This past weekend, we had one of those days when no matter how young or crazy or artistic or different I attempt to think of myself, there was no denying my absolute American mom-ness. There were play dates and birthday parties, and we existed for the sake of the transport of our children from pool to friend’s house to play date at the mall bouncy castle and, well, you get the idea. As ordinary and nuclear family-ish as Joey and I felt, the girls saw the day as extraordinary, and I think it was all a success.
We had the opportunity to drive across the county a few times, and somewhere in the middle of it, we went to Teo’s.
See that face up there? That’s the look of a happy man. A man at a place that serves tiny hot dogs.
Joey has a bit of an obsession these days that it’s probably time to share with you. In his spiritual quest for a true mentor, Joey has found not one, but two leaders of what he calls, “the pork eating faith.” Jane and Michael Stern, writers for the now deceased Gourmet magazine and the alive and kicking book Road Food, have won the heart of my husband. I think if it weren’t for his undying loyalty and devotion to his family, Joey would follow those Sterns anywhere. Call him a roadie, call him a foodie, but I think we might be talking about a new term here, the roadie foodie.
For those of you who know Joey, this will come as no surprise. Some of you may remember his high school project on barbecue, which included a school trip around the south?
The Sterns are also associated with a website, something of a Yelp of road food, and it is not only a source of endless inspiration from the Sterns themselves, but also from anyone who chooses to share the gems of their road food walkabouts.
As you can imagine, Joey spends a bit of time on this website. He is especially excited when he finds a highly rated road food destination in our very own county, and then there is much talking about it and offering to vacuum and fold laundry until we get the opportunity to go.
Teo’s is one such destination. Tucked off route 8, or 9, or 7, or one of those crisscrossing roads that pass by the old and hulking GE building, this is not the kind of place that you stop by on your own. Oh no, it takes the Sterns to get you to Teo’s.
Teo’s is a bar that serves very small hot dogs. There were a lot of people skipping the hot dogs in favor of just beer on Saturday afternoon. They were all sitting at the bar, wearing camouflage canvas coats. We walked in, Rosie skipping ahead of us, and everybody gave us a look. Joey was totally up for it, though. He took a deep breath to pump up his shoulders and he pushed my grandfather’s newsboy hat up as if it were the most authentic of trucker hats. We went ahead and found a seat, Joey swaggering ahead of us.
Joey went about showing Rosie how to drip water and her straw to make it wiggle. She jumped out of her seat, held it to her dress and shouted, “Look! I have a penis!” Yeah, I know. Classic.
We ordered our tiny dogs- one for Rose, two for me, two for Joe (he’s Joe here, or maybe even Jerry, his fast food alter ego when he introduces himself and people refuse to believe that his name is actually Joey), plus a burger for Joe. And fries for all.
“Do you want cheese on your burger?” the waitress asked, already starting to walk away.
“Do you recommend it?”" Joey asked.
“Um, okay.” she answered.
“Cheese it is, then!”
I love my husband.
Before I go any further, I’m just going to get this out of the way. Do not order your hot dogs with everything. Stick with ketchup and I think you will be pleased. At a dollar a piece, you can order these hot dogs all day, as long as you don’t eat any of that chili on them. But although the hot dogs are the star, Joey suggests that you order the cheeseburger instead. Thin and perfect, if you like that sort of thing. (and you know you do!)
So, for you Berkshire roadie foodies out there, closet and public, stop by Teo’s on your way up to the mall on your next nuclear family type of day. Little hot dogs might just make your day more
interesting, and the cheeseburger will fortify you for the miles ahead.