Bayside

Another eGullet first.

LOL :biggrin:

I guess growing up in suburbia, even Bayside seemed exotic :sad:. Actually, I had some very fun evenings at some of the pubs around Bell. I can't say I'm pining for it now though.

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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Blondie - I've been to the Scobee more times than I can count. Loads of my friends from high school lived near there. Where did you live, inside Patrick's Pub? That stretch of Northern Blvd between Little Neck Road and the city line always had good restaurants. It always had a couple of old school Italians etc. And these days it has La Baraka, that Turkish kabab place that's pretty good, a couple of Japanese and Korean places etc. They get a crowd of diners who live in Great Neck or who are passing by on their way home to the Island.

I was actually in that neighborhood recently (as opposed to just pasing through.) Someone I know held a wine tasting at a place called Il Toscano which is at the Douglaston train station on the LIRR. I took the train out there from the city. It made me feel like a commuter which was strange considering it was a neighborhood I hung out in for my entire adolescence.

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I lived on the same side of the street as the Scobee, a block or so west. You're right about the number of good restaurants along that stretch. Patrick's Pub was great. I really liked living there and may have stayed if not for the roommates from hell.

When I drove through a few days ago I did notice the greater variety. Next time through I'll have to stop, take a look around and try La Baraka.

Small world :smile:

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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I too, confess, to never having had a WC burger. The possibility of consuming steamed hamburgers reminds me too much of what Burger King does to their burgers: flame-broiled/steamed/microwaved and then placed under a heat lamp! No thanks. (I can attest to all of that, having worked at a BK when I was a scrappy teenager. :wink: )

Macrosan, you must have had one too many hot dogs on the gritty streets of New York. You know, the kind sold by those hot dog vendors with boiled sausages. However, there are vendors with grilled hot dogs -- these don't quite come close to Nathan's, but they're an okay substitute until you taste the real thing. Most of the ones with grilled operations use Hebrew National (at least in my experience). Try one the next time you see one, and maybe it will make a convert out of you.

Fat Guy, my experience with knackwurst and bratwurst is colored by having average ones in Milwaukee. By average, I mean, having one and saying to myself -- "these can't possibly be as good or better than those hot dogs in New York". Every year, Milwaukee plays host to GENCON, which is an all-consuming four day extravaganza of a convention of nothing but role-playing games/science fiction and fantasy novels/comic books/Star Trek and all things Star Wars/board and computer games. If you're a true geek like I am, GENCON is heaven on earth. Until recently, the con was held in MECCA, which is Milwaukee's version of the Jacob Javits Center, except that MECCA is about four times as big and connects by skywalk to a mall that's roughly the size of the mall in Paterson, New Jersey (can't remember the name). Now, the con is held inside Milwaukee's newly constructed Midwest Express Convention Center -- MECCA's replacement. The food was notoriously bad then, and hasn't really changed all that much now -- overpriced bratwursts at $2.50 a pop comes to mind. At least, they very rarely tasted like overly large boiled sausages. Most of the time, they were rather characterless.

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Isn't it interesting that everyone on this thread has something to say about burgers, but not a comment about hot dogs. And I'm not surprized. I'm gonna hang around here till someone answers my question about what's the big deal with hot dogs, beyond sarcastic comments about my beloved country's own culinary nonentities.

The American love of the hot dog, as you may have gathered, is not very easy to explain. It's similar to asking us why we like baseball. Many have attempted to explain that too, but it has never been done in 100 words or less. BTW there really is nothing better than a hot dog and a beer while attending a baseball game. There is a certain bit of nostalgia involved. As children, who among us didn't request a hot dog when we went out with our parents (yes, some of us asked for hamburgers)?

It is a quick, easy thing to prepare, so it's convenient--Americans love their convenience. It is also fun, and can be individualized--Americans love their "individuality"--that makes it something special and unique to all of us (I like spicy brown mustard, grilled onions, and kraut). We all have a favorite place that serves up a hot dog that holds a special place in our hearts. Besides, a hot dog is one of the few foods most finicky children raise no opposition to eating. I think that is where our initial connection to the hot dog is made, and it never dies.

Where I grew up, the bratwurst that was king, and still is. In Chicago, polish sausage is bigger in popularity, it's also more flavorful. One of the things that has come up in this thread is mention of quality sausage. This is critical. Vienna Beef makes a variety of sausages and prepared meats. They also make an excellent dog in a variety of ways (synthetic vs. natural casing, etc.). In terms of hot dogs, they are the most widely known in the Midwest, and they do a thriving business. For brats, Usingers is the place to go. Not that you would, your disgust on the matter is duly noted.

Perhaps this is a call for me to open a hot dog emporium in London... :rolleyes:

Plotnicki - I am so impressed by your poetic, loving, lengthy description of the White Castle burger! I have always been disgusted by the little things. You neglected to inform Leslie C that WC burgers are commonly referred to as "SLIDERS" for a very compelling reason. For many WC lovers, that is all part of the attraction, and it leads to my point that our love/fascination/fixation/obsession with hamburgers and hot dogs appeals to something much deeper in us.

Though neither article did a very good job of delving into the reasons behind our connection to hamburgers or hot dogs. A serious discussion of how these things are really tied to memory, emotion (clearly demonstrated by this thread) and a sense of nationalism would have given both articles an added boost that would have made them worthy of the publications in which they appeared.

Macrosan - does that help a little? I hope so. :rolleyes:

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"It is a quick, easy thing to prepare, so it's convenient--Americans love their convenience."

Aurora - White Castle burgers are an amazing bit of American ingenuity. Showing up at WC at 2:30 in the morning and watching them make a new batch can be mezmerizing!

I hate to say it but, it's the walk and chew gum syndrome. Americans like anything that frees up their time. Especially something that makes the lunch break shorter so people have time to make more money, or take care of their househould errands. Why waste time eating? I guess there's an aspect of this that says that burgers, hot dogs and slices of pizza proliferated our culinary culture at a time when the food we ate for serious meals wasn't particularly good. But nowadays since the food revolution occured, they have assumed a different place in our culinary culture.

In fact now that I write this, the habit of eating and watching is distinctly American. That is why hot dogs and ballgames are such a good fit. Snacks at movies is another one. One of the problems the movie industry has in Europe is the fact that the culture there doesn't run to people spending lots of money on popcorn etc. In the U.S., a typical deal for a movie studio/theater is to split the box office 90/10 in favor of the studio. The studio provides the advertisement and that drives traffic. But where the theater makes their money is on popcorn. I forget the average spent per person but it is something in excess of $2-$3 per person. In France the average is something like $.50 so there hasn't been the same capital investment into building new screens all over France like there has been in the U.S.

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i am getting (with any luck) a meat grinder for that big white mixer thing i have in my kitchen (you know, the "kitcheaide", which no one uses unless they bake).  i've been told i can make really good hamburger meat from this device.  as i type this, i realize that i should probably start a new thread on what kind of meat to grind for the perfect burger. ok then.  but, i'll take any comments here.  :hmmm:

It's so clear that you should have started a new thread that I'm inclined to put my response in that thread and challenge you to find it.

:biggrin:

I have one of those and one of the others that everyone uses whether or not they bake. I have a grinder for the Kitchenaid and although I use the apparatus to stuff sausages, I rarely use it with the cutting disks. I much prefer to chop my meat in the "other" machine which is a venerable vintage Cuisinart. The meat grinder forces the meat against the disks and squishes it as much as it cuts it. Although this is exactly what's done in the butcher shop, I much prefer using the blade of the Cusinart to chop the meat which is closer to what you'd get if you had the patience to chop your meat by hand with a sharp knife--in my opinion.

When we make sausages, which we haven't done in some time, I will generally chop the meat in the Cusinart and then pump it through the grinder without the disks to stuff the casings. Those are my comments on "grinding" meat. We rarely cook hamburgers and when we do, it's with no expertise and in the interest in eating quickly with little involvement. We often cook meatballs and stuffed things using ground pork, but we've become lazy and buy most of that conveniently ground at our butcher on Grand Street.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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BTW there really is nothing better than a hot dog and a beer while attending a baseball game.

We tend to pack food for a visit to Shea, so I'm not sure we can agree on this. :biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Americans like anything that frees up their time. ... Why wastetime eating?

An argument I've repeatedly had on the European travel newsgroup is about the "waste of time" eating when in Europe and that includes France. My argument that there's no better way to ingest and absorb the local culture than by spending time enjoying its best food and its typical food at liesure, is frequently met with replies that eating in MacDonald's frees up limited time for seeing the sights and museums. I'd respond that they'd be better off with a travelog, but they know that already as evidenced by the time we were standing on line at the Uffizzi and the person behind us suggested to their companions that they might be better off just gettting the video.

I still hold out for the gut reaction when I travel.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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How many burgers fit on one of those griddles?

30 at a time, and the onions are under the patties.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Steve P. - I enjoyed your description of the White Castle hamburger which I've heard much about, but have never tasted before. Next time I'm in NY, I think I will have to try one (along with a NY vendor hotdog and a slice of NY pizza). I like that the WC's are small, too. I hate when a hamburger has too much bun.

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White Castle produces an acceptable product, but there are several places utilizing a similar procedure that serve superior burgers. Sassy's Sliders on Third Avenue between 86th and 87th Streets (in New York City) is one.

http://www.sassyssliders.com/home.html

Another is White Manna, in Hackensack, NJ.

http://www.hollyeats.com/WhiteManna.htm

The steamed burger, by the way, is a venerable and respectable species. It reaches its pinnacle in Meriden, CT.

http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Review_Wri...p?Review_ID=112

White Castle was the first fast-food chain, according to its Web site.

http://www.whitecastle.com/home.asp

There are five holes in each patty.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Hmm. We have to do more about the foods those common folk eat. I know, let's do a big story on hamburgers! Let's say things like how much we love them. That'll do it."

Saveur seems to do this on a more than semi-regular basis. I seem to remember a cover story on "Cheeses in the Dairy Heartland" or something like that -- a piece on Wisconsin's burgeoning cheese industry comes to mind.

It appeared to be more than 80% travelogue and 20% genuine food journalism....

That said, I do appreciate their pieces on Asian cuisine, such as one cover article on Vietnamese kai soi. (spelling?)

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and a slice of NY pizza

ooo, um, it ain't that simple. :rolleyes:

All I've heard about the infamous NY pizza is that it's the best and that one sort of bends/folds it while one is eating it. Our pizza's out here don't really fold, so, that alone makes it worth checking out. :rolleyes: Sometimes (on another thread) I'll have to ask you guys which NY pizzas are best.

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Steve, you're on to something interesting with your comment about Americans eating while they're doing something else. It's only in relatively recent years that I've noticed large numbers of Europeans walking along the street and eating at the same time. Of course the French two-hour lunch is legendary.

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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Soba--and I think you're onto something with your comment about Saveur and glossies edging toward "80% travelogue and 20% genuine food journalism" except I also see it creeping into food television and cooking shows. To this untrained eye it seems we're getting much less actual cooking instruction and much more chef as food personality and rambling host or tourguide--as if they know there's a dwindling audience for the nuts and bolts of cooking--or that the same old, same old just isn't that interesting anymore.

If it's true that the Food Network shows are going in this direction--it makes me wonder why Saveur and the NY Times haven't lowered themselves for more street cred even sooner.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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John W. - After I posted that this morning I was standing around grilling up some weiners in the backyard for lunch and I started thinking about why our eating habits in the U.S. are so different from European eating habits. Two thoughts came to mind. One, they wanted people to eat in a 30 minute lunch break and sandwiches (after all, hot dogs and hamburgers are sandwiches) are conducive for that. Shorter lunches equal more productivity. But maybe more importantly is that a sandwich allows for the greatest statement of individuality yet everyone is equal. For example, an Italian worker can have a meatball sandwich, a German a ham sandwich and a Jewish worker tuna. This can all be done on the similar types of bread. This whole notion of different yet equal is a uniquely American concept that flows through many aspects of our culture.

Blue Heron - The famous NY style pizza is a thing of the past if you ask me. It used to be when I was younger the thin crust pizza you are describing would exist in many places. There were actually pizzarias that would make pizza worth traveling for. But around the 80's, the places the pizza places could buy their dough, cheese, sauce etc. became limited to certain suppliers and now pizza is virutally the same junky stuff wherever you go in the city. But then a whole style of brick oven pizza cropped up and that was in vogue for awhile but it seems to have died down somewhat. But then again, there is DiFara's in Bkkln but I've never been.

Steve Klc and Soba - There's a reason that most food magazines are travelogues. What's to write about ingredients? The thrust of American food publications is not to write about terroir. For example those Peconic Bay Scallops I wrote about in B Edulis's corn thread, that's the exact type of thing a food mag would profile. But calling them sweet and unusual is about as far as one of those mags would go. Nobody really writes about the characteristics of why they are unique in relation to other scallops.

An editor of a food magazine would publish an article on them, but most probably on L.I. Sound shellfish in general and it would in reality be a travelogue for going to the North or South Fork of Long Island in the autumn. The food rags do not get into things like why a Peconic Bay Scallop is different than a Taylor Bay Scallop, and so, how you would use each of them for cooking, or what they go well with. Last week at Della Femina out here, I had a risotto appetizer with Ruby Red Shrimp. Well had it not been for Fat Guy's article from Gulf Shores, Alabama, I wouldn't know what RR's were. But since I had read it, I ordered the dish. Well they were stupendous. Someone needs to write an article on them, not to promote the Redneck Riviera, but to educate consumers so that they know the difference between Ruby Red's and other types of shrimp that are available.

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But a good hot dog is a good sausage, rather similar to a knackwurst. So before I go on, do you acknowledge the possibility of good knackwurst?

Oh boy, just as someone starts to talk to me, I get distracted at the office :sad: Back to more important things now. Thanks for the warning, Jinny, but I trust FatGuy implicitly :rolleyes:

Steven, I'm not sure I've ever had knackwurst. I have eaten frankfurters (such as the Hebrew National make that someone mentioned) and I think all the American hot dogs I've eaten have been frankfurters. However, I absolutely acknowledge that there are good sausages and others, and I assume that knackwurst is like any other sausage in this context.

So if I've passed the entrance exam, I'm ready to be admitted to the mysteries of the degree course :smile:

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