Hot Dog Dreams: The Slaw Dogs' TNT Super Dog & Weird Wiener Visions

tnt superdog 2
The gorgeous TNT Super Dog

What happens when a gut bomb explodes then seeps into your dreams?

I know me. And I know I shouldn't consume heavy meals close to bedtime, especially ones involving meat. Acid reflux or indigestion is almost guaranteed, definitely so if I washed down the grub with alcohol of any kind. Even more challenging sometimes are the dreams that are inspired by the mélange gurgling in my gut. Because I was hanging out at Westfield's Topanga Village shopping center, I couldn't resist stopping by Ray Byrne's The Slaw Dogs stand. Famous for creative and, often, over-the-top works of wiener art, The Slaw Dogs is one of my must eats when I'm nearby. Well, I was nearby recently, so I stopped in to grab a TNT Super Dog. This meaty monster is an ode to the infamous, after-hours, punk rocker favorite Oki Dog: two grilled hot dogs snuggled up in American cheese slices, smothered with runny beef chili, paired with pickles and pastrami, then bound by a massive flour tortilla. Slaw Dogs' rendition is upgraded with better quality ingredients, a fried egg, and spiked with extra carbs in the form of french fries—It's a hefty mouthful and extremely satisfying to eat. Super meaty, gooey, savory, salty, cheesy, punctuated with crispy bits of fries and drippy chili, this was not something for the faint of heart. Straight up dude food, dude!

The only guilty pang I experienced while choking down this enjoyable enormity was derived from the 24 Hour Fitness gym that is situated exactly across the dining area of The Slaw Dogs stand. My view was of jacked gym rats of both sexes exiting the place, dripping in sweat while wearing skin tight yoga pants or compression shirts, the kind that leaves nothing to the imagination as far as what anatomical form is concealed underneath. I sat on a stool at a communal dining bar as the workout crowd paraded by giving me looks of pity like I was trapped in the refugee camp of my own soft, endomorphic body with no way out. I averted their gaze as best as I could, deflecting their judgement with every insanely tasty bite of my TNT Super Dog.

That night, I got home and read a chapter from my current favorite book Walking to Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel. It's about a young guy who decided to walk across the country to see what advice he could get about living his life from people he met along his journey. Fatigued, my brain melted into a mushy fog while reading, but I got through the chapter. I fell asleep pretty quickly. The dream that flickered behind my eyelids started to play.

In the dream, it was present day. I was excited about winning a contest from a local jazz radio station. The prize was meeting Ella Fitzgerald, you know, the First Lady of Song. I was extremely thrilled. I couldn't wait for the day I'd meet her at a special event. In fact, I was beyond thrilled, I was really nervous. I didn't want to act stupid or too fanboy around her. I wanted to get to know her like a regular person, BUT THIS WAS ELLA!!

Then at one point in my dream, I suddenly realized that this in fact was only a dream because I knew Ella Fitzgerald was dead. She died a long time ago. June 15, 1996 to be exact. I got very dejected. You know like as a kid you have the dream when you finally get that awesome toy you always wanted and then wake up? That's the feeling except I was still dreaming. Is that like lucid dreaming? I don't know. Anyway, in the dream, I did meet her at the event, but it wasn't her. It was someone who everyone said was Ella but didn't look like her at all. The lady who everyone was passing off as Ella Fitzgerald resembled more the maid from the old '70s sitcom The Jeffersons. Weird. Definitely TNT Super Dog generated.

The Ella Fitzgerald dream segued into a much darker one about a friend who dies. In real life, he's still alive. It was a bummer dream, the kind you wake up from and still feel sad.

That TNT Super Dog was delicious and a favorite of mine, but, man, those dreams.

The Slaw Dogs
6220 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Unit 9080
Woodland Hills, CA