Yes.  Memorial Day = Hot Dogs. 

Why this equation is so, I don’t know.  I suppose it stems from living in the Northeast where the unpredictable weather never allows much opportunity to perfect ones grillmeistering prowess until one is safely past the ‘no frost zone’ of the 30th of May.  Even the venerable Farmer’s Almanac warns Northeasterners against planting tender seedlings before then, unless they are protected at night.  Believe me I’ve had to replace more frozen Impatients than I care to remember, and I’ve grieved over dying Wisteria buds that dared to show their glorious blooms before the threat of frost had passed.  Funny thing is, now that we’re in the desert, sometimes we have to protect the Bougainvillea in January as occasionally the frost gets that too.

Sorry…I digress…hot dogs.   How the term came about is the subject of multiple google hits but suffice it to say, aficionados are very fussy about their hot dogs.   Personally, just like burnt toast, I like mine charred black  (I know, hard to believe a gourmand would admit such a thing,) but restaurants frown on requesting burnt food.   So on a recent shmying Saturday when we couldn’t make up our minds about what to have for lunch we began a quest for the best hot dog in the Coachella Valley.  I am happy to report that

 we have discovered two outstanding locations for awesome hot dogs.

You can consider this post a double restaurant review.  The first discovery was Grill a Burger,  at the corner of Monterey and Country Club.  The menu descriptions alone had me in stitches –  Bacon Me Crazy, Hokey Smokey, Pancho Villa, Great Eggspectations, What A Friend We Have in Cheeses, not to mention Code Bleu Orgasmic Burger, Gretta Carbo and Muther Clucker.  For the Vegan choices there’s the Bob Cobb Salad, or That’s Juan Big Salad and – ah ha – the object of our quest – the selection of hot dogs under the banner of I Dream Of Weenie The Doghouse.   There, nestled amongst the Buck Naked Ho Hum Dog, the Cincinnati Dog with mustard, all meat chilli and cheddar cheese,  the Dog Pile, Dog in Heat and Junk Yard Dog, awaited the Carolina Dog, with all-meat chilli, chopped raw onion, mustard, and… coleslaw.  What is it about Southerners – we are known to put coleslaw on just about anything – hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork barbecue, shredded chicken.  Can I just tell you that every bite transported me back to more innocent times spent south of the Mason Dixon.  Dee-lay-cious.

But our quest continued.  And to our delight, we discovered right under our noses, a surprising and worthy contender at our favorite ‘local hangout’  Legends & Icons.  Since the new owners took over, its popularity precludes finding an empty table between five and seven.  We love the place.  The managers and servers are all friendly and happy to see us.   Feeling like we’ve just sneaked out of camp after curfew is an added bonus as we  zip our golf cart through the ‘secret gate’ into the Stater Brothers Shopping Center (corner of Varner and Washington).   

Legends & Icons’ menu has quite a variety, but two of their hot dog selections proved worthy of  our exploration.  However, they didn’t warn us about the SUPER SIZE.  Yoda would say”Spilling off the plate at both ends, it is.”     The pictures say it all.  It’s become our hands-down favorite!   They even grill the bun.

But trust me, I’m not gonna mention the homemade cocoanut  cream pie that the chef decides to make ON OCCASION .  No way am I sharing that secret.  Right Ruthie?

P.S. Happy birthday to Mama Tillie who is 98 years young this week!

Legends & Icons Hot Dog

The Carolina Dog
Legends & Icons Chili-Cheese Dog