A Hot Dog For Everyone!

Sure, you can indulge in hot dogs any time of year, but for some reason munching on these babies just feels right in the summer. From the beloved dirty-water dogs to gourmet frankfurters, hot dogs are everywhere, and tomorrow, they get showcased at the 7th Annual Great Hot Dog Cookoff in Brooklyn. This instance, it’s not just amateur cooks competing; for the first time the competition features professional chefs from Gramercy Tavern, Mile End, Marlow and Daughters, and The Meat Hook. Of course, the pedestrian dogs are fun, too, and come with whimsical names like The Dogfather, You Had Me at Swine, and the 99 Percent Dog. There are 25 total entries, and guests can wash down the hot dogs with KelSo Beer Company’s Belgian Pale Ale and Pilsner while bopping to DJ Rabbi Darkside. Proceeds go to the Food Bank for New York City and the amateur chefs have procured their organic beef dogs courtesy of Applegate Farms.

Can’t make the cook-off? Well there are plenty of other ways to get your hot dog on. One of my favorite joints is Crif Dogs, which has locations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the East Village (famously the doorway to PDT), and serves a bacon-wrapped hot dog with avocado and sour cream that’s to die for. Bark Hot Dogs in Park Slope, Brooklyn is another good option for you sausage lovers who can get down with a classic sweet-relish-topped hot dog. Also in the neighborhood is Dogmatic, which features “good for you” dogs with additive-free meat. Plus, they offer the vegetarian-friendly asparagus “hot dog” that you can get topped with truffle Gruyere cheese sauce. But, if you gourmet hot dogs aren’t your thing, I suggest passing up the hot dog cart and instead heading to one the many Gray’s Papaya and Papaya Kings, where the frankfurters there have a following. And, at under $3, you really can’t go wrong.

The Ultimate CMJ Neighborhood Guide: Our Top Recommendations

Mapping out a schedule for the CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival is an overwhelming logistical nightmare. Over five days, bands and DJs all over Manhattan and Brooklyn perform for 20 to 60 minutes a pop, and the marathon keeps going. Un, deux, trois, bang, bang, bang. So if you are at a loss for where to begin, here’s a proverbial play-list that includes recommendations on what to see, and where to unwind, wind-up, and grab a bite between sets. We had to restrain ourselves a little, so check under Williamsburg, the East Village, and the Lower East Side for the best this weekend has to offer (starting tonight).

Lower East Side

Acts to Catch: Thursday: Sun Airway, 10:45 PM at Piano’s Light Pollution, 9:00 PM at Cake Shop The Feens, 10:00 PM at Crash Mansion Friday: K Flay, 9:00PM at Fat Baby Saturday: Neon Indian, 8:00 PM at Bowery Ballroom Miracles of Modern Science, 11:00 PM at Fat Baby BRAHMS, 12:00 AM at Piano’s

Where to Hide Between Sets: The Back Room Gallery Bar Painkiller

Where to Find Nourishment: Antibes Bistro Freeman’s Frankie’s Sputino Les Enfants Terribles Schiller’s Georgia’s East Side BBQ

If You Need to Trash a Hotel Room: The Hotel On Rivington Thompson LES

THE EAST VILLAGE/ALPHABET CITY

Tune-Age: Thursday: Two Door Cinema Club, 9:00 PM at Webster Hall Caveman, 10:15 PM at Lit Lounge Lawrence Arabia, 10:50 PM at Bowery Electric Friday: Hall of Justus, Kosha Dillz, Rebelmatics + special guests, 12:00 AM–3:00 AM at Bowery Poetry Club Designer Drugs, 1:30 AM at Webster Hall Saturday: Care Bears on Fire, 7PM at Bowery Poetry Club

Where to Sip: Heathers The Cabin Down Below Holiday Cocktail Lounge Where to Fill-Up: Artichoke Basille Pizza & Brewery The Bourgeois Pig Crif Dogs Hummus Place Whitmans Veselka

Where to Crash: Cooper Square Hotel

WILLIAMSBURG

The Music: Thursday: Soft Black, 10:00 PM at Union Pool The Blow, 10:30 PM at Music Hall of Williamsburg Friday: Priestess, 10:30 PM at Union Pool Kids of 88, 11:00 PM at Trash Bar Everything Everything, 11:30PM at the Music Hall of Williamsburg Saturday: The Class Machine, 11:45 at Trash Bar

Grub: El Diablo Taco Truck Zenkichi Walter Foods Kenny’s Trattoria

A (Maybe) Low Key Drink: Hotel Delmano Royal Oak Fresh Kills Clem’s

Sleep it Off: Hotel Le Jolie

Roadfood vs. BlackBook

imageRoadfood is fairly self-explanatory. It’s an online hub for reviews about food on the road. The content is mostly geared towards one-off roadside stands and local mom n’ pop style eateries. It’s best for that road trip across America that you always wanted to take. However, they’ve managed to creep in some reviews of places that are located inside big cities, and coincidentally, they’ve covered a few spots that are on our list. I’d like to do a little side by side comparison to see who really manages to nail the vibe of the place:

A Salt & Battery (West Village) We said: “Perfect fish ‘n’ chips wrapped in London newspaper spotted with grease.” They said: “A British favorite, done right, in NYC.” Winner: BlackBook. Reference to greasy newspapers always win.

Crif Dogs (East Village) We said: “Dingy little dog shack with authentic East Village ‘tude and that bar you’re not supposed to tell anyone about in back.” They said: “If you’ve got the munchies, Crif can probably satisfy your craving. ” Winner: Tie. BlackBook clearly has the advantage with the bar reference, but Roadfood manages to slip in a maryjane call, so it’s a tough one.

Dessert Truck (Greenwich Village) We said: “Tasty treats truck. No, seriously, that’s it.” They said: “Warm, gooey, bittersweet, crunchy, lush, and impossible to stop eating: pure heaven!” Winner: Roadfood. Though a bit overzealous with the descriptions, I’ll give them points for making me want to try it out.

Economy Candy (Lower East Side) We said: “This is why we have so many goddamn cavities.” They said: “A Lower East Side institution.” Winner: BlackBook. Clearly, cavities win.

Gray’s Papaya (Greenwich Village): We said: “Bring your allowance to worship at this dog dais, where four bills and change covers a drink and a double wiener bounty.” They said: “One with kraut and one naked.” Winner: BlackBook, by an inch. They said naked, but we said wiener.

I’m biased, but I think BlackBook emerges as the clear victor here. Roadfood does, however, have an advantage with all the food porn shots on their site, but to that I say — where’s your iPhone app? Huh?