We had high hopes for Saturday’s mission- Big Plans. Paul D agreed to take the MDz and Brn-n-Srv to the scrap yard! Sickety-SICK! We were going to fortify with a solid bacon breakfast at Hz’ to get us through the pre-dog heavy lifting, but when PD called the yard for scrapping hours the lady was totally like, “We’ll close at 11:15 or earlier if we feel like it.” Wha–?! How do you like that? Well, Ez was still fast asleep at 10:40. No time to nice around, we got up and at it!
Stepping into the cool morning, was it just the confusing late March Minnesota weather that sent the chill through your doctors, or was there something more sinister at hand? Brn-n-Srv, thinking he saw something shiny, reached down and picked up a SKULL!
We left from Hz’ house in 2 cars, PD’s loaded with scrap and Brn-n-Srv at the wheel of his friend’s car. Brn-n-Srv musta been drunk with power from being in a borrowed All Wheel Drive Subaru, or something, because when he was leading the way to the freeway he kept going off-road! Brn-n-Srv, are you a crazy person, or what?
With just minutes before gate closing, PD honked and Ez tried to speed dial Hz as Brn-n-Srv sped past Kirschbaum-Krupp Metal Recycling.
It was close, but we made it! PD told us that there are 1,200 privately owned scrap yards in the USA. Last summer Old Sheet Aluminum was selling high at 78 cents per pound and scrappers were living rich for a while, but then prices plummeted. Fall 2008 saw aluminum prices as low as 33 cents and the scrappers were totally pissed off. Joe, the man at the weigh station, said something like, “Hey guys, that’s just the price”. We were all eager to see what PD’s earnings would be!¹
We got all of the scrap from Paul D’s car, and loaded it up onto a wheely-cart. Then we rolled it inside. When the big garage door opened, it was like the doors to the Kingdom of Oz opened or something! and then we walked inside with our scraps.
Wow, the place is nice!
PD rolled his scrap onto the floor-scale. Joe and Victor got weights on all the different metals: copper, red brass, lead, aluminum sheet and cans.
Meanwhile, some other fellas …
….were checking the valuable Hz!
JK, These dudes were all ultra-sweet!
Well, PD collected his receipt and brought it to the nice lady behind the bullet-proof glass. She gave him a code or a slip of some sort (please forgive us this lack of detail, there was just so much to see).
Obviously, we had worked up a real good appetite by this time! So we wasted no time getting to Uncle Franky’s!
Lt. Brn-n-Srv wasted no time with the antics. That guy is a laugh riot!
This place seemed totally supreme before we even went inside. Their door handle is a metal hot dog and Brn-n-Serve even tried to eat it! Outta sight!
Hot Dog Heaven! Not only does Uncle Frankie have a dog selection incredible enough to almost stump the doctors…
they were also playing the BEST song! The song that beckons summer! The song that makes you wish you could sing, makes you wish you could dance, makes you wish you could FLY!
All minds were blown, but we’re professionals and got back on the job. You should know that their pop is supplied from a local root beer brewery who’s name we forget. They have strawberry, orange, grape, pink lemonade and root beer, naturally! Ez got Grape and Hz got Strawberry.
This man was helpful and totally nice:
This man made up the dogs and was totally nice:
Quite an operation:
When our food came, we could hardly believe what a great big feast it was! We thought the table would break under all the weight. For REAL!
And then when we started eating all of that delicious food, it was MAD DELICIOUS!
HA HA HA! Brn-n-Srv was goofing with the ketchup, Classic! Course, we were all totally rolling and all of the other diners probably were really enjoying us, too!
But then it got a little out of hand when he started dripping on his new-fancy-phone-camera-computer!
That mighta been when we started to attract the attention of owner, Larry.
As Brn-n-Srv wiped up a little, Ez remembered out loud about those ten long years she put herself through hot dog learning being a waitress. She told of refillling ketchup bottles and how easy it is to drip and spill and then if you do, you can wash your hands and dab at your shirt with a wet soapy paper towel all shift long, but you will NEVER get rid of that vinegary ketchup smell! Gross me out the DOOR!
PD mentioned that the bathrooms at Uncle Frankie’s are pleasingly clean. Maybe Brn-n-Srv went in to clean up, and maybe it was Brn-n-Srv, dripping ketchup, that attracted Larry’s notice, but he sure wanted to know why a couple of doctors were snapping photos of his bathrooms!
We explained that we LOVE hot dogs! Told Larry we eat hot dogs and talk about it and write about it and take pictures of it and invite our friends because we LOVE hot dogs! Then Larry wanted to help us! He told us of his 2 other locations: Dinkytown and Plymouth. Said if we went to the Dinkytown store we would find his brother and his cousin was at the Plymouth satellite. Then he pointed out the terrific art on the wall made by Wesley Willis!
We were all SO FULL, so we were planing to walk off our dogs along the river. As we were leaving Larry gave us some more location suggestions. That guy is really something! SUPER helpful!
Totally great day! Brn-n-Srv was going to lead the way in that borrowed All Wheel Drive Subaru. We all took off down Broadway, but Brn-n-Srv was OFF, hot and fast! PD and Ez were in the dust and a little worried!
But we heard from him later in the day, when he called from the Loon to announce that he was eating a Cheddarwurst. Safe and sound! (whew!)
When Hz saw the flyer for the Are You Local? SXSW Sendoff at First Avenue, she was only slightly stoked at first. There were some pretty rad bands playing, but usually the HtDg MDz don’t go into downtown on the weekends, because that’s when the superlame D-bgz go there, and if there’s one thing a HtDg Doctor doesn’t like, it is THAT (except sometimes Ez does like that- noshedoesn’tyesshedoesnoshedosen’t). Right before Hz stopped caring about the flyer, she noticed that down at the bottom was a tiny hotdog! Totally dope! Then she really cared, like a LOT! And called Ez right away!
So the Doctors rounded up a Street Force, including Dnz and Paul D. Ez and Dnz went down there right away, because they were super starving. The scene was SET! There were tons of people so they thought it best to scope the hot dog operation- and quick. They walked right in and followed the signs.
Well, you don’t get to be doctor without learning to tell when stuff’s sinking south and this was getting critical! Every time they got in line for a delicious hot dog, they would run out before they got one and then the chef would have to go make some more! Every time it was like, come back in 5 minutes, come back in 5 minutes. Como se dice Broken Record?!!
This was totally weak. But finally, during one of the dog runs, Dnz scored a dog. A natural Hotdog Force, Dnz saw them unload a batch and she moved it up there, Pronto! It took forever, but it was delicious, she said, and we believe her like whoa.
Ez saw the writing on the wall: If Hz didn’t hurry up and get to First Avenue, there would be NO DOGS LEFT! So she sent an SOS for Hz to GET OVER HERE NOW!
But Hz was doing the very best she could! She thought that she would park in a parking ramp and pay on the way out, but HOLY CRAP! It was event parking, and she had to pay on the way IN! And guess who didn’t have ten dollars? HZ DIDN’T! So then she had to drive all the way to Sex World to go to the cash machine, so she was super late, and in super trouble!
When Hz finally arrived, the Hot Dog Street Force rolled downstairs to try for dogs one more time. But they were like, OH MY GOD, OH NO! Because the sign said no dogs!!!
This was a hard reality- a real tough hit. Dnz was the only one to get some that night. Ez kept digging for details, just kept on asking. What was it like? Was it good? Dnz didn’t talk too much on the matter, but said it was fresh. That was almost enough for Ez.
Paul D and Hz were starving so bad though. So even though they would have done some pretty uncool things to score a dog, it wouldn’t have even mattered because there weren’t any there anyhow. So they just got pizza instead. It was pretty good, but there’s nothing like a dog, as I’m sure you will agree.
Too late for hot dogs and too late to see First Communion Afterparty, we made ourselves feel better by drinking majorly huge beers and listening to music. The Doctors both agreed that the best band of our night was Solid Gold, for several reasons:
- Totally cute!
- Sweet outfits
- Good music
Here is a video, so you can hear how totally premium they are.
But wait! We forgot something! Before Solid Gold started, one of the guys in the band was walking around, and Ez noticed that he was wearing skinny black jeans with white shoes, which we thought was a totally excellent combination. Then we were doing some shopping at the Solid Gold merch table, and we saw this, which was a hilarious joke, but also a tragic waste of dog:
And also, we handed out some business cards that night, to maximize exposure on the street! Awesome times ten!
Our lessons for tonight are these:
- If you want to be a hot dog doctor, you must always be ready for a dog any time, ALL the time. And usually parking ramps and hot dog places will not take credit cards. So Hz will always roll with some flow from now on.
- Wear skinny black jeans with white shoes.
Ever since that night at Chris and Rob’s Hz and Ez have been TOTALLY FREAKING OUT and making plans for future hot dog times and places (oh, and our list is loooong). Our next stop was scheduled to be the Are You Local? SXSW send-off at First Avenue because Hz spotted a tiny hot dog on the flyer. We got the Hot Dog Street Force involved and excited, but Friday night was so totally outta sight that we have to tell!
So, we went to a bunch of parties with Lz, Nz, Paul D and Johnnycakes, who requests that we refer to him from now on as Lt. Brown ‘n Serve.
Anyway, it was all super-fun. We went to an opening a Spot Art where there were these great pieces made up of those strips from letter punching guns and everybody got to try it, too!
Also there was a really sweet dog (not a hot dog, a real dog) at this party and a cool band. And Hz was so stoked because she saw her tenant, Hot Joel there. Cuz he lives right upstairs from her, but she still never sees him. Totally weird! And then it was time to go to Now or Never.
This party was extra-choice! There was a bonfire and huge tube encasing Lt. Brn-n-Srv that was kinda telling of the night to come!
Everybody was dancing and this was the first time in the night that Hz channeled Miss Prissy to show us all some fine krump!
Here’s the second time Miss Prissy graced us:
So now it’s like 2 in the morning and we take Lz and Nz home. Ez, Hz and Brn-n-Srv are totally hungry when we pass the SA on Lyndale avenue and 22nd street. Brn-n-Srv got nostalgic about the time he lived next door to this Super America and he could walk on over for dogs ALL THE TIME! We were kinda tired but Brn-n-Srv told us of his total hot dog commitment. Like, let’s say Brn-n-Srv wasn’t allowed to sleep for like 8 days, and then finally he got to, and he had just fallen asleep and you were to wake him up to ask if he wanted a hot dog, you know what he’d say? You know what he’d say! He’d say YES! Of course! So, that’s IT, we’re going in.
You should have seen the traffic in that SA! It seemed like the perfect time for a hot dog because the fast turn over would guarantee freshness, right? KIND OF! Now, it makes sense that when there is a run on hot dogs it’s hard to keep a bun warmer stocked, so we were a little worried as we started building up our dogs.
But we chose to believe!
They have a pretty nice selection of self-serve toppings at SA. You got all your expecteds: your ketchup and mustard, onions, pickle relish, but then there is a two-sided dispenser-robot, half for chili and the other half for cheese!
We were working the dog station with another enthusiast and he was awesome! You know, he’d done this before and wanted to help. We couldn’t tell if the relish was made from dill or sweet pickles so we just asked him! He said “it’s whatever you want it to be,” which we found super inspiring. Ez hoped hard that it would be dill. Our man continued to coach us on our cheese and chili dispense. Coach said, “Hold the button down!”.
Coach was really serious about this! He said, “Just hold it! Hold it and it will drop, drop, drop!” We all tried. Brn-n-Srv went first, then Ez, then Hz and it seemed like each one of us was worse at it than the last! Hz got NOT ONE DROP! Coach was getting a little disgusted with us, and just wanted us to clear out of his way. But guess what – IT WAS TOTALLY EMPTY! We already said it was busy in there. Dear Coach had been advising us while we took the last of the supplies, just drained it dry. That guy was really supreme!
Check this yellow work:
So we roll out with our custom dogs. Ez only lives about less than a mile away and she’s got exactly 3 beers in-house, right? We really wanted to save up and do right by our creations, not just take them down in the car. So they sit on our laps and we wait…
Wow, this anticipation HURTS! Hz is driving, so for a minute Brn-n-Srv and Ez are tied for it’s the hardest. Then Brn-n-Srv describes his pain for us a little. He said, for him it’s like he was holding Loni Anderson‘s lush and full bosom in his hands but is not allowed a kiss. He might have been more descriptive than that (he really was), but the point is that these were difficult minutes.
At last, we make it to Ez’, AT LAST! The dogs lost a little of their luster en route so we warmed them in the microwave just a little, not too much.
And it’s ON!
Well, there might be someone more optimistic than your Hot Dog Doctors, but there really might not be. Having said that, even doctors can doubt, and the complete deliciousness of these dogs felt like a present, BIG TIME! So we thank you for this consultation and we strongly recommend taking the SA hot dog bar, as often as needed, for any reason!
Hz and Ez eat Htdz.
Our first mission as the Hot Dog Doctors was so totally auspicious!
We were going to go to the Gopher Bar in Saint Paul, and we had to drive around a little bit, but then we found it and pulled the car over to the curb and Hz opened the door and there, frozen in the snowbank, was a LUCKY PENNY. And it was heads up, yo. We still have it and are going to frame it as our first income.
But sadly, the Gopher Bar was closed, and we’re not sure why. There were no hours posted, but it said on a sign that there were hot dogs in there DAILY. This is very worrying. We’ve checked online, and it seems like it’s still open for business, but this doesn’t seem like the kind of establishment that would maintain a very fastidious online presence, so who knows?
So after a serious freak out, we put our heads together and set out for another hot dog joint on our list: Chris and Rob’s in Saint Paul on West 7th.
Chris & Rob’s: Chicago’s Taste Authority
So: this place was totally cute. It’s made out of a railroad car! We died.
We ordered one Chicago-style apiece, and then Ez also got a Spicy Polish and Hz got a Chili dog, and we split some cheese fries and we both got beers too. Hz got Summit, and Ez got beer that was described as “like Summit, only from Chicago.” (or it might have been from Canada. We don’t remember. They’re almost the same anyway.)
One of the first things we discussed was how we know two people who have t-shirts that say, “Doctor Hot Dog” on it. We, as self-proclaimed hot dog doctors, find this totally premium. Our friend Deanna has one, and Dirty Preston has one. These t-shirts make us swoon with desire.
If we find these Doctor Hot Dog t-shirts, we’re going to buy them for sure.
So that’s when the other totally auspicious thing happened: The song “I’m Burning for You” by Blue Öyster Cult came on the radio!
Now, the story behind our love for this song is that at the apex of our Valentine’s Day this year — and let me tell you that the hours leading up to this were chock-full of excitement and splendor, too — we were on a houseboat with our best friends Lz, Nz, Jz, Paul D and Johnnycakes, getting hammered on some absurdly alcoholic Icelandic booze, eating cookie cake, and playing “Burnin’ for You” over and over about 100 times, sometimes substituting all the lyrics with one of our names for the entire song. Eventually, we got in trouble with the neighbors, but it was incredibly fun. So hearing this song during our first mission felt like a very good omen.
Then the food came.
So then Hz told Ez about how she and Johnnycakes got locked into the stairwell of her house this weekend and Our Hero Troy had to come rescue them at 1 am: see, Hz grabbed the wrong set of keys on her way out, and pulled the door to her apartment shut and locked, but the door between the entryway and the outside needs a key, too. So Hz and Johnnycakes were stuck in the entryway of her house. Luckily there is an extra set of keys hidden in at Our Hero Troy’s house, so Hz called him. He was at First Avenue dancing with his hot girlfriend, but was happy to take a taxi from there to home, and from home to Hz’ home, and from Hz’ home back to First Avenue to spring them out.
This evoked fond memories about other times Our Hero Troy was a major hero. Like when we got hammered at his house, then he let us all sleep over, then he made us breakfast, then he gave Rupert a pair of sunglasses, then he rode bikes with everyone to make sure they got home okay. He’s a great guy to the max.
Then we started eating the sport peppers whole.
Talk then turned to Daylight Savings Time. Ez told Hz how when she was a waitress for ten years she was late for work every day (every single day!) except for once a year she would accidentally turn up a half-hour early for her shift when she forgot to set her clock back at the end of Daylight Savings time in the fall. When she’d arrive, one of the cooks would always say, “Even a dog gets lucky once a year!” Totally ouch.
The whole time we were eating, Hz was blowing up on facebook. She has a sweet FB application on her phone, so she knows when she’s blowing up the second it happens, and it was happening a lot during the Chris and Rob’s mission. Hz’ friend Ali, who works for the Current, was particularly supportive and hilarious in regards to a pre-launch facebook announcement about the Hot Dog Blog, so Ez and Hz joked about scoring a Current sponsorship, which could possibly entail plastic signage that they could tape to the wall by their table during future missions.
They started to close up when we were leaving, which made us feel sort of badass.
Hot Dog Round Up: Chris & Rob’s in Saint Paul
Ez liked the Polish with everything on it better than the Chicago style, but said that they were both super good.
Hz liked the Chicago style slightly better than the Chili dog, but it was verrry close. The chili even had beans in it, and usually it doesn’t when it’s chili used on hot dogs, right?
Cheese fries: total yum. The cheese wasn’t the shredded and melted kind, but rather the kind that comes in a bag.
Atmosphere: charming and railroad car-ey
Service: great. the dudes who were working asked us if everything was okay about 100 times, and it always was.
Overall score: like, a million
3101 E 42nd St
Minneapolis, MN 55406
7429 East River Rd
Fridley, MN 55432
603 West 7th Street
Saint Paul, MN 55402