Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hot Dogs, Baseball Cupcakes, and a Strong Green Drink

Ed. note: This post originally appeared in my 2008 food blog Fork It Over on the website of the Rochester Insider magazine, which is now Metromix Rochester. Since the old blog is no longer available online, I'm re-posting some of those posts here and backdating them to their original posting dates. Although in most cases they are specific to Rochester, hopefully you'll still find them somewhat interesting!  ~Rachel, 6/28/10

Along with spring comes the start of baseball season, and along with baseball season comes an increase in hot dog consumption. Every tradition has some significant foods, and baseball is no different. From hot dogs to pretzels to beer, fans can find plenty of tasty foods to munch on while cheering on their favorite teams. In honor of baseball season, today I bring you some information on hot dogs in Rochester, a baseball cupcake recipe, and for my fellow Red Sox fans, a Green Monster drink recipe.

Hots in Rochester
First, a quick lesson for my out-of-town readers. Hot dogs are referred to simply as "hots" by most people in Rochester, and they come in red and white varieties. White hots are typically made of pork (and sometimes some beef and/or veal), and red hots are typically a pork/beef mixture.

Zweigle's, the official hot dog of the Amerks and Rhinos, has been serving sausages in Rochester since 1880. In 1925, the white hot was introduced, a unique hot dog that is unheard of in other areas. (If you try to order one in Boston, for example, you'll just get a blank stare.) Since then, Zweigle's has expanded to include a wider variety of sausages, hot dogs, deli products, and condiments.

Hartmann's Old World Sausage is another well-known sausage seller specializing in German products. With an extensive list of sausage, bratwurst, liverwurst, cold cuts, and more, a simple hot dog seems almost boring, but they're available too. I've never been to Hartmann's, but I'd like to go there sometime. I'm especially intrigued by their "nuclear smoked sausage."

When you're looking for a place to eat at 2AM, you're likely to come across one or more late-night eateries specializing in hots. With names like Empire Hots, Henrietta Hots, Fairport Hots, etc., they're pretty easy to spot. I'm partial to Dogtown Hots on Monroe Ave, a quaint little shop with dog-themed specialty hot dogs. This one isn't open as late as the others, but it's worth the daytime trip. For purists like me, you can get the Purebred, a "red or white Zweigle resting on a grilled bun." For those that like their hot dogs to be a bit more exciting, you could try the Rhodesian Ridgeback, "a dog sleeping on a bed of coleslaw with grilled tomatoes and melted Monterey Jack" or the Pit Bull with "sauteed peppers and onions, barbecue sauce, and DogTown sauce."

Baseball Cupcakes
For your next baseball-themed party or a nice spring picnic, throw together some baseball cupcakes. Just use your favorite cupcake mix (or make them from scratch if you're really ambitious). I used Pillsbury's Classic Yellow cake mix, and it was very tasty. Use vanilla frosting, and then decorate using red licorice (the long ropey kind, not the twisty kind) for the baseball stitches.

I haven't baked in awhile. Pouring batter was harder than I remembered.

But that total disaster on the left was my boyfriend's attempt, not mine.

Everything came out of the oven looking pretty decent, aside from the aforementioned mutant and the mini one on the upper right.
Cupcakes in progress

Tada! Baseball cupcake!
Baseball Cupcake!

Green Monster
Warning: This is strong. I've been slowly sipping mine as I write this, and my head's already spinning even though the glass is still half full. (Or half empty.) Mix half a pint of any kind of lager, half a pint of cider, a shot of Blue Curacao, and a shot of a melon liqueur. I used Mr. Boston for both liqueurs. At $6/bottle, they were better buys than the fancy stuff. I got them at Clubhouse Liquor on Monroe Ave near Pittsford Wegmans, and I found the storekeepers to be remarkably friendly and good-natured. I look about 16 years old, so I'm used to getting stared at suspiciously as I browse through liquor stores, but I actually felt welcome in this one. (Ed. note: This store apparently closed in 2008. Too bad. ~Rachel, 6/28/10)
Green Monster

Even if you're not a Red Sox fan, you can still enjoy this drink...just pretend that the "green monster" refers to Frontier Field, which is also green :)

Now go out there and watch a game or two! Frontier Field is sadly rarely crowded. The tickets and food are ridiculously cheap, so it's silly not to go there once in awhile. I had a great time watching the game last Friday, although I watched from my roof, not the park.
Frontier Field

Best of all, there were fireworks at the end :)
Fireworks at Frontier Field

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