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So, I was wandering along University around eleven at night, looking for a bus, any bus that’d take me downtown.

But, wait...yonder luminous red umbrella., lil white cart, the smell of grilled onions. People stopping, ordering…are we in TJ?

No, we’re in Uptown, next to Rich’s nightspot at 1051 University.

Whatever, hot diggity! It’s a hotdog stand.


Mateo’s Hotspot

Need to decide. See another customer heading this way. Couple of lovers behind him.


I slip in ahead.


The guy serving things up is Aaron, a stage manager in his day job, moonlighting here — and it is a full moon tonight — serving up dogs every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 10.30 to 2.30. “We have three more carts in PB,” he says.


Aaron Browning

So, I’ve triaged my choice down to Grizzle My Hizzle (jumbo dog, sauerkraut, grilled onions, $4.25), Son of a Spicy Bitch (Cajun hot link, chili, nacho cheese, $4.75), or El Grunge (jumbo dog with cream cheese and bacon, $4.50).

Heh-heh. I’m thinking I can ship half of it back to the lovely Carla, who’ll be wondering where the heck I am. Like, before she lifts ye olde rolling pin, I'll offer her a new kind of hotdog and she’ll melt like an ice cream in the sun.

Hmm... El Grunge. Cream cheese and bacon. That’s new. So I order one and then step aside for the guy I just beat in line.


My Grunge dog

“Gimme a dog with bacon, cream cheese, grilled onions, and nacho cheese,” he says.

It's not on the menu board, but Aaron's cool with it. He charges the guy $5.25.


Hector with his dog

Dang. Grilled onions. Nacho cheese. For his dog, not mine.

Aaron hands me mine, mainly bacon and cream cheese.

I add fixins, take a bite, and, truly, that combo is great. Never even thought about it before.

Trouble is, the other guy’s looks better.

“I just pick what I want,” he says. Hector. “Different each time.”


Hector squirts on fixins


Now that's a dog

Oh, man. The aroma. The lushness. His dog. If only I’da let him go first. Dog-darn it! Can’t do nuttin’ about it, ’cause that’s it, dinero-wise, for me.

I guess I stand there, tongue out like a starving dog. But Hector just carries on, spreading, like, everything over it. Looks, smells so-oo good. If I’d just waited…

I mean mine, as I tramp toward Fourth and University, is beautiful and tasty. it’s a great taste contrast. Except Hector went me one better.

The killer is, I get home with Carla's half of the dog intact (that has to be a first), and she takes one look. “Cream cheese? In a hotdog? They’d string you up for this in Chicago! We’re not in Seattle now, Bedford.”

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