Not too long after I moved to Pittsburgh, I started going to D’s Six Pax & Dogz in Regent Square. Good beer, something new on tap with tremendous consistency, solid, flavorful hotdogs and exceptional fries. I’m probably there more often than I should be.
But there was always a line I wouldn’t cross. They have a macaroni and cheese dog.
This is a problem. I love macaroni and cheese. I also like hotdogs. Together, they create a weird double-starch problem in my head. Conceptual. Like a spaghetti sandwich or something. It also isn’t a place I would have guessed made a sublime and sinful macaroni and cheese, which I’d think would be mandatory to pull something like that off.
A deep-fried crispy hotdog with brown mustard and cole slaw — absolutely, yes. But not this.
Then the heckling began. People I know and like, saying such kind and supportive things like (and I paraphrase for comic effect, though not by as much as you might think):
Eat it, bitch.
What are you, some kind of dilettante nancyboy?
Wuss on a stick.
Put that meat in your mouth. Now.
It was a public shaming.
Maybe half the people I heard from told me how deeply awesome it is. The other half questioned my sanity at even considering putting such a thing in my mouth.
I’m not without my guilty pleasures. And I haven’t come across anything I wouldn’t at least try if someone told me is was good. I’m not adventurous for the sake of it, necessarily, but this involved a dare. And apparently my manhood.
So you see my dilemma. Or maybe you don’t. Which is also fine. But I knew I was going to eat the damn thing.
I also knew I couldn’t do it alone.
The main instigators and a couple other friends — along with my shaking-her-head wife — decided to join me in my moment of whatever it was my moment of. Triumph? Humiliation? Ignominy? Centered inner peace? Hell, maybe they were just there for the beer.
The thing arrived. Not quite what I was expecting. Someone told me D’s made its own macaroni and cheese, which perhaps it does — of a sort gooey, Velveeta-ish, viscous. Less than my thing.
I took a huge, absurd Guy Fieri bite, enough of one that I’m not sure I tasted much. Another bite — and yeah. Less than my thing.
So. I can say I ate it. And I can say happily that I’ll be back soon — for something else.