I remember the first time I ever had the miracle of fried cheese sticks, it was at a now-defunct restaurant in Oklahoma City named Pumps, more than twenty years ago. It was served with a sweet mustard sauce and it stands out as one of my first culinary "awakenings." Simple mozzarella, battered and deep fried, the crunch of the shell, the molten cheese, the sweet twang of the mustard, how had I lived without it for all of my (then) seventeen years?
Since then only one fried cheese dish has matched that experience, that of Hot Dog on a Stick, the wonderfully kitsch stands found in malls across the US.
Which brings me to the corn dog. My God, I do love a good corn dog, and Hot Dog on a Stick has the best I've ever had. As I order my heart quickens, my saliva glands are working overtime; is it knowing that I'm about to get a great corn dog or that the dog is being hand dipped in batter and fried to order by an always beautiful girl wearing a beguilingly retro uniform of jockey hat and hot pants, as her twin strokes away at a vat of fresh lemonade with a long handled plunger. I'll leave that question to smarter people with degrees in psychology, but it's a damned good corn dog.
Locally, if you want a good corn dog you can do no better than at The Quarters. A dive bar of Loverboyesque-mullet proportions, The Quarters (conveniently located on the same block as our place) has a liberal shot pouring policy (at least for friendly neighborhood cooks and waiters) and a really good corn dog. Sweet corn breading, crunchy on the outside with just the right amount of give on the inside, wrapped around a good, plump dog. None of the show you get at Hot Dog on a Stick, but when you consider that you don't have to drive half a day to get it, and you can have a cold Corona as well, a pretty darned good pinch hitter.
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