Five Senses: One Worcester

Taste: Coney Island Hot Dogs

by on Mar.01, 2013, under Uncategorized

Being born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Coney Island has been a popular day trip for my family and I.  Whether it was going to play arcade games, taking a ride on the Cyclone, or going to the beach, each trip had one thing in common: a trip to the original Nathan’s for some hot dogs.  So after I heard about Coney Island Hot Dogs here in Worcester I was intrigued to say the least.  Could a Coney Island delicacy really be imitated outside Coney Island?  I am going to find out.

I wait in the long line filled with customers waiting to get their lunch.  Not sure of what I should get, I see a sign that says, “try our Coney Island Dog” and it convinces me.  I’ll get one Coney Island dog and one hotdog with mustard, my favorite.  The line moves quickly and before I know it Shirley, the old waitress with short blond hair and a black, half tucked in collared shirt with the Coney Island Hot Dog emblem on it asks for my order.  I tell her and she walks over to the grill where the steaming hotdogs have just been placed into the lightly toasted buns.  She slops mustard on one and mustard, onions, and chili on the other.  I pay and proceed to sit in an old wooden booth that has generations of etchings marked into it and a chipped red tabletop that looks like it has not been changed since Coney Island Hot Dogs opened in 1918.  The place is a little run down, but so is Coney Island.  I like that.

Now comes the moment of truth: eating the hot dogs and seeing if they live up to their expectation.  I take a look at the hot dogs and notice that they look slimmer than the plump hotdogs I’m used to.  Now hesitant, I close my eyes, zone out all of my other senses, and take my first bite into the Coney Island Dog.  I guess the saying “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog” really is true as the first bite is an explosion of flavor across my taste buds.  The texture of the crispy bun and the texture of the steaming hotdog juxtapose each other like meat and potatoes of a shepherd’s pie and give off a salty, meaty taste.  The mustard, onion, and chili add a spicy kick to the Coney Island Dog, which sends sensations like fire burning across my tongue.  I then take a bite of my hot dog with mustard.  The most perfect combination of a salty-spicy delight brings back memories: the feeling of digging your feet in the hot sand, taking your last breath before the Cyclone plunges down, winning a prize on the boardwalk.  As I chow down the rest of my hot dogs I reminisce about summers spent at Coney Island.  With a smile on my face I bring my tray to the counter, say goodbye to my waitress, and walk out.  I’m not sure if my next hot dog will come from Coney Island Hot Dogs in Worcester or the Nathans’s in Coney Island, but that is okay with me.


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