Grilled, Maine

Red Hot Dogs

I’ve been missing Maine a lot recently. Now there’s a statement my twenty-five-year-old self never thought I’d utter out loud a mere five years ago, practically to the day, that I “escaped” to Boston. But here I am. These feelings became even more prevalent after a whirlwind Saturday a few weeks ago when I met my mother, sister, and grandmother for a joint birthday celebration lunch at the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster Company. Harraseeket Lunch is a cozy little place on the water located a few miles away from the shop-till-you drop insanity of the outlet shoppers who stalk the main streets of Freeport.

CK and I munched on fried clams and I doled out pretty baubles from Tis-Tik to my fellow June babies. Of course when I lived in Maine I still retained a lot of my picky eating habits so I wouldn’t have touched a clam with a ten foot poll, and would never have willingly chosen to eat one for lunch. As I sat with my family I recalled that until that day I had exclusively consumed hot dogs while sitting on the restaurant’s weathered red picnic tables.

After having lunch, CK and I drove back to Portland to see my friend Anna. Anna recently moved back to Portland from Boston and now resides in the same building in an apartment with an eerily similar layout to the one she lived in while we were both living there after college. Talk about being hit over the head with nostalgia…

Then we topped off my little trip down memory lane by going out for drinks at our favorite neighborhood bar The Downtown Lounge where a friend of mine from high school is  a bartender. Leon made me many martinis which of course led to some ridiculous shenanigans but eventually CK and I had to go. Before we left I insisted that CK drive me to the supermarket so I could buy the pièce de résistance of a Maine summer: red hot dogs.

I very tipsily skipped through the local Hannaford to the meat counter and scooped up two enormous packages of red hot dogs. The traditional brand that I grew up with, Jordan’s, went out of business years ago so I ended up with six pounds of Kayem Old Tyme Reds.

What’s so special about red hot dogs other than their bright red casings? Well, honestly unless you’ve tried one before it’s hard to explain. Simply put they just taste like summer. I like mine lightly browned on the grill and then topped with French’s yellow mustard. My mom likes her red hot dogs burned to a crisp. CK has been putting relish on the ones we’ve been grilling at home but I suspect he does that because he doesn’t like them. Obviously as I have 5 billion of these little red dogs in our freezer he has become less and less enthused when I pull them out to put on our new grill, but I still get excited every time. It’s comforting to have a little piece of home on your plate when you’re feeling a bit displaced. So I’ll keep eating my snappy little hot dogs until I can return to Maine again in person.

Have you ever had a red hot dog? Did you like it or were you completely freaked out by the fact that they’re the same shade as red velvet cake?