Reality: $13.00 Burgers

We weren’t in New York or London. We weren’t even having lunch at a restaurant down on 3rd Street in Naples. J and I were explore our southern dot on the map, Everglades City and Chokolockee, which are about as far south as you can go on the west side of Florida unless you are in a boat. It is in the Thousand Islands area of the Everglades National Park.

I took my camera because some sun had been promised. We only saw a few seconds of sun so I’m not pleased with the photos, but this sign caught my eye.

Everglades City 033

I think I am aiming to become a burger connoisseur. I tried to get a moose burger in Newfoundland, but it was past season. I had a bison burger in St. Mary in Glacier National Park in Montana, and I had a great beef burger at the Prairie Dog Cafe in South Dakota. I had to have a gator burger in the Everglades.

Alligator sunning on the edge of a pond.

Alligator sunning on the edge of a pond.

We went in, looked at the menu, and wooh, the most expensive thing (at least under sandwiches) was the gator burger. I’ve paid $13 for lunch before; I just wasn’t expecting it in a small-town diner. But I was intrigued so we decided to do what we frequently do, split a meal with a couple of extra sides.

J said he expected it to taste like chicken and when it came it was a very light meat – like chicken. It didn’t taste like chicken, though, and we couldn’t decide what it tastes like – I guess like alligator. I detected a bit of a taste of fish. I enjoyed it and would order it again. We have decided we need another trip to the Everglades National Park when the sun is shining because I would like to work on recording the personality of the Everglades in photographs.

Jake has posted the Sunday word of the week and it is “reality”. You can join the fun at:

Tommy’s Hot Dog Stand

This afternoon my honey and I decided to do a lunch date at one of our favorite eating places – Tommy’s Hot Dog Stand.

You can only find Tommy’s open during warm weather – they will be closing October 26. And you need to know where to go because they aren’t listed in the Yellow Pages or on-line. I don’t think they have an address to put in your GPS. They are close to downtown, in a residential neighborhood, in front of Tommy’s house. And they sell a lot of hot dogs. We heard from someone that he closes each day after he sells 400. This may also be local urban legend. We go after the noon rush.

Our town is known for Coney Islands, made with finely ground beef heart. Each time my mother came back to visit from Florida, she stopped for Coneys before seeing me. People airship them to other places in the country after they move away.

Meet Tommy, doing what he is so good at – making hot dogs and having fun with customers. Andie and Alex are in the background. They are all related – and belong to a restaurant family famous for their Coney Island Dogs.

After parking by the curb, you get in line so Carrie can take your order. The menu consists of hot dogs, chips, rice pudding and canned pop/soda.

As we were getting in line we met up with a woman who had come down the street in a motorized wheel chair to get a hot dog for herself and one for her grandson whose birthday was yesterday.

If they aren’t busy there is always some chatting going on.

And they know how to make a hot dog and serve it fast. Tommy makes the dogs on a tray, handing it back to the wrappers and server. Many people take orders back to work with them but you can also eat in – well actually out, picnic style.

Alex wrapping.

Andie bagging a take-away order.

Curt replenishing Polish sausages. Refilling containers is full-time work.

If you haven’t picked up on it, Tommy likes to talk and my husband does as well. We live in a small town and find out that Tommy graduated with my cousin’s husband, Ted. Jim also worked with Tommy’s neighbor so they have a lot to talk about. While Tommy takes a break, Alex takes over making the dogs. He shows us the find art of making a perfect coney dog with onions.

Hot coney sauce is spooned on the dog.

Some mustard.

Onions carefully spread on top.

My Nancy Dog, with a fresh sauerkraut slaw on top, was fabulous but as usual it was gone before I thought about taking a picture. You will just have to take my word for it.