Friday, December 12, 2008

The $327 Corn Dog

About a year ago, at my nephew's baptism, a few of us got to talking about Disneyland. From across the room, the baby's Godfather heard our conversation and came over to tell me that, and I quote, "Disneyland has THE BEST corn dogs", I've always been more of a fan of a corn ball, than of a corn dog and I like the fried chicken dinner in New Orleans square, so I ignored him. Then, unsolicited, a few weeks later, another friend mentioned the corndogs...and again said they were "THE BEST."

My first introduction to the corn dog was from Hot Dog on a Stick, while in junior high. It was the place in the mall that made the unfortunate high school girls wear tight polyester outfits, and a silly hat. Even a cheerleader would look like a circus act in this get-up. Admittedly, I would always walk by and snicker on my way to the Great Potato; immature yes, gratifying, also yes. They do have good lemonade, but the corn dogs, not so much.

We didn't have corn dogs in our house. First of all, the fry daddy was reserved for making bow-ties (see previous blog) or zeppoli, not deep fried American delights. Secondly, hot dogs weren't considered a real food in our house. They were something you at at other people's homes or a Dodger game. You want a hot dog? Here's your hot dog...Italian sausage with peppers and onions on freshly baked Italian bread. Can you believe I complained?

I spent my junior year of college in Florence, Italy. I lived in a pensione, in a room with 2 other girls. Among the many things I learned in this year abroad was an important lesson. If you want to find a good snack food, follow the stoner. Dave (his name has not been changed because I figure it's a popular enough name and I think he would actually be proud to be mentioned here) led us to The Jolly. This bar was only across the road and down a bit from the pensione, but it was where we would go to grab a beer, not a snack.
Enter Dave.
One afternoon we were enjoying our libations and watching the endless video loop of Pink Floyd's Wall, and Dave sauntered our way carrying a plate with what appeared to be a hot dog on it. What's that I asked? Well, it's a hot dog he replied, through his smirk. It was sliced in half length-wise, pressed in a pannini machine, placed on top of toasted crispy bread and served with ketchup. Oh my, it was lovely.

There was some controversy regarding the Dodger dog some time ago. Some of the restaurants serve them grilled (good) and some boiled (not so good). People rave about about Pinks, but frankly the crunch of the casing makes me gag. Carneys, no opinion. Costco makes a good dog at a good price, but I think their Polish is the choice of champions. Unbeatalbe is the brat at the County Fair in Plymouth, but you can only go in September, and you have to go to Wisconsin, so it's probably not practical. Trust me, they are delish.

Mike and I went to Disneyland yesterday. We arrived near the lunch hour, and because we had to renew our annual pass we were delayed a bit. When it was all said and done the bill, with parking was $327. Now before you go saying, wait, aren't we in a recession....I have been unemployed since 2001. I am both boom-proof and recession-proof. Besides, Mike gave it to me for Christmas, early. And, if I have to explain myself further, at the cost of admission, we only have to go 2 more times in order to make it worth it, and we will.

Disneyland is beautiful this time of year. The tree on main stree is sky high and perfect. All of the shops have Christmas windows and the streets are lined with garland. New Orleans square has a look of it's own with beads tumbling from the rooftops and spilling overhead. It looks like Mardi Gras and Christmas crashed. The turrets of Cinderella's castle are blanketed with snow and the Haunted Mansion is decorated in ghostly style. It is truly magical, just as the commercials claim. I was ooh-ing and ahh-ing as I was making my way down Main Street. And there it was...with a line as long as my wish list and as slow as my metabolism....the Corn Dog Cart.

While in line I could hear whispers of how wonderful these corn dogs are and others of how they should be for the price ($6 for a dog and chips). With the requisite but disingenuous question, shall we split one? out of the way, Mike and I each decided to get our own. I don't remember my last corn dog, so I can't compare. But I can tell you this. These dogs are worth every penny and the wait. They are at least a foot long with rich, more sweet than savory, thick cornmeal crust, fried to perfection. With each bite they get better. To my friends who urged me to try them, just as Virginia was assured there is a Santa Clause, I assure you Disneyland corn dogs are "THE BEST"


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