Sunday, December 03, 2006


Something I try to do is cut bad things out of my diet when possible. I don't go overboard, but given a choice, I will select dairy products from cows not given antibiotics or bovine growth hormones. I avoid heart-clogging transfats nowadays, and seek to limit my intake of products containing high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener.

Still, there are some guilty pleasures in life that I won't give up. One of those is my love for a good, authentic coney island hot dog. I have yet to find one in Colorado that measures up, despite my search for such a thing. Yet there are some places around this great nation where I know I can get a coney that measures up to my culinary standards of taste, texture, and consistency.

Our first stop on this weiner tour is Curtis Famous Weiners at 35 North Liberty Street in Downtown Cumberland, Maryland. Serving the appetites of Allegany County since 1918, this is your quintessential, hole-in-the-wall coney dog joint. When I lived in Cumberland in the early 1970s, I lived on two things...Diatri's cheesesteak subs and Curtis' hot dogs. Curtis' claims to be the oldest business still operating in Cumberland. Their coneys are a delight for the hot dog lover!

Next stop is the original Coney Island in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is another establishment with a history, having been in business since the 1920s. Here is my typical fare at the Tulsa Coney Island; 3 coneys with cheese, onions, & coney island chili, a bag of Frito's corn chips and a large Pepsi Cola. This is pure delight. The Tulsa dogs are commonly eaten with a dusting of ground cayenne pepper over the top.

Finally, we end our tour in Houston, Texas, home of James' Coney Island. James has gone from being a downtown hot dog place, to a multi-outlet chain in the Houston area. You can get everything from a Chicago dog with sport peppers, to a corn dog. Don't waste your time on those pretenders, however. Go for the original chili-cheese coney with onions.

I know there are other good coneys to be had in other places, but these three are my favorites!

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