Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sometimes You Just Need a Good Hot Dog

In an ideal universe, lobster tail soaked in drawn butter, thick burgers lathered with three different cheeses, and fat T-bone steaks accompanied by long baked potatoes slopped with sour cream would be the healthy foods while celery and lettuce would be the things to avoid.  Unfortunately, when it comes to eating, the universe we’re stuck with is far from that ideal and with heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes to contend with, there isn’t much on the various doctors' top ten good foods lists that's worth putting on one’s plate and sitting down to enjoy.  Sometimes you just need a good hot dog, though, and today was one of those days.
 Just a two mile ride from where I hang my helmet Abe’s Hot Dogs is never too far away nor inconvenient a drive especially on a sunny scooterin’ weather kind of day.

Abe’s Hot Dogs in downtown Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania has been in business since God knows how long.  It seems like its been there forever, and that’s a good thing for us hot dog connoisseurs to whom a good chili dog is worth its weight in prime steak.  If chili dogs aren’t something you eat out your way, dear reader, you’re missing out on something wonderful not only to the tastebuds but to one’s overall sense of being cultured.  Okay, that’s not my tongue in my cheek there; it must be a delicious chili dog!

There’s the man himself doing his thing as he does day in and day out right there in the front window of Abe’s. 

With Abe (if that's really the current owner's name) working the dogs in the window right there by the door it’s dinner and a show for a very reasonable price, under $3 for two dogs with the works.  (Brown mustard, diced onions, and that secret recipe chili sauce.)  Note that the chili sauce in this case is like chili con carne without the beans rather than the tomato based kind of chili sauce that you can get in a jar at the supermarket.

Any meal is better when one is out on the scooter and it’s no exception as I munch my dogs in a parking lot across the street from Abe’s.  I chose that spot to enjoy my lunch because I knew I’d be able to get some pictures of the dogs and the place itself.

To their credit, there are two entirely different chili dog businesses here in the valley, both using the name “Abe’s Hot Dogs.”  They’ve been in business on opposite sides of the Susquehanna River, though only a few miles apart, peacefully sharing the name since a time when lawsuits over things like using the same name for different businesses were practically unheard of.  (I remember reading once about a gentleman in Scotland whose name was McDonald being sued by THE McDonald’s chain for daring to use the name McDonald’s for his business.)  The Abe’s across the river makes just as delicious but slightly different chili dogs. 

And there it is, ladies and gentlemen!  One perfectly put-together Abe’s chili dog, just the way that God and nature intended for hot dogs to be served!

To be certain, I’m generally much more aware of and abiding by the foods on the “good list” for me, but sometimes, as I noted in the title of this post, you just need a good hot dog.  I hemmed and hawed for days about getting a couple of these delicious treats for myself.  The weather wasn’t right.  I wasn’t that hungry.  I had plenty of worthwhile leftovers in the fridge.  And so on.  But today I had no excuses to give myself and the dogs won out.

Yes, every bite down to the very last was just what the doctor ordered.  Wait.  I did mean that figuratively and not literally.  I’m fairly certain that my cardiologist would not have suggested that today’s lunch fare was a good one for me.

As with riding the scooter, eating “off the list” is always a calculated risk.  I was wondering on my way back from Abe’s if I’ll leave this world a little sooner because I ate those dogs, if the balance between giving up things that I like for the sake of living a little longer is worth it.  I worked with a guy years ago who had big time heart disease who knew the ropes and the risks but continued to eat anything and everything he loved.  I never did decide if I admired him for choosing to LIVE his life to the fullest rather than exist in moderation into a miserable old age.

If you plan to drive through the Wilkes-Barre area and might be looking for some genuine valley food Abe’s is definitely a place I’d recommend.  It’s small on size and seating, but BIG on taste and valley ambiance. 

Since this chicken hasn't taken the scooter to the Lehigh Valley yet, it should be noted that if he did, they would be Yocco's chili dogs filling his belly for lunch.  They're maybe, possibly, in some ways, perhaps a little better than either Abe's, but that's for one's own taste buds to decide.  And if you happen to be passing through there and drop into a Yocco's, you'll need to order a chocolate milk to wash your doggies down lest you get eyed like some out of towner who doesn't know a lick about good chili dog cuisine.

1 comment:

SonjaM said...

I used to love a good hot dog... mostly because of the right combination of condiments. It still works with a vegan dog on a gluten free bun.