The Fifth Annual New Jersey Hot Dog Tour was another successful and enjoyable trip. Thank you to everyone who attended
and made this such a special day. For me it is the day I look forward to more than any other in the year.
Special thanks to Benzee who did a great job organizing the Tour, making travel arrangements, (we had 2 buses this year)
and handling all the details that go along with keeping a roster of attendees and collecting and keeping track of who
paid and how many seats to reserve, and doing a 50-50. The winner got $100.00. There were a bunch of good door prizes
as well. Thanks to Coney Island Lou for helping with the 50-50, designing the Tour tee shirts and making the name tags.
It's nice to be able to have the names of everyone and who they came with. John Hughes came with 9 people! Thank you to
ScreenBear who helped with the directions. I plan a route for the trip, but he was able to come up with a few shortcuts
that saved us time. He also helped out in a big way. I contact all the places right before the Tour to remind them that
we will be coming and to make sure that they have enough people on hand to accomodate our large group. A few days before,
I couldn't locate the phone number for Dee's Truck. I drove to her house, but she wasn't home. ScreenBear went to her
truck Friday to remind her. Good thing, because she thought we were coming the following week.
Thanks to our bus drivers who once again did a fantastic job driving through some narrow streets and parking in places
that were difficult to park in.
A very special thank you to the people who own and run the places that we visited. I speak with them to give them an
idea of how many are coming and when we will be arriving so that they can better prepare for us. When we leave one stop
I call ahead to the next. Each place did an excellent job serving us. They made sure they had enough people on hand, had the
dogs prepared fresh and quickly, and in some cases, had space reserved for us. Thanks to them, everything ran smoothly.
We have been fortunate in that almost every place we've gone to in five years has done very well serving us. The one
or 2 who didn't were made aware of it by me and some of you via this forum. Thanks also to the people who worked at
the 6 establishments we visited. Everyone was cheerful and worked very hard to provide excellent service. All without
exception deserve our business.
Not only was service great, but the hot dogs we sampled were as well. I always ask for a show of hands on the ride
back for a favorite place. In the past, one or two places seemed to get the majority of votes. This year, at least on
my bus, you couldn't determine which was a clear favorite. The same amount of hands went up for each place. The
majority of people I spoke with said they were all good in their own way. Some did have clear cut favorites. Much of
the fun for me is hearing attendees voice their opinions. Especially when they've eaten at a place for the first time.
Every year there are new faces. I love hearing someone describe eating an Italian Hot Dog for the first time. And I
love seeing the weird (at least to me) combinations that they put together. For example, one guy ordered an Italian
Hot Dog but requested that a beef and pork dog be put in it rather than the common beef dog. Another person ordered a
hot dog at the Windmill California style (lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise).
We started at the Galloping Hill Inn in Union:
and to meet us. He's never been there while we were having a Tour. He didn't come by yesterday but he did call and tell his employees to not charge us for anything. Our group ate for free! Thank you, Jimmy Thomas! In this economy there are not too many businesses that can afford to do this. A very generous thing to do. Any establishment appreciates exposure generated from a newspaper article, review, television appearance, or a Tour like ours. It's good publicity and helps bring in customers which is why these places are in business. Yet the Galloping Hill Inn made no extra money from us since everything was compted. Next time you visit the Galloping Hill Inn, make sure to show your appreciation.
Next was Dees Hut.
but her homemade spicy onions were a favorite. The dogs were hot, delicious, with a good snap. Many people mentioned to me that they loved her dogs. For some, they were the favorite of the day. Dee usually works alone, but yesterday she had her daughter-in-law help. They both did a fantastic job pumping out dogs quickly. A good stop in a nice area.
Our next stop was the Windmill in Westfield.
The dogs have the right amount of char, perfect temperatue, great snap, and nice texture. Not to mention delicious. It was one of my 2 favorite dogs of the day. A few people told me it was their favorite of the Tour with one guy proclaiming it the best dog he's ever eaten. Thank you to Aaron Levine for coming by to help organize things, making sure that there were enough dogs on the griddle, and helping to insure that we were served quickly. Aaron's family owns most of the Windmill restaurants The chili here is very good. It's more like a Mexican style chili than a common Texas Weiner type chili. Good luck to Aaron in his plans to expand the Windmill.
Manny's Texas Weiners in Union was next.
Jimmy Buff's East Hanover restaurant was next.
yesterday was the first time they've eaten one. Not everyone likes Italian style, but everyone I spoke with who had one yesterday for the first time loved it. As did those who have them frequently. Jimmy's chili was very popular. It was the favorite of many, if not most of the attendees. It was my favorite along with Bubba's, which was our next stop. It is best described as bolognese, which is an Italian style of meat sauce. Beefy, tasty, and mildly spicy. I had the footlong, or Syd's dog. Looking to pace myself, I chose this over the Italian dog in order to save room for the next stop. All the dogs today were exceptional, but I especially enjoyed the footlong here as well as the Windmill's dog. Jimmy charbroils the footlong, but with a twist. It is heated in the oil first. This gives it a unique taste and texture. I love this dog with just mustard. But the chili is so good here that I put it on half my dog. Instead of putting it on the dog, Jimmy Buff's gives you a small cup so that you can apply it yourself. Once again, Jimmy Buff's got rave reviews for their hot dogs. Uncle Buck from New York had an Italian Hot Dog for the first time and couldn't stop talking about how good it was. Jimmy also provided free soda, beer, and water. Thank you!
Last, but not least was Bubba's. Located in Lyndhurst.
|They have only been in business since early 2007. They were reviewed in the New Jersey Hot Dog Thread. A small cozy place with a nice atmosphere. Bubba's also serves a few different types of dogs. They make an Italian Hot Dog that is authentic and very good. Potatoes are in chunks rather than sliced thin. They serve the Syd's dog. It is prepared on a charcoal grill and is every bit as good as Syd's was. I would have had it here, as it is my favorite out of their offerings, but I had already had one at Jimmy Buff's. In addition to the 2 dogs mentioned,|
Bubbas's offers a dirty water Sabrett and a ripper. The ripper is the Thumann's dog for deep frying that is used at Rutt's Hut, Hiram's, Libby's, and others in North Jersey. At Bubba's it is fried in peanut oil. Bubba's also serves a dog with cheese and jalapeno peppers that they get from a butcher shop. I had it in the past. Different, but too spicy for me. I remembered how good Bubba's chili was, so I ordered a ripper (milder pork/beef dog) which is a good base for a chili dog. Bubba's was the only place today serving the ripper (Thumann's deep fryer. They do a good job cooking it right. I enjoyed my chili dog. They put a lot on and it was delicious. This chili contains ground beef, pork, bacon, and beer. It's nice and thick with just the right amount of spice for a spicy chili. A lot of people loved the chili here. And the dogs. I believe Signman liked the charbroiled (Syd's) dog the best on the Tour. I don't usually eat fries on these Tours in order to save room for hot dogs. But since I had room left over, I had some fries. They were delicious. Hand cut and similar to Five Guys. They were easily the favorite fries of those who ordered them on the Tour. A number of people raised their hands for Bubba's when I asked for favorite place. As I said earlier, the votes for favorite place were more evenly distributed this year than any other. A lot of people I spoke with said they couldn't determine a favorite dog since they were all so good. I would have to agree. On any given day I could enjoy one of these dogs more than another because I might be in the mood for a particular dog or style. Sometimes I crave a German style beef and pork dog. Other times a snappy, spicy, dirty water dog. Or an Italian Hot Dog. Or a Texas Weiner. Or.......
Sharon is the owner of Bubba's, which is named after her son Bubba. Bubba works there as well as Sharon's daughter. They all did a very good job serving us. Sharon had extra people on hand to help us. She was a great hostess and her staff was pleasant and hard working. We really made out well today. Everyone provided great service and food.
Thanks again to everyone for making this a fun day. Let's do it again. And let's see some pictures and get some opinions.
Edited by - John Fox on 12/17/2006 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Coordinating this event with two busses became a rather daunting task this year so we will go back to one bus next year, a 55 passenger Motorcoach that will be reserved tommorrow for Sat. Sept 26th , 2009. This date is good with John and Lou. The 12th is in my opinion too close to 9 11 with rememberance services held that weekend, and the 19th is a Jewish Holiday for our friends of that religion.
Also after talking to Dennis our Driver today about another trip I'm running for the K of C , In 2009 their will be a no alcohol policy on the busses for any trips, so no adult beverages next year on the bus for those that care to partake in such sudsy livations .
As for the tour, as most know I had lapband bariatric surgery done on March 6th and am no longer able to enjoy the food that has become such a great part of this trip. Down 90 pounds so far , thanks to all for the kind words on my weight loss. I therefore concentrated on making new friends and enjoying the company of old friends and new alike . I amazed myself how much I enjoyed the trip and did not feel left out at all. The few stops I was able to enjoy some spoonfuls of Chili made it extra special . Thanks to GHI and owner Jimmy and George Thomas we had a nice surprise when folks started ordering their dogs at the first stop. On the house was heard throughout. Fantastic !!!! Although the counter man seemed shocked I only had a soda, I was not about to explain my dilemma and I enjoyed everyone else with pleasant smiles on their faces. Next time I'm in the area or heading to AC I will stop in and say thanks, order a dog for the wife and a lunch for my son. I urge everyone else to do so also because their are not many places left like Galloping Hill Inn that would or could do that for us in this economic climate.
Next up was Dees and she was wonderful to meet, her daughter in law was helping out for the day and the line went fast, great job . And thanks for the fine cup of chili , had a great taste .
The Windmill also did a fine job with owner Aaron overseeing the operation that day. Another cup of fine chili, the dogs looked great and their were more than a few who had previously been there, along with Ken, who were pleasantly surprised.
Manny himself is a one of a kind person. He greeted each one outside and thanked us for coming and played the part of part celeb/ host very nicely . I think he sold out of all his shirts at $5.00 each, a big discount for our group. Wonder who enjoyed this more Manny, our group, the other customers, or his employees who loved the photos they were asked to get in .Thank you again Manny !!!!
Next up was the one and only Jimmy Buffs. One word Fanrtastic!!! As was last year rave reviews on the food and atmosphere . Jimmy himself took orders and manned the cash register. We were ushered into the back party room where complimentary drinks flowed and we held a raffle with Jimmy pulling out the winning ticket. Thanks to Mike Refinski who won and donated a portion back for the drivers tips. Many great compliments were heard on the Italian Dogs . You can see Jimmy and John Fox on the Travel Channel show " Hot Dog Paradise". As a matter of fact some of the scenes were filmed in the same room we were in . Great Job and thanks again Jimmy !!! Remember to thank him and his staff on your return trip .
Last was Bubbas and talking to Sharon the owner who was on sight was great. They handled our large crowd and had sufficient staff on hand like all the stops did. The small cup of chili I had was great, really different. Thanks again another great stop. Back to GHI and the group picture and a few raffles .
2008 New Jersey Hot Dog Tour
It was great talking to folks like John Sagi who had nice containers for the chili and who offered his homemade samples to a few of us to enjoy and critique. Signman who once again came all the way from Baltimore MD, and original Tour veteran who even showed Coney Island Lou his name tag from the first tour in 2004 . Next year I'm sure Lou will have his name tag premade like some others that were done. Hope he can make it six in a row !! Screenbear, who is always a pleasure to talk to and discuss the dogs eaten at each place. Brooklyn Bill, Ginny and the O'Connors, The Puros, Harriet and friend, MrPhil and friends, Ken, Bad Dog and friends, Fontaine, Joe Rogo, Mike and Todd, The Hughes gang, and of course Ellen, Natalie and friend and everyone else that joined us for this trip . Dennis and Joanie did a great job driving through the streets of Jersey.
Edited by - Benzee on 09/21/2008 21:56:37 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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The Gourmet Chili Dog
120 Brookline Avenue
Somerset, NJ 08873
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