Crif Dogs: NYC: LES: Saint Mark's Place

I took the Boltbus down to NY on Friday, and now I can wholeheartedly continue to recommend Megabus as the best bus option, but I won't get started on that right here. This was because of diverted traffic and not Bolt's fault, but my 4.25 hour trip instead took 7.5 hours.

I took my suitcase down from Penn Station to Knickerbocker Village to pick up various appliances from a friend's storage unit that I would finally be taking back to Boston with me.  Then I went to Union Square to meet up with another friend Maria who was giving me her keys so that I could stay at her place in Washington Heights that weekend.

My original plan was that those interactions would be concluded by around 6 PM, with me going to Washington Heights to Maria's apartment to get her keys there and drop off my stuff before heading out for foodie adventurousness and potentially going to one of the various pride parties to which I'd been invited.

Sadly, it was now already 8 PM, I didn't feel sexy or inclined to travel all the way uptown to get sexy and then come back downtown to go out.  I just wanted delicious food, maybe a beer, definitely dessert, and a bed.

I was so close to a place I've been dying to try forever called Cafeteria, that I decided to walk slightly out of my way to see it, even though I was 99% sure that it'd be packed full of fairly dressed up yuppies and, um, is "trendies"a term?  I was right, and so I started along on the 30 minute walk, still with my suitcase and backpack in tow, to Crif Dogs.

Along the way I passed by the DessertTruck Works' truck on 3rd Ave and Astor Place, which sent me into a frenzy of trying to figure out how I could maybe come back for that for dessert even though I already planned to go to Lula's again because of the Ukranian mystery. But.. goat cheese cheesecake with rosemary caramel and quince!  Warm nutella filled brioche donut squares!  Warm chocolate bread pudding with bacon custard sauce!  Maybe I could get a donut or ice cream to go from Lula's and then come back for cheesecake...

I resisted the urge to buy and devour each of those $6 treats right then and there as I wanted the savory first.  "Stick to the plan," I told myself.

Finally, I made it to Crif Dogs, lifted my suitcase down the short staircase and headed inside where I ordered the Spicy Red Neck

Spicy Red Neck Hot Dog, lookin' pretty good, huh?



and, appropriately enough, a Miller High Life, the first I'd ever tasted.  I had a sample of the birch beer first, and the red soda tasted much like root beer, and all I needed was to try it, so then I gave in to my desire to have a beer.  It's $2.50 for PBR (blech), $5 for a  Dale's Pale Ale or $3.50 for a MHL, so I figured I might as well go for it.  As the young, tattoed girl said to me, "They're all cheap and from a can!" in a tone that added, "Just as any reasonable person would prefer!"

The "champagne of beers" in the background.


Maybe it was the heat or my exhaustion and hunger, but Miller High Life isn't bad!  I let it soothe my body and soul, and I chuckled as I listened to the girls working there.

"Does anyone know what channel C-Span is?...Ooh, nevermind, I found something even better!"

"No!  We are not watching Frasier again."

Now I'm not yet a hot dog expert, as one of my current roommate explains to me I won't be until I take a pilgrimage to Rutt's Hut in Rutherford, NJ, but, as I explained to him, I'm not a big hot dog person and generally wouldn't give two shits and a hand clap about getting a tube of meat inside a cheap white bun, but that being said, if you fry a tube of beef and pork, wrap it in bacon and top it with chili, cole slaw and jalapenos or some other such fun toppings, I'm gonna enjoy that.  And I did.  I could've used another, but I needed room for dessert.  By this time, fortunately, I'd talked myself down to only one dessert, but still.

Then, as I walked out, I overheard a conversation between two guys walking in about how there's apparently a speakeasy inside Crif Dogs.  I reflected back on how people kept going in and out of this weird door, and I'd almost asked this girl with whom I'd struck up a conversation what the hell it was, but I never did.  I googled on my phone about the speakeasy and read this article.

I really thought hard, all the way through my trip to Lula's, about going back to check out the speakeasy.  But really, did I want to try to push my little suitcase through the phone booth thingy just to pay $12 for a nice cocktail in some "secret" room?  Everyone I'd seen go in the booth came out a minute later with a look on their face that said, "Huh, well that was cute."  I also feel that the article told me all I needed to know.  I'll keep it on a list of possible places to have drinks if I'm with people in the area, not while tired, hot, probably smelly and carrying a backpack and dragging a suitcase with a coffee machine/espresso maker, blender and coffee bean grinder inside.

Then I got a beer from some bodega, which I would end up not drinking and forgetting at Maria's apartment, and headed all the way up outta this map to 161st.

The first day of my latest excursion to NYC, ostensibly for Pride but mostly for food, with a backpack and suitcase weighing me down.


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