The ( hot) dog whis­perer

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASTE - Graeme Phillips

I’ M told by an ex­pat New Yorker friend that the test of a good hot­dog is not in the ac­com­pa­ny­ing sauer­kraut, the mus­tard or ketchup, the qual­ity of the bun or, in­deed, the flavour of the dog it­self.

The test, he says, is that the frank­furter should have a slight tooth­some re­sis­tance and go ‘‘ snap’’ as you bite into it.

His fa­ther had sold hot­dogs in the Big Ap­ple for more than 40 years, so I ac­cepted his word as I took off round the city for a dog that went snap. One from the stand in Times Square was about as limp as ‘‘ The US Needs YOU’’ ad­ver­tise­ments on the nearby mil­i­tary re­cruit­ment of­fice. Which is prob­a­bly why there was no one queu­ing up at ei­ther.

And ones from out­side the Guggen­heim, in Union Square and in Cen­tral Park didn’t mea­sure up to the snap test ei­ther.

So it was back to where I should have started, to the New York Times list of the city’s best of ev­ery­thing – in this case The Can­ni­bal at 113 East 29th where the hot­dogs are ‘‘ so de­li­ciously fatty and balanced in flavour, you’ll want an­other or­der for dessert’’. It was, but I didn’t, since it still didn’t go snap. So I moved on to Mario Batali and his part­ners’ amaz­ing Eataly Food Hall ex­trav­a­ganza which opened in the Flat­iron district of the city in Au­gust 2010.

With some 4600sq m ded­i­cated to fresh meats, sa­lumi, pasta, breads, fish, oils, veg­eta­bles, cheeses, vine­gars, con­fec­tionery, desserts, wines, cook­ing equip­ment, books and seem­ingly ev­ery­thing else on an Ital­ian gourmet’s dolce vita wish list with a cook­ing school at­tached and ca­sual eater­ies in each food sec­tion, this place in the Flat­iron district is the Las Ve­gas of food mar­kets.

With such abun­dance and milling crowds, Eataly seems to have sucked much of the life out of what was once one of NY’s most fa­mous farm­ers’ mar­kets, the nearby Union Square Green Mar­ket, which, mid- win­ter, was only a shadow of Satur­day’s Sala­manca.

I’d also been told that since 9/ 11 New York­ers had mel­lowed, that they were more po­lite, more con­sid­er­ate, smiled and greeted one an­other more and so on. But not at Katz’s Deli, around since 1888, where the pas­trami on rye was as ex­pected and the ser­vice as good ol’ New York rude as any Woody Allen fan could hope for.

While the long- an­tic­i­pated monk­fish liver pate was dis­ap­point­ingly no longer on the menu at Sugiyama, a choice of de­li­cious oys­ters from 26 wa­ters around the coun­try in the won­der­ful Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion, each with more snap than the hot­dogs, a cock­tail with Dorothy Parker’s ghost at the sadly re­mod­elled Al­go­nquin and a su­perb din­ner at the ac­claimed Gramercy Tav­ern pro­vided fit­ting farewells to New York.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.