Saturday, May 13, 2006

A Pig at the Doodle

You'd think I'd gone over to London to visit Pauline rather than vice-versa when I tell you that's what we ate for lunch on Thursday. Like "bubble and squeak" or "bangers and mash", "a Pig at the Doodle" sounds silly in that English way that they have about food. But actually, we were right here, wandering around the Have on a very Portland-like day, grey and misty and not really raining, and just as I was beginning to feel peckish, what were we standing in front of but the Yankee Doodle, one of my favorite places to eat in the entire country. Fortunately Pauline was up for a Pig, so we went in, sat down at the counter, ordered two Pigs and two Cokes (made from syrup and soda water), ate them, and were out, $6 poorer, in five minutes. A Pig -- I think I've mentioned this before -- is a hot dog stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, fried on the griddle, and presented to you in a little jacket of a warm, grilled hot dog bun with an extra pat of butter on it for good measure. Pauline got an excellent photo of a pile of Pigs on a plate awaiting their fate on the griddle, along with many other photos -- all of these are hers:

Our day in New Haven did not involve as much athletic eating as I imagined it would. Perhaps this was due to our gross overconsumption in New York, the day before, of pollo al ajillo (with black beans -- which Pauline had never seen the likes of before and which she declared to be "sludge") and several cafes con leche at La Rosita, out-of-season oysters at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central, and too many gimlets and fancy spring cocktails to count at the Royalton before coming home on the train with thousands of Yankees and Red Sox fans. Pauline was amazed that they were able to ride peaceably on the train together without blood spilled or police intervention. Still, we managed to have the aforementioned Pig, plus some snacks in Stony Creek with a seagull ("it's as big as a chicken!!!" -- Pauline), plus a few pieces each of fried eggplant and sausage pizza from Modern. And then some beers at the Firehouse, where Pauline also gave me some excellent knitting-in-the-round tips. If it's as easy as she makes it sound, everyone is getting cute cap-sleeved sweaters for Christmas this year. I am still so happy that Pauline decided to use one of her New York visit days for a day trip up here to our little corner of the world. We enjoyed the Yale Center for British Art, the Winchester Repeating Arms Factory, the House on Edgehill Where the Evil New Owners Tore Out Their Gorgeous Trees for No Reason, and the Thimble Islands. Not bad for an unhurried day in the middle of the week.

Other news to report:

- We had a gift certificate to Zinc, which we used the other weekend to celebrate a scholarship that I got. We had dinner on a Sunday, which was an unexpectedly awesome time to go to Zinc, because their wines are all 50% off on Sunday nights. Rock. We had a $70 bottle of Argyle reserve Pinot for the price of a much lesser bottle. Sadly, we must report that Zinc is really good for appetizers and drinks and half-off wine, but our dinners were over-rich and under-seasoned and just, generally, not great. I had salmon with dal, and it was disappointing in a way that is just kind of heartbreaking -- it was almost good, and I knew what was wrong with it, but it seems petty, somehow, to complain that it was "too rich." Likewise Andy's risotto with scallops and lobster. It wasn't Arborio rice, it wasn't toothsome, but it was loaded with all of these expensive ingredients so that it felt luxurious, as though the luxury would make up for its not being cooked correctly. We will go back, though, for the Asian pear "Martini" and the crispy duck wonton "nachos". How wrong can you really go?

- About that scholarship. We're going to Austin for a week in June and we need recommendations. Stephen and Burke and Molly all went to school there, so we've heard from them about some not-to-miss places (the Salt Lick, Polvo's fish tacos), but we need more help, people. If you know Austin and where we should eat, don't hesitate to weigh in. We are particularly concerned about our barbeque strategy. Austin sits in the middle of the Texas Barbeque Triangle and we want to hit as many of the greats as we can without (a) doing nothing but driving to and from barbeque pits and (b) becoming so constipated from brisket consumption that it requires surgical intervention. Is this possible?


At 10:52 AM, Anonymous sonya said...

I know nothing about Austin, but how 'bout that scholarship? Congratulations! Maybe you need a second pig at the doodle to celebrate. And I mean with me.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger ms. said...

I'm a native Austinite with my own spice biz (, so I know a little about the area you could say... First of all, I think the Salt Lick is a tad overrated. We typically choose bbq based on what cut of meat we're in the mood for and go where it is best. Like, beef ribs are best at County Line, brisket is best at Smittys in Lockhart (30 minutes east of Austin and worth the drive), sausage is best at at Southside Market in Elgin, pork ribs are best at Hoovers on Manor Road in Austin.

If you have any other restaurant questions, email me at and I'll be happy to help!


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