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White Hot

April 8, 2019

One of the things I’ve learned from almost a decade of food blogging is that nobody wants to read about cocktails on Monday. So even though I’m burning to tell you all the details from Saturday’s cocktail competition, you’re just going to have to wait until Friday.

Today we’re going to talk about a related topic, which is all about food, but centers around a local bar named The Excelsior Pub.

In part that has to do with my recent outing there for their take on Rochester’s famous garbage plate. The other was the observation that after a night on the town, I’m likely to make this bar my last stop. And the proprietor’s love of New York’s regional foods is definitely part of the mix. Just recently, I upgraded my Yelp review of the spot to five stars.

My most recent visit there on Saturday night after the cocktail judging, only confirmed this assessment. And it gave me the chance to dig a little deeper into the menu. What I discovered was a sure fire way to improve upon the garbage plate.

Let’s review for a moment. There are dozens, if not hundreds of variations on the garbage plate. But from what I could tell, the classic version is crowned by two cheeseburgers slathered in “hot sauce” which is really like a spicy beanless chili. For me, at The Excelsior Pub, the burgers were the weakest link. It made me think that some type of hot dog would make for a better topping.

Jump forward to this past Saturday.

There I was at The Excelsior Pub. I had just judged a cocktail competition, I had mellowed out with a beer, played a round of pinball, and I was feeling a little peckish. I was told the griddle shuts down at midnight, and the fryer an hour later.

What I really didn’t want to do was have some gut busting food late at night before the Jewish Food Festival. And I also wanted to avoid the deep fat fried. So the garbage plate was out as were the new pizza logs. So were the saratoga chips tossed with buffalo sauce.

But a hot dog? That was fair game.

The Excelsior Pub has three different kinds of hot dogs on the menu, each representing different parts of New York. My knowledge of the state’s regional hot dogs is limited at best, although now I’m deeply curious to learn more. However, to put the options in their simplest form, you can get a classic pink hot dog, a red hot dog, or a white hot dog.

Those can be topped with either a Capital Region style hot dog chili sauce or the Rochester style hot sauce that is used on the garbage plate.

I went for a white hot, with Rochester sauce, and raw onions.

Despite having grown up in New York City with a deep love of dirty water dogs topped with mustard, sauerkraut, and relish. The white hot might now be my favorite hot dog. Full stop.

For the curious, these are Hoffman Snappy Grillers out of Syracuse, and they are made from pork, veal, egg white, and nonfat dry milk. So delicious. So comforting. And they are perfectly paired with that spicy meat sauce. As I was savoring every bite of my juicy tubesteak, I kept thinking about how good it would be on a plate of fried potatoes and macaroni salad.

While that may sound foul, I assure you that it is not.

With that one substantial hot dog in my belly, I was right as rain. It gave me the energy to play through another couple rounds of pinball, and make it home just in time to get enough sleep before the Jewish Food Festival.

Incidentally, at the festival, I was able to have the traditional pink hot dog of my people, with sauerkraut and mustard. And while it pains me to say this, it just fell flat. I think the white hots may have ruined me for other hot dogs. Thankfully, there was plenty of peppery pastrami to perk me up. And the cured salmon with a schmear of cream cheese on a bialy can cure even the greatest heartache.

Maybe The Excelsior Pub can work on getting some truly great bagels on the menu, even if just for a weekend brunch. But even still, I can’t wait to get back in there and order my next garbage plate with white hots. Although first, I have to work off the couple of pounds I gained this weekend.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Steph permalink
    April 8, 2019 11:39 am

    I think we need a showdown between these and Zweigle’s (which, as a Rochestarian, are the gold standard for hots.)

    If you can convince the Capital District to embrace western NY specialty cuisine, do you think we might be able to finally coax Wegmans to open a store in the area?

  2. Buffsoulja permalink
    April 8, 2019 6:44 pm

    When we did the Garbage Plates, I was happy that I picked the white hots. If you love your White Hots – check out Heid’s of Liverpool. They call ’em “Coneys”, and I grew up going to Heid’s for the Coneys every family trip to Syracuse.

  3. Benjamin M. permalink
    April 10, 2019 9:25 am

    Any competition where a Zweigle’s white hot is participating in wouldn’t be a “Showdown”, it would be a “beatdown.” The absolute best. Period.

  4. Joel M permalink
    May 14, 2019 12:42 am

    So I found your Blog!

    If you had a plate with Tahoe burgers it would no longer be the weak link.

    Zweigels rule the white hot world and are the creator. I will bring them home soon.

    BBQ at my place?

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