Welcome back to school, and please let me be the first to insincerely ask you, “Hey, how was break?” and reply “Sounds cool, must have been relaxing!” To be honest, like most other people on campus, I don’t care what you got up to in your free time; how awkward or enjoyable your high school friend interaction was, how unbearable your parents were, or how much you were freaking out about graduation. But, I do insist that you care about, and listen intently to, what I got up to over my vacation.
50 Cent once titled a film (with a glorious 17% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” and there is nothing that makes one more aware of one’s own mortality and minimal wealth than an internship. Hey, a senior’s got to hope he’ll be able to eat come May, and hope that he won’t have to eat come come May à la Deuce Bigelow Male Gigolo (23% on Rotten Tomatoes). Therefore, I did some interning, and also flew to California, where my 50 Cent movie knowledge was less well received, encouraging me to stop espousing interesting Fiddy factoids, fearing reproach from a West Coast grizzly, or maybe one of Fiddy’s unsatisfied biddies who didn’t get to “suck him dry lol.” However, everything non-phallic that crossed my lips in the state, namely everything, was, although lovely to consume, nothing that qualified for documentation in the Culinary Contrarian.
More fruitful was my more recent trip was to Michigan, which in itself is something of a contrarian destination, given the fact that the temperature is such that a moment outside feels like Shackleton breathing into your soul, or cooler than a polar bear’s toenails (N.B. people in the Midwest like Outkast more than people in California like 50 Cent, but this may be a universal phenomenon). ATLiens aside, I did get to visit an iconic spot for the musical mastery of Michigan, namely, Detroit.
It was my first time visiting Detroit, and I had only just stopped pronouncing the city’s name with a heavy French accent (Detrwah) when I rolled into the city limits with my homies in our tricked out Subaru whip. As usual, upon arrival, a multitude of hoes was hollerin’ purely at the sight of our luxury vehicle. Hoes deflected, and car locks erected, we elected to try a local specialty, the Coney dog. The establishment I visited called “Detroit One” was a low-key spot, a classic diner feel with casual yet welcoming staff. I perused the menu, and at once gained a significant respect for a man named “Frank.” Numerous entries that carried his name were outrageously unhealthy versions of a number of classic American dishes. I looked lustfully at Frank’s Coney, a hotdog served with chili, squeeze cheese, two slices of bacon, mustard, and onions. I looked around for a R.I.P. memorial plaque for Frank and those who had followed his caloric crusade, but could find none. Somewhat reassured, I put my order in for one regular Coney, and one Frank’s Coney.
The hotdog was quite unbelievable. The bun contained so much material that upon picking it up, some squeeze cheese (which, as I understand, is a perpetually liquid cheese product) dripped onto my regular Coney dog. Seeing such culinary expansionism intimidated me; one of my frankfurters was seeking lebensraum. I resolved to stop it with my military implements of cutlery, even though I might sleep in a food coma after my non-appeasement policy. (FYI: This is a convoluted reference to JFK’s book Why England Slept, and the fact that I am English.)
The chili was the most prominent taste in the bun. It was salty and smooth, with a touch of spice, and the morsels of beef that played on the taste buds nicely. The bacon didn’t really add too much to the overall taste, and seemed almost like it was there for shock/heart attack value, and, to be fair, it performed this role quite well. Squeeze cheese was of some importance in the overall flavor palette, but it’s contribution in textural terms was more notable, as it aided the lubrication required to fit a large, overstuffed hot dog into one’s mouth.
I finished both hot dogs, despite repeated warnings from my body that I should not. In the car afterwards, I fell asleep within about 5 minutes making noises described by my friends as “a fat man exercising” and feeling like I was drunk on the excessive number of calories I had consumed.
If you’re ever in the D and want a Hot D, check out Detroit One. The service is friendly, and they may even tell you a sweet joke before obliterating your intestines with a great Coney dog.