Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Dog = Happy Kate (Please Note: This Post is Not About Canines)

Something you should know about me is that I typically abhor condiments. I do not eat ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish, or salad dressing. I do not like marinades or dipping sauces. I sometimes enjoy barbecue sauce, & I make a blanket exception only for sriracha sauce.

It goes without saying, then, that I eat my hot dogs plain. For all these reasons & probably more, you'd think a gal like me would absolutely despise the idea of eating at a hot dog restaurant that offers 50 toppings.

As it turns out, you would be wrong.

On Saturday, I visited Cleveland's Happy Dog, a hot dog bar & restaurant that only offers hot dogs, veggie dogs, tater tots & alcohol. For a meager sum of $5, you order up a dog loaded with whatever you want, bubbling in your choices on an order sheet that's much more fun than voting ballots & college exams, its sober bubble-sheet counterparts.

But because I don't like ketchup or mustard or mayonnaise or relish, I had to get creative:


We submitted our orders (I should admit that my wacky peanut butter/onions/mole sauce/bacon combo was not an invention of my own but rather was one of Happy Dog's "suggestive weiners"), along with a few orders of tater tots with sides of - GASP! - dipping sauces! I totally lived on the edge with saffron aioli.


It was so good. And we were so full. But... but we had to order more. Because how can you pass up 46 more toppings?! Thus:*


Needless to say, I almost died. This was gluttony to such a high degree that I almost felt guilty, like I was the perfect candidate to become a Se7en victim. Rather than risking stomach combustion, I took the rest of dog numero dos home. Let me tell you, hot dogs are not a few-hours-after-the-fact food - but that doesn't mean I didn't eat it anyway.

I Like to StarMonkey Around

My (very white, largely nerdy) cousin's band, StarMonkey - yes, StarMonkey - played at a local venue last Friday, so my mom, my boyfriend, my whole extended family & I made plans to see the show.

I must admit: I wasn't hoping for much. My mom, who'd seen them play before, warned me to bring earplugs & lax standards, so the bar was set low. What I neglected to take into consideration, though, was her characteristically librarian dislike of loud noises (...she's a librarian, after all) - so while she covered her ears (& left early!), the rest of us rocked out to the sweet mash-up sounds of StarMonkey. Stupid name or not, they were damn good.
[Bizarre name-dropping interlude: StarMonkey once opened for Wang Chung. But no, it wasn't in the '90s - it was, like, a few months ago. Also, Friday's show involved a kazoo solo. Who isn't a sucker for kazoos?]

StarMonkey's mash-ups are far from the Girl Talk & Ratatat style the word "mash-up" evokes. Rather, they take hard rock & '90s Top 40 tunes & blend them... however the eff they feel like blending them. Friday's show started with a bit of Snoop rap & went on to cover everything from Nirvana to Britney Spears to the Beastie Boys to Sir Mixalot, as evidenced by their set list:


("Milkshake"?! Hells to the yes.)

I tried to take video but largely failed. This one is the only one that turned out all right, a quick clip of StarMonkey performing Rage Against the Machine's "Pocket Full of Shells" mashed up with... I forget what. Please forgive my obnoxious "WOOOOO!"ing halfway through & instead focus on the fact that isn't my cousin weirdly baller? Even though he's wearing an argyle sweatervest & a pair of sunglasses that make him look like a total alien.

video 

And in case you're not yet sold on the awesome, here's the kicker: The show ended with some strange & unknown top-hatted man taking the stage to thank StarMonkey for playing... before regaling the crowd with an inspired little ditty... on the jazz flute. A la Ron Burgundy. Seriously.
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