Walter Mencken 9:21 p.m., Oct. 20
Wen it comes to hot dogs, the beautiful Carla is the World's Greatest Critic. But hey, she's like me.
Appreciates a bargain.
And here at the 8th Street trolley stop in National City, I may have the biggest bargain yet.
How's about an 87-cent hot dog?
I'd just missed a trolley, so naturally started foraging for food while I waited the 15 minutes till the next.
Spotted this unpretentious little place ten yards from the tracks and right under a ginormous electric power transmission line tower, the Trolley Side Deli & Minimart (530 West 21st Street, National City).
What catches my eye is a sign outside. Something about "Hot dogs, $1."
It has a couple of mosaic-covered concrete tables outside. Pretty tiny inside.
Chaldean couple serving a string of customers, all in a hurry.
"Dollar each, or two for $1.75," says the gal, when my turn comes. Wow. That's 87, 88 cents each. I go for two.
"You want me to heat them?" she says.
"Just one," I say. Thinking of Carla. Kind of big-hearted feller I am.
She points to the cooler cupboard.
Customer contemplates dinner
I pull out two dogs, tightly wrapped in plastic, she unwraps one, nukes it, and hands it to me in a little cardboard boat, and gives me packets of ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.
I also spotted hard-boiled eggs in the cooler.
"Two for a dollar," she says.
Outside, I squirt everything on, crack off the shells of one egg, sprinkle the salt and pepper she gave me, and munch me a pretty passable little two-course meal for, uh, $1.37. Who's complaining?
You can watch for your bus or trolley right from the table
Can just imagine the conversation when I get home.
"What's for dinner?"
"I was thinking, hot dog and cold egg?"
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