There comes a time in every woman’s life when she throws down the tasting menu. She bids farewell to calorie counting and she hits the open road.
This period of bliss won’t last long, but she should enjoy it while she can.
If she is very lucky, she will end up at Super Duper Weenie – no, this is not the beginning of an erotic novel blog post.
Sorry to get your hopes up.
It is the beginning of my favorite hot dog in the Northeast.
Fairfield CT, about 45 minutes north of NYC, has been home to the Super Duper Weenie since 1992. That is when Gary Zemola bought what was then the iconic, hot dog shaped truck. He started to churn out delicious hot dogs with home-made toppings, freshly cut fries, and other all-American fare. After several brushes with fame, Zemola made the move to a permanent home.
Don’t expect waiter service. Just line up, place your order, and grab a seat at the counter or in the adjoining room. Don’t be surprised if it’s Gary himself taking your order – he isn’t just the owner here, he is chef and maitre d’hotel as well.
Be sure to get there early. The place fills up and there is a line by 11:15AM.
This is the weenie that every Super Duper Weenie virgin should order. The beef and pork dog is cut open then griddled so that each bite is crisp outside and juicy within. It is topped with tangy sauerkraut, sweet relish, salty bacon and the eye-opening pop of raw onion. Nestled in a squishy potato bun, it isn’t that the toppings are so outrageous, it is that they are so high quality. The hot dogs are locally made with natural casings. The relish is made in house. The toppings are layered so that the hot dog can be eaten with ease, some topping in each bite. The combination of construction and ingredients is precise and deliberate. It is savory, juicy, tangy, and toasty all at once. It is the way that I wish the hot dogs of my youth tasted.
To know this hot dog is to love it. The flavors are loud and brash, with smoke, garlic, and cayenne pepper hitting your palate the second you take a bite. Juicy and plump, the sausage is buried under kraut and pungent mustard. This could be too smokey or too sour, but the sweet relish tempers that beautifully. It brings a high, fresh note to the hot dog that catapults it to higher status. This might have been my favorite dog, if it hadn’t been for…
This is the hot dog to end all hot dogs. The pork and beef frank is succulent as ever, but it is crowned by the chili of my dreams. The chili sauce is thin with a bit of heat, the sweetness of caramelized onions, and enough salt to make the chili taste truly beefy, like a char-grilled hamburger. The cabbage coleslaw is dressed in a thick mayonnaise sauce. It is creamy and crunchy, the perfect foil for the peppery chili. This was improved only by a light application of piquant mustard. I could have eaten a thousand of these.
This Cincinnati style chili is filled with oregano, pepper, and a bit too much cinnamon for my taste. Don’t get me wrong – it was still tasty, especially with shreds of sharp cheddar cheese, but after the Dixie, nothing was really going to thrill me quite the same way.
Except, of course, for some truly sensational French fries. Fresh cut and sprinkled with salt and pepper, they are just great french fries: crunchy, with creamy insides and a pleasant oily sheen. The pepper adds a pleasant heat that kicks the whole experience up a level.
The other aspect that really brings this experience to a new level is the service. People here really love what they do. Gary had no idea that I write about food. Lorin a partner, manning the grill, didn’t care why I was taking photos. They didn’t have to walk us through the menu, asking us what our tastes were, selecting the hot dogs for us. They didn’t have to kibbitz with us, joking around like we were old friends. Gary certainly didn’t have to cut us off a piece of his own breakfast, a homemade chicken sausage, just because he thought we would like it (it was, by the way, phenomenal). But…they did. They could tell that we were foodies and were thrilled to have us there. They wanted us to have the best hot dogs of our lives, and they certainly succeeded – I defy you to find a better meal for under $5. Super Duper Weenie isn’t just worth a visit if you are in town. It si worth a special trip. Get the Dixie Dog, an order of fries, and sit yourself down for one incredible meal.
That’s what she said