all the way, means something different in the woo

for those of you lucky enough to have spent some time in lil’ rhody, you’re…well, lucky. those of you that haven’t, you’re an outsider peering in through never-quite-clean windows, rubbing, rubbing, rubbing, but never getting that clear view of what’s inside the somewhat odd, yet mysterious and beckoning shop front. when i moved to RI roughly 11 years ago, one of my friends suggested meeting up at “sparky’s for suhm wienahs”. while i was initially confused and believing that we might be headed out to one of RI’s many and illustrious gay bars, i took him up on his offer and discovered a truly provincial and tasty-meaty treat (ok, stop laughing). hot wieners are an RI staple (really, stop laughing, this is not that kind of blog you jerk). brought there by the greeks in the 30’s and 40’s, what has become dubbed the “new york system” has flourished in RI and surrounding locales. according to wikipedia, hot wieners are made primarily of pork and veal, setting their distinct flavor apart from beef hot dogs. they are served in a steamed bun and most usually served with a proprietary meat sauce, celery salt and chopped raw onion. they tend to be smaller than a regular dog, which prompts both casual customers and zealots alike to order more than one. ordered as described, one shouts, “all the way!” at the grill cook, and then uses their digits to clarify just how many gaggers one desires. the grill cook then, ala tom cruise in cocktail, loads the dogs up his arm and dresses them as requested. the first time i witnessed this, i must admit i shivered just a bit in gastronomic anticipation. i also shivered just a bit due to the thought of my wieners touching the hairy-armed grill cook’s appendage. up the arm and all the way (which will get you about 6 hot wieners, dressed with meat sauce, etc) is how you do it. so, after moving to the woo, it was good to know that at least one institution was dedicated to the new york system. i haven’t been to coney island as of yet, and i hesitate to go, only because it might be a major letdown compared to my experience of RI gagger joints. however, the other night i was at a private party in west boylston and it was a classic rager. the hosts had put together a sumptuous buffet of wonderful food. as the night ran out, i sauntered back up to the buffet to see what i could scavenge. sadly, all i found was a box of frozen (yes, still frozen) spanikopita, and, sad dog. while sad dog was obviously in party mode, sad dog was still sad – as evidenced by sad dog’s picture. apparently, in worcester, “all the way” means a paper party hat

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