Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Yeah, so, I went back to Hill Billy Hotdogs and got pictures.
You want to see pictures?
I'm sure you are dying to see pictures.

So, we went in, sat down and ordered our food, we ordered different hot dogs than last time but, I'll get to that in a minute, I want to tell you a story first. There we are sitting in a booth by the window and they have a mannequin dressed like a 1970's hooker sitting on a picnic table outside. Well, a thin man, probably late thirties, walks by and starts flirting with her. He was probably the most awesome guy I'll ever have the pleasure of meeting through a window so I just wanted to give him a shout-out with this quick story, and yes, he was probably a crack addict but I don't discriminate when it comes to good senses of humor.

Back to what we ordered, I ordered an Out Wayne dog which is a hot dog topped with nacho cheese, chili sauce, bacon, onions, and jalepenos (the jalepenos they use in their dishes are always pickled ones which doesn't bother me in the slightest but I just thought I'd clear that up for any of you thinking they were using fresh) and a steak dog which is topped with Bold and Spicy A-1 sauce, ketchup, onions, and chili sauce. Both were equally delicious and I'm not quite sure which one was my favorite although I am thinking now that is was the Out Wayne dog since I was left wishing there was more steak sauce on my steak dog since I thought that the taste was a little too subtle for my liking.

My boyfriend ordered Rahall's Red Hot Weenie which their menu describes as "on toasted hot dog bun, a grilled spicy mettswurst and nacho cheese piled high with sauteed peppers & onions, jalapenos, hot mustard, then topped with saurkraut - GIT-R-DUN!" and the Thundering Herd Dog which is topped with habanero sauce, nacho cheese, chili sauce, jalepenos, onions, and slaw. His favorite of those two was the Thundering Herd dog and I have to agree it was really damn good the slaw helped to take a little of the heat out of the habenero sauce and make it more like eating something spicy and delicious and less like eating pure fire.

We also of course ordered those orgasmic garlic ranch fries topped with what I'm assuming from how it tastes is home-made ranch dressing, shredded cheese, nacho cheese, and garlic seasoning. Oh, and for an extra buck you can add real bacon to the mix which is what I opt for since I think the smoky bacon really add that last little needed something to the dish.

Those heavenly garlic ranch fries. I snapped the picture before the shredded cheese had time to melt but, trust me, two minutes later that cheese was melted and it was an ooey gooey lovely french fry experience.

My dogs.

The boy's dogs.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

How To Train Your Hot Dog

So, it's Friday or, at least yesterday was, but, we are going to pretend like it's still Friday just so I don't have to write this full blog in past tense. Anyways, it's Friday and I could stay home and watch Jamie Oliver try to make Huntington, West Virginia healthy on his show on ABC pretentiously named Food Revolution or I could head to Huntington myself and boycott this so-called "food revolution" by visiting Hill Billy Hotdogs. How could one ever choose?

Well, since I grew up in small town West Virginia, less than an hour from Huntington, I chose to go back to my roots, scream "Bacon or Bust!" and watch a man try to down the three and a half pound Home Wrecker, which they just happen to serve with a large chef's knife, while stuffing my face as well. I already told my English friend he can take Jamie Oliver back before it's too late, but, I guess they actually like him over there and what he's done for the school system, healthy lunches for the kids and all that nice shit, so, what do I know. I just know he's getting a big fat paycheck for all his 'efforts'. I'm also bitter that West Virginia gets little to none publicity and when it does it's about how everyone eats too much bacon and has sex with their cousin. It's actually a really pretty place if you happen to like nature and there's really not as much inbreeding as people would like to think, yes, there is a heavy intake of pork products, but, hey, if you knew anything about the history of Appalachia you'd understand but, since you don't I'll just stop my preaching.

Look, now, I know this blog makes it sound like I'm terribly unhealthy and probably obsese but for the most part I eat healthy, greek yogurt, salads, soups, healthy choice meals and I even make sure to get enough fiber in my diet! Sounds like torture, doesn't it? Why would someone ever subject themselves to such hardships? Mainly so that I can gorge on super fattening foods every now and then without dying when I'm 32. I'm all about balence, ya' know? I also really kinda like greek yogurt. Yeah, I said it. But, you are never going to fully separate me and my bacon, even you Dr. Oz, I'll just eat a little less of it.

So, here I am/was, sitting at a table that would be better suited in an old hospital cafeteria than a restaurant and staring at Guy Fieri's hair, I mean face, plastered on the wall along with other odds and ends of photographs and trinkets. Some nice girl in her early twenties asks for our drink order and hands us some menus, I could go on about the cuteness of their menu but that's probably lame so I'm just going to move ahead and talk about the food we had, sadly, we forgot the camera at home so there will be no pictures but, I promise, I'll go back again. Hopefully I'll be able to visit the original in Lesage and get some pictures after another few weeks of health food hell and then you will be able to see what I'm saying.

My boyfriend, who wishes to someday attempt the Home Wrecker challenge, went light today/yesterday and ordered a half order of beer battered onion rings, a Hill Billy dog (deep fried hot dog with home-made chili sauce, mustard, and onions), and a Man Of Fire dog (topped with home-made chili sauce and what we are thinking is some kind of habenero sauce mixed with it). I ordered the garlic ranch fries after finding out that they are french fries topped with ranch, shredded cheese, nacho cheese, and garlic seasoning and I made West Virginians everywhere proud and added crumbled bacon to the mix. At around five bucks it seemed pretty expensive just for a plate of 'garlic ranch' fries but, it is more than enough to feed two to three people depending on how hungry they are so it balences out. I also ordered a West Virginia dog (a hot dog topped with home-made chili sauce, mustard, onions, and cole slaw) and a Nacho dog (hot dog topped with pickled jalapenos, home-made chili sauce, nacho cheese, and crushed tortilla chips).

Our food came out quick and hot and the first thing we dug into were those garlic ranch fries and oh my lord, we both exclaimed that it was one of the best things we have ever put into our mouths in our life and worth every dollar paid. It was a symphony of flavor and yes, I know that's cliche but I have no other way to explain it. Everything worked together, all the ingrediants complimented and played off each other, the ranch was tangy (I am thinking it was home-made, sure as hell didn't taste like that bland Hidden Valley crap), the cheese was, well, cheesy, there was just enough garlic seasoning to give a good garlic flavor but nothing too overwhelming, and the bacon added that last additional but very important flavor profile which I will call smokey goodness.

After we came back down from those fries we unwrapped our hot dogs from their aluminium foil wrapping and started to really eat. I first ate my West Virginia dog which reminded me of my childhood, yet, I did find myself wishing for more onions, I could barely taste them but, other than that, it was a delicious dog. The boy devoured his Man Of Fire dog in about three minutes flat and immediately started having to blow his nose. I was unluckily able to get a small bite and trust me, it was really hot. Even with the puny bite I had the heat took a good few mintues to subside. I couldn't imagine eating something that hot but, for you hot heads out there, it's definitely something to look into.

After our first round of hot dogs we moved on to try the next, the Hill Billy dog was good, I didn't think that the frying of the dog really added much but they have a great chili sauce so hey, we both still enjoyed it a lot. The last dog we ate was the Nacho dog, it turned out to be the boy's favorite, I couldn't really decide on a favorite but that Nacho dog sure did come close and I am not kidding when I tell you it really tasted like a plate of fucking nachos. It was weird and delicious all at once and the pickled jalapenos added nice flavor and a good amount of spice but, not too much to blow your head off.

Oh, and the onion rings are pretty damn decent as well, they have a sweetish taste to the breading and a half order is all one person needs. We shared everything we ordered because we are nice like that and sharing our future heart attack with each other is just so damned romantic.
My boyfriend and I have a mutual agreement, if we can leave a place fully stuffed but, not feel sick like we do after eating anything from Mc Donald's then it's most likely a place we are going back to and gives us a good idea of the quality of the food since you should never feel sick just three minutes after eating, never a good sign. They also claim to use trans fat free oil which is always a good sign.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience and I can't wait to go back and stick it to that smarmy Jamie Oliver and his food revolution all over again.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Os - tentatious

The world of food is full of people full of themselves. I aspire to someday hold that higly coveted executive chef title in a good restaurant but if I ever wish to reach that then I must submit myself to the fact that for a very long time I will be nothing more but yet another body or, how I like to call it, just another replaceable kitchen bitch. Outside of kitchen bitches with egos the other bothersome thing is home cooks who cook fancy things or at least think they cook fancy things, yet, have no formal training or ever worked a day in a professional kitchen but still feel somehow able to put down all those other home cooks who are not up to par cooking plain old lasagna to feed their family and buying up Rachael Ray cookbooks like the apocalypse is coming and it's the bible.

In the kitchen there is only room enough for the big man's ego and the big man doesn't care if you think that sauce would be better with some cranberries thrown in. Now, in the confines of your home, there may be room enough for your own ego but you just end up sounding silly because you aren't no fucking Eric Ripert, you are still just a home cook same as the mom cooking up her kids a batch of lasagna and there is nothing wrong with that in the slightest, but, there is something wrong with an unwarranted ego and until I'm the "big man" I'm going to do my best to stay as humble as humanly possible since I am just like you, no fucking Eric Ripert.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Marrow

Today was my first attempt at roasting marrow bones. My boyfriend brought home a bunch of five inch long bones and one long cut bone (five incher cut lengthwise in half). I followed the recipe that The Hungry Mouse had posted on her blog. Well, let's just say, I overestimated how much time I should let them roast (they were huge and for some reason I thought they would take as long as 40 minutes) and completely overcooked my first batch. They turned rock solid in the middle, yeah, no yummy fatty ooey gooey goodness was there to be had, so I then went on to roast the bone that he was able to have long cut, I roasted it in the oven on 450 degrees fahrenheit for ten minutes, this time the fat was mine, and they came out perfectly. I highly recommend either getting your bones trimmed down to around three inches, or getting them long cut, after making them long cut I find it is much easier to tell when they are done instead of having to guess if they are no longer pink in the middle, this way you can actually see. It wasn't a complete loss though, at least not for the dogs who got a delicious treat of overcooked marrow bones for a snack.

I served the bone marrow with toasted bread sliced from a french baguette, with roasted garlic, sea salt, cracked black pepper, lemon slices to squeeze over top, pan roasted cauliflower, and curly parsley. I will always recommend you use flat leaf parsley over curly since it has a lot more flavor, in my opinion, but, I live in a pretty rural area and all the stores had today was the curly. To say the least, the roasted bone marrow was smooth, buttery, meaty, and damned delicious. Next time I am going to try the parsley salad with capers and shallots to serve them with on top of the bread as long as the store gets some flat leaf parsley for me to use.

Since I am just like you, not rich, nor a chef, I have no fancy plates and I have a terribly unsteady hand so even though I use a pretty nice camera that was a Christmas gift to take photos with I still fail miserably so well, forgive the somewhat blurriness on the bone picture. Maybe this blog will inspire me to improve my food photography skills and get some prettier plates, but hey, I'm just a cook with a hankering for meat. (There's also a knife cut in my bone marrow, I got a little too hasty to eat, I had actually already eaten the other half before I took this picture so that is why you only see one bone) Also, with my marrow, some parts were a darkish brown and some parts were a lighter yellow color, it all tasted delicious so I wouldn't worry too much about it, I am thinking the darkish brown color is where blood had pooled up and cooked or just where some parts cooked more than others.

A lot of people may think it is gross to eat the marrow from the middle of a cow bone, hell, when I called my butcher yesterday to see if she had some she thought they were for my dogs and was pretty taken aback when I informed her I would actually be eating them myself and when my boyfriend tried to tell his friends what he was having tonight for dinner they reacted with a chorus of 'ews' not knowing what flavor bombs they might be missing out on. Bone marrow is like heaven, well, unless you are a vegetarian, then it might be more like hell, but you get what I mean. Americans too often let so many delicious parts of the animal go to waste and I hope for this blog to maybe help push people to try the parts of animals that we don't normally hear about eating, the parts that aren't ground up and made into hamburgers and to try other sources of meat that aren't chicken, cow, or pig. You see ground bison in your store, go ahead and pick it up, make it just like you would ground beef. I once took ground kangaroo and cooked it into a traditional shepherd's pie, it was delicious, reminiscent of beef yet leaner and spicier. Have some 'balls' and eat some testicles if you see them on a menu. Life should be about exploration and being adventurous. Like they say, waste not, want not.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Center

I guess I should take a moment to talk about my life-long relationship with meat. I never was a picky eater as a kid, hell, I ate my spinach without one complaint, but even then I knew what the really good stuff was. I'd deconstruct my lasagna with meat sauce just to get to that texture fest of ground beef where then I would have to eat every last bit of it before ever putting a fork-full of noodle into my mouth. As I got older my horizons began to expand, head first I dove into the world of meat, foie gras, rabbit, venison, bison, scrapple, pig's feet, roasted bone marrow, head cheese, raw anything, weird things plucked from the ocean. I wanted and still want it all.

As a meat eater I draw no lines to not eat something just because it is cute or because I see it before it's going to be butchered. I think those meat eaters are the worst of kinds, the ones who want to separate themselves and their consciences from the truth that the chicken nugget in their fat hands is from a chicken that was abused it's whole life and then killed (I doubt McDonald's is getting their massive chicken orders filled by local small town farmers with room to let the chickens roam outdoors in the fresh air and who feed them nothing but organic chicken feed). So, the least you could do is recognize the suffering the animal went through and be appreciative for it's 'sacrifice' that is directly benefiting you. It's when we distance ourselves from the food we are eating that we begin to forget that something died for our gain. I strongly believe that's a big mistake on our parts.

Now, I'm not saying we should all start raising and butchering our own meat again, although that would be a great way to control the quality of what is on our plates 100% of the time, but, what I am saying is that we need to be aware and thankful. We need to cherish the gift we were given by nature, the gift of meat, nurture the gift so that it may continue to nurture us. I call for responsible and compassionate meat eating, recognizing that the ground chuck in your freezer is really a dead animal, saying thanks, and giving it the respect it deserves by preparing it in the most tasty way possible.

This blog will be a blog of recipes, pictures, experimentations, rants, and stories about the love of my life, my soul-meat.