off the bat I must apologize for bailing out
on last week's recipe. Call it malaise, call
it overworked, call it whatever you will, but
the motivation just wasn't there. It wasn't
that I didn't care, I even sat down and started
jotting down notes for my column on hot dogs.
Oddly enough, I didn't know how prescient that
topic selection would be.
As some of
you may be aware, the dantenet.com
staff recently pulled up roots from Pittsburgh,
PA and relocated to Doylestown, PA, a bucolic
setting about an hour outside Hostile City,
USA...Philadelphia. Since we possess a modicum
of writing and design skills, a few courageous
folks have tossed us some freelance work, keeping
us in rent money and cheap Chilean wine. However,
that doesn't prevent us from spending a few
hours each weekend trawling the 'Help Wanted'
ads for the perfect opportunity.
-- through years of answering ads -- that you
reach a certain point of desperation in the
ads you choose. Initially, only those jobs that
perfectly match your situation, experience,
and salary range make the cut. As the phone
calls trickle in and the next Student Loan bill
looms on the horizon, a larger net is cast over
the ads. "Wow...here's an ad for someone
to typeset school lunch menus for $8 an hour!
I wonder if I can fax my resume in?"
stage, before looping right back to stage one
and starting the whole thing all freaking over
again, is the complete and "utter disgust
with the whole process phase". This comes
from a combination of factors -- never getting
called for the job you KNOW you're perfect for,
as well as going on an endless stream of what
seems like pointless interviews. Like the one
I had the other day (don't worry...this all
ties together later).
The ad seemed
innocent enough...GRAPHIC ARTISTS. Mac-literate
w/knowledge of print industry for marketing
position. Forward resumes to Allen Organ Co.,
blah, blah, blah.
Co., it turned out, is one of the largest distributors
of digital organs in the world. Even when the
personnel director told me that 90% of their
business was churches I wasn't turned off. Hey,
it wasn't too far, and I was in the desperation
phase we talked about above.
And so, on
a bright, clear Monday morning I put on my Church-goin'
clothes and headed off on the "45 minute"
drive to meet with the Allen Organ Co.
into the trip and none of the landmarks given
to me by the company's personnel director were
coming into view. In fact, I was getting further
and further into Pennsylvania Dutch Country
-- land of potatoes, cabbage, and coke-dealing
an hour into the trip and the last few steps
of the directions are starting to make sense.
However, I'm now out past Dorney Park and Wild
Water Kingdom -- a low-rent Six Flags for the
coke-dealing Amish set -- and I've come to a
pretty solid decision: I wouldn't make this
drive every day if it was the greatest job in
the free world.
would've just located a phone, stopped, and
phoned in my regards to the personnel dude at
Allen. But something kept drawing me further
and further along the journey. Maybe it was
the desire to see just what an organ company
looks like. Maybe it was the perverse desire
to ask,"Would you like to see my
upright organ?" Or, maybe, just maybe,
it was the billboards that kept promising something
called 'Yocco's -- The Hot Dog King.' (See,
I told you this would all come together.)
Now, you have
to understand something about The Hungover Gourmet.
Nothing intrigues me like: a) local food stuff;
and, b) places that proclaim themselves "king"
of anything. I've been to several joints that
promote themselves as: "king of cheesesteaks"
(a decidedly Philly concoction); a few dozen
"king of subs"; and even a handful
of "king of stopless go-go". So a
stop at 'Yocco's -- The Hot Dog King' was inevitable.
Plus, I had to get a copy of that cool logo
-- a hot dog king holding a pitchfork with another
hot dog on it! How evil is THAT?! (See illo
Allen Organ Co. after a one hour and twenty
minute trip in very light, late-morning traffic.
Leaving my portfolio in the car I strode across
the parking lot -- as I said before -- dressed
in my Sunday best. Sure I had on dark sunglasses
and the hair was freshly spiked at all manner
of odd angles, but I didn't think anything of
my appearance. I'm a graphic artist for god's
Until I reached
the front door and was met by a pissed-off looking
Herb Tarleck of an individual who stared me
down and asked in a way only a pissed-off salesman
who never left the backwoods of PA Dutch Country
can: "May I help you with something?"
I figured he left out the "you Devil worshiper"
part because he was with a client -- a Jethro-looking,
God-fearing, Bible-thumping yokel there to buy
an organ and sample the swinging nightlife of
As sweet as
pie, with a face like an altar boy after a few
sips of sacramental wine, I replied: "No
thanks, I have a one o'clock meeting with Barry."
by the idea that I might one day work there
-- I didn't have the heart to tell him I was
canceling my appointment -- he turned away and
said, "One of the girls in there can help
you." Ah yes, "girls," even further
evidence that I wasn't in the most forward-thinking
meeting cancellation was anti-climactic, and
Barry the Personnel Guy seemed faintly normal
(no sock tie or plaid shirt), though a bit of
a Ned Flanders. Though the showroom and museum
(an organ museum!) seemed promising, my stomach
was growling and Yocco's -- The Hot Dog King
was in sight!
I turned the
Hungover Mobile around and scooted back up Route
100 to Fogelsville, PA, just before it intersects
with Route 78 and pulled into the Yocco's --
The Hot Dog King parking lot. I could've gone
through the Drive-Thru, but I knew that ordering
and eating inside would be a culinary experience
not to be missed.
a pretty standard 'good eats' kinda joint. A
small dining area is separated from the ordering
and cooking area by some wooden slats, and one
wall is dominated by a large map of the US showing
where Yocco Dogs have been shipped. A couple
pissed-off looking high school/college kids
man the registers, and the order-takers immediately
pegged me as a non-local and waited on two or
three obvious regulars (they knew the lingo)
before taking my order of three cheese dogs,
fries, and a Coke.
As hot dogs
go, the Yocco Dog just might have been the best
I've ever tasted. The fries were nothing to
write home about, but the dogs had a distinct
flavoring that we recently tried to replicate
in our test kitchen. The logo and placemat'll
tell you that the secret is in the sauce, which
seemed to be a mix of onions (fried until they're
wilted but not burnt), mustard, hot sauce, and
maybe a hint of relish. The dogs, allegedly
made exclusively for Yocco's by Medford, were
coated with spices (paprika? cayenne pepper?)
and grilled before being placed in the bun with
two slices of white American cheese and the
aforementioned sauce. Downright delightful and
very low on the belch scale, almost never repeating
on me in later hours.
You can visit
any of four Yocco's -- The Hot Dog King for
"hot dogs with personality" -- and
it's a horrible one! (Thanks to Sister Leighanna
for that observation.)
625 Liberty Street
West: 2128 Hamilton Street
South: Route 29 & Buckeye Road in Emmaus
Northwest: Route 100 in Fogelsville
The Hot Dog Court Jester
Hot Dogs (don't be bringing any of that Turkey
or Chicken Dog crap into my kitchen!)
4 Hot Dog Buns
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Chopped
Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard
8 Slices of White American Cheese
a small saute pan heat a tablespoon of olive
oil and add the onions, cooking over medium
heat. Cook the onions until they are wilted,
but don't let them brown. Add a few dashes of
Tabasco and heat for another minute. Remove
from heat and allow to cool. Drain the onions,
leaving the reserved oil in the pan. Place the
onions in a small bowl and add as much mustard
as you desire. Coat the hot dogs with a little
paprika and cayenne pepper so they get a spicy
crust when grilled. Reheat the oil in the pan
and add the hot dogs, cooking over medium heat
until done. On a separate griddle or stovetop
grill, take the buns and toast them on both
sides until lightly toasted. (You can brush
a little olive oil on the inside of the bun
if you wish.) After toasting the buns, add two
slices of American cheese to each and coat cheese
with mustard and onion sauce. Add the dogs and
serve any leftover sauce on the side.
Makes 4 servings.