There aren’t many occasions that absolutely call for a chili cheese dog. In fact there are about two or three a year. There are the wicked hangover days which require immediate grease and salt. And then there is the day I had a couple of weeks ago. My friend Aleea was moving away from this cauldron we call Southwest Florida and in conversation I asked if she’d ever had the pleasure of stumbling up to the counter of Beach Doggie Dog on Fort Myers Beach. Her response of “no” set into motion a lightening fast response time of heading south for meet up at the hallowed ground across from the lovably seedy bar formerly known as the Surf Club. (now I think it’s Mermaid something or other- but I digress)
She called from the target asking if it’s called “Chicago Dog House.” As I responded in a panicked high pitch, “No, it’s Beach Doggie Dog…..It’s yellow, small. Right next to the Beached Whale.” I was over-accelerating through Lover’s Key and lucky not to get a ticket- or worse yet, hit a sea turtle or something tragic. “Are you there?”
With the calmness of one not so attached to the idea of emergency chili cheese dog eating, Aleea responded, “yeah, but the sign says Chicago Dog House.”
Well, that does it. Someone bought it or something. Defeated, I slowed to the painfully crawl-like speed limit of 40 or something ridiculous like that. Only because she was already there I painted on a happy face and went anyway.
To my delight, sometimes change is good. Beach Dogie Dog is even better now that it’s got a new master. The chili is still beanless and overly re-heated. The dogs are still Vienna. The buns are now steamed, and the cheese is actual grated cheese, rather than the canned sauce stuff- which is shockingly better. It has been bought by the people who operate a dog place in the Lani Kai (which I revisited about two years ago and was a little alarmed at how old I felt). Lucky dog that she is, Aleea got to try the new and improved chili cheese dog from the Chicago Dog House and I believe she understood the urgency that she know the dog before moving away. If nothing else I had a valid excuse for the dog run.