Friday, January 29, 2016

Off the Map: Great Hot Dog Expectations

Chili Dog -- Carneys, Los Angeles, CA

The problem with being the Best Thing I Ever Ate dish that we're most looking forward to eating in Los Angeles is that our expectations are ten-times higher than usual.  So this is the issue faced by Carneys, home of Marc Summers favorite chili dog from THE CLASSICS episode of the program.
What Are These "Vegetables" With Which You Are Tainting Our Hot Dog?
To say hot dogs are a guilty pleasure for us would be an understatement, as in truth, we don't really have much guilt about eating them at all.  
Yeah, We Don't Care What It's Comprised Of -- Just Hand It Over
Past experiences have shown that, in general, we are relatively unimpressed by the Food Network's stars' choices of dogs on a bun, despite the fact that we will literally eat any hot dog placed in front of us, no matter its source.  So with Carneys, being a bit of an LA institution (what with the vintage rail car setting and all), we are expecting great things.
Quick Question: Is This the Bar Car?
Getting to Carneys is no easy feet, as it involves schlepping up multiple flights of stairs and crossing Sunset Boulevard sans crosswalk (really, if LA just encouraged people to walk around a little more, perhaps there wouldn't be such need for the preponderance of personal trainers).  
Our Route to Carneys = More Stairs Than We've Climbed in a Month
Huffing and puffing once we reach the Carneys counter, Vodka orders one chili dog, which the server immediately asks if we'd like to split.

"They're very good about splitting dishes here," Ginger notes.  "No one in New York would ever ask us."
What They're Also Very Good About Is Not Being Stressed to Serve Patrons Promptly
Indeed, perhaps this is how LA residents keep their slim fingers despite the lack of walking: no one ever consumes an entire plate of food.
Ah Ha! We Have Figured Out Your Magical Ways, Los Angeles
The hot dog arrives quickly, and upon inspection, all looks well.  While smothered in chili is not necessarily how we would choose to order our own dogs, we're not opposed to the topping.

Our first bites, however, reveal something else.  Namely, disappointment.
Sorry, Where Can We Find the HOT DOG?
Somehow, despite components that appear as though they should all be delicious, this hot dog is lacking.  
Never Trust a West Coast Resident to Make an East Coast Dish
The meat itself is almost completely masked by the overwhelming amount of chili, which we would forgive should the chili actually have a pleasing flavor (or really, any flavor at all, as this is just about the blandest variety we've ever tasted).  
Can Someone Please Send LA Some Salt?
"How do you possibly make a chili dog wrong?" Ginger asks.  "A hot dog should be so much better."
Maybe We Should Have Taken a Hint By the Fact That We Were Carneys's Only Customers
And there is the risk faced with those Best Thing I Ever Ate locations who serve our favorite foods -- the higher the expectations, the greater the fall.  And in the case of a hot dog, maybe it is true that an old one really can't be taught new tricks.

Carneys's Chili Dog: 2 stars

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