Friday, July 12, 2013

Zack's Shack (Portland, Oregon)

 If not harrassed, he seemed tired, this waiter, host, guy behind the counter, whatever: this poor man was this place's everything, at that hour. That awkward hour between lunch and dinner, when eateries empty and coffee shops swell with the denial of the seista rolling in like fog. Actually, isn't that precisely hot dog hour? Strange.

As the only customer, how could I make the loud, unmistakeable gesture of pulling out a camera?

The dog: 4/5 This blog post is my sole claim to hot dog gourmandaise, but an excess of cultivation is alien to the taste of a hot dog. They are a fine thing, and are ruined by deliberation. It was delicious. Juicy, but not that pack of slimy weiners dripping from the fridge. Because let's admit it, a good hot dog is contained obscenity. The way we like our objects. You see? Ruined.

Acoutrement: 2/5 I misunderstood the menu, reading "coleslaw" and imagining sauerkraut. The fault is mine, of course, but is there a reason I was barred from choosing condiments at my leisure, free from the urgent surveilance of the waiter, however well-meaning? Why must I choose from these cute names under which condiments strain in nearly unreadable type? This may seem like a lot to ask, but I have one more question: Who puts coleslaw on a hot dog?

It is with some relief I note that this dog is not slathered in incongrouously soothing slaw. However, one of them is naked.

Other: 3/5 Finding this faintly sad void where later barflies would gather, I evacuated to the sidewalk benches, which was a pleasant sit, despite adjacency to the wider, busier part of Hawthorne. The gaze drifts to tacos, just down the street, and indeed, ¿por que no?

Overall: 4/5 When I ventured back inside to bus my empty basket, dear reader, a discovery! In my former haste, when I had feared the waiter's wary eye, I had missed the patio out the back door, where ping-pongers gaily swing their paddles in the sunshine--which in this blunt climate, even in the height of summer, withers. And as I departed, lo, I spied on the menu those words--nasty in form but welcome in significance--that I had suspected: "build your own." It's not exactly right, but it will do.

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