Steppin’ Out – Chili Today, Hot Tamale

shoestring-santaRuss Salazar kept asking me why we didn’t go back to Shoestring, on Broadway in Placerville, and retry a Chili Dog (I prefer it with cheese, but he doesn’t. He says cheese doesn’t belong on chili). So, a couple of weeks ago he met me there just to have one.

We usually have two different sandwiches and have them cut in two, so we can share them and comment, so we looked over the menu.
He thought we should also try a pastrami, but I told him if we were going to do chili, we should try the Chili (Cheese) Tamale. He had never had one, and had recently been experimenting with tamales at his home, so he agreed.

The lovely ladies at Shoestring cut them both in two, putting cheese on my half, and served them to us.

There was no disagreement between us. The bun on the Chili Dog was perfectly steamed, the dog had the taste and snap you look for and the chili, lots of it and delicious (I don’t count the napkins I use anymore).

As I mentioned, Russ had never tried the Chili Tamale and his first comment was, “That’s a good tamale.” He’s right, they use a very good, full-of-meat tamale and the chili (and cheese) really complements it.

Well, we thought it would be a good idea to compare at least the chili dog to another one and, after running a few places through our minds, we decided to try a place just down Broadway that has lots of different kinds of chili dogs, Wienerschnitzel.

Recently they have been pushing five new chili cheese dogs, so we figured it would be a great time to do a comparison.

We went there with the intention of ordering three and splitting them, but when Russ saw they are featuring grilled bratwurst as a Oktoberfest special, he decided we had to try one of those and just two chili dogs.

Along with the brat with kraut on a pretzel roll (an upgrade), we had to choose two chili dogs from the list which includes: several regular chili dogs, the Loaded Bacon Street Chili Cheese Dog, Buffalo Bacon Chili Cheese Dog, The Works Chili Cheese Dog, Triple Cheese Double Bacon Chili Dog and the Bacon Ranch Chili Cheese Dog.

20080708_wienerschnitzelWe decided on the Loaded Bacon Street Dog, which comes with chopped bacon, mustard, ketchup, mayo, and grilled onions and The Works Dog, which comes with mustard, sliced tomato and a pickle spear.

We upgraded these to their all beef dog (nice and solid, but skinless), but kept the regular bun.

We both started with the grilled brat. The pretzel roll was made for this sandwich: steamed, but still a little bit chewy with a great taste. Everything about it tasted good and Russ thought it was perfect finger food.

Our next adventure was The Works Dog.

I like their all beef dog and I just happen to also like mustard, sliced tomato and a pickle spear. Add a poppy seed bun, celery salt, relish and a sport pepper and you have a Chicago Dog, which is one of my favorites.

The dog was good, the bun was good, but it was not finger food. Messy, very messy. Fortunately they give you a knife and fork. Their chili is okay, a bit sweet, but okay.

The Loaded Bacon Street Dog was good. Anything is good with bacon on it. It too was messy, several napkins messy. The grilled onions were a nice touch, but you are not supposed to have ketchup on a hot dog if you are over 16 years of age, at least that is what I have been told. Mayo? The jury is still out on that one.

milkRuss orders milk most of the time we go on these eating adventures. Shoestring served it in a cup, Wienerschnitzel had those plastic, seven ounce bottles (why not 8 ounces? Maybe for the same reason that tuna comes in five ounce cans).

He told me that he “boycotts” restaurants that don’t serve milk, which was a surprise to me and worth putting in this column.

He went on to tell me that recently he stopped at a burger place on the other side of town and asked if they had milk. They said they made milkshakes, so they had milk. He ordered his burger, but then, a few minutes later they told him, no, you can’t get milk.

“I said to them ,” he told me, “this is a family restaurant, what do you have for kids to drink? Soda, was their answer. I just turned around an left, even though I had ordered.”

By the way, Wienerschnitzel no longer serves my favorite sandwich, Pastrami. Frank, the manager, told us the price of pastrami went up so much they stopped serving it.

Shoestring, at 1320 Broadway, is open daily from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. They can be reached at (530) 622-7125.

Wienerschnitzel, at 1365 Broadway, is open daily from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. (11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday). They can be reached at (530) 295-8255

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