Can Show Dogs learn new tricks?

This weekend, I ate a lot of fries. I didn’t set out with this goal in mind*, but Sunday evening early Monday morning, after H. and I had taken the last BART back from Oakland and were staving off potential hangovers with Flamas Doritos and Cheetos (his/mine, respectively), I realized that I’d eaten fries twice in as many days. How is possible? The only reasonable explanation is that my diet lacks sufficient sodium and my desire to eat so many fries is really my body’s way of telling me that I need more salt. Problem solved!

One of my two fry incidents was sponsored, in part, by Show Dogs (approx. Market and 6th). H. and I have walked by this place countless times; once, we almost stopped in, declining in favor of lunch at Westfield’s food court. Saturday, though, was Show Dogs’ day; en route to the mall, Hook and I dropped in for lunch.

Fact: I have 2.5 sausage moods. What is a sausage mood, you ask? I’ll tell you: it is a mood during which I’m craving a certain type of sausage. Most typically, I’ll be in the mood for bratwurst (my all-time favorite). That’s Mood 1. Mood 2 calls for a hot dog (slathered in ketchup, mustard, relish, and kraut) purchased from a street vendor. If possible, a Chicago dog should be purchased. Mood 2.5 is a bit more complex; it can best be described as an intermediate state during which I crave sausage but do not crave either a brat or a hot dog. Typically, to sate the cravings of Mood 2.5, I’ll eat Andouille or a random chicken sausage of some sort.

All of this description is a precursor to my statement that on Saturday, I was in an Undefined Mood. I kind of wanted a corn dog, but then again, I could have been persuaded to try the Wild Boar sausage. I was kind of wishy-washy. On a whim, I ordered the 49er All-Beef Schwartz Dog, which comes topped with house mustard, house sauerkraut, and arugula. As you already know, I also got fries — BBQ fries, to be precise. When I placed my order, I, too was unsure about what “BBQ fries” actually were, but the unclarity has since been resolved: they are fries sprinkled with seasoning powder akin to that coating BBQ chips.

The 49er All-Beef Schwartz Dog and BBQ fries.

As we waited for our food, Hook and I watched the junkies stagger down Market, pushing their shopping carts and howling profanities. We watched the shock-faced tourists veer widely around the junkies, looking scared shitless but straining to appear nonchalant. It’s a bold move, opening an upscale sausage shop in the ‘Loin. Kudos to Show Dogs’ management team for braving the neighborhood’s reputation.

After what seemed to be an exceedingly long wait (15 minutes or more, by my estimate), our meals arrived. Served in paper-lined trays, our sausages leaned into massive haystacks of fries. I dug the hell in.

In this case, appearances were deceptive: my Show Dog didn’t live up to its glossy appearance. The fries, which looked like they’d be crisp and piping hot, were lukewarm and soggy. Like, totally and inexcusably soggy — fry after fry, I could not convince myself that these taters were done. (Hook’s fries were similarly lame.) The hot dog was, quite honestly, bland and oilier than usual. Normally stoked for sauerkraut, I was let down by Show Dogs’ house made version: wide-cut strips of barely fermented cabbage. Hook reported that his food, too, was bland; not terrible — just not memorable. Certainly not worth $16.

Bottom line: there are too many awesome sausage venues in SF to warrant (and I mean really warrant) a return trip to Show Dogs. On the other hand, I don’t want to write off the place due to what may have been a fluke bad day. We all have bad days, right? Show Dogs, I cast a wary eye in your direction, but I’ll give you a second chance. I’m a sucker for redemption.

***

*Or maybe it was in my mind subconsciously: I DON’T KNOW!

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