“Brandy, you’re a fine girl. What a good wife you would be. But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea.” -Looking Glass 1972

I bet you’re wondering, “How does a man motivate himself to eat hot dogs week after week?” It’s been easy to be honest, or at least easier than I imagined it being. There was a part of me that dreaded a few weeks in seeing a hot dog and running away shrieking like a bad 90’s horror film. The whole adventure has been fun, educational and challenging. I think the part I didn’t account for was that eating hot dogs every week would be the easy part and writing entertaining hot dog articles would turn out to be the real challenge. I enjoy being pushed, and this too was something I’ve realized.

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If you’re reading this, I must be figuring it out because you’re still here. If you’re not, I am talking to myself and the hot dogs may have pushed me over the edge, mentally, and that’s a whole other can of worms. I still love hot dogs, a lot. My wife has been a real sport too as “date night” or lunch dates now seem to fit one criteria - do they have a hot dog worth writing about or a feel-good story worth telling?

**Maybe it’s time to change your name to #thehotdogguy **

I don’t know if we’re there yet, plus I don’t want to put myself in a box. I have a lot more to offer this world than just hot dogs, although as far as BallNine goes, I’m “hot dog guy.” Last week was a hard story to top as not every place is going to have a brother’s story or be a 50-year-old local staple just trying to survive in a Covid world. I continue to reach out to these places before we come and for the most part, they aren’t very responsive. Whether it’s fear of a poor review or a lack of follow up from above, most of the places that I’ve contacted have pretty much ignored us. Can you imagine being 8 stops into your “Best Hot Dogs in America Discovery Tour” and not gaining national attention yet? We have been on a coast to coast seek and eat mission that’s already covered eight locations in four states. Eat your heart (or your hot dog) out, Guy Fieri. At this pace I expect El Jefe to bless me with a bright mustard yellow convertible I can use to drive across the nation and cut promos standing in front of. I check the driveway almost every day - nothing.

Is this still a hot dog review or are you making a vision board?

Sometimes I like having you around. I tend to ramble and go off on my own. You help keep me on task and hitting my deadlines, which in turn keeps the boss off my back. We found a nice little local place in Siesta Keys, FL- a stone’s throw from my favorite west Florida beach which I refuse to name because the tourists don’t know about it and I want to keep it that way. This week’s adventure took us to The Old Salty Dog, a waterfront restaurant with boat access that’s been around since 1985. Now when searching out the next great hot dog I was thinking that after back to back weeks eating “ball park dogs” which we have previously established are the down and dirty dogs you find on street corners and ball parks we wanted something fancier. So, we searched for the next great “ball room dog” dressed up with fancy toppings and unique offerings short of insane, but far enough from the everyday. Instead we found a challenge.

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I challenge you to get to the point.

We are getting to the point. It’s probably important to talk about WHY we chose this place before we talk about what we ate here. Back before he was cancelled a man named Adam Richman would travel the country and find eating challenges. Hot things, big things, weird things; you name it and Adam would give it a try. He didn’t always win, but he always tried. The show was on the Travel Channel and was called “Man vs. Food’ which to be honest was entertaining if nothing else. Now there are two versions of what happened to Adam if you’re following at home; the first was that the show caused him to gain a bunch of weight and in turn caused him depression. Seems legit and I am not a doctor so I am not one to diagnose or judge another person.

This job can be taxing. I know since I started the cooking show and the hot dog thing I put on a few pounds and had to really start watching what I ate. As a former “fat kid” I know what it’s like to be husky and it’s not really how I like to live my life anymore. The second reason, which is what I remember is that he got into a spat with someone in the comments of an Instagram post with the hash tag #thinspiration which triggered some tubby folks who attacked him for fat shaming. He got heated in the comment section and asked some of the participants to try a food challenge of their own, “eat a bag of shit dummy.” One comment led to another and Adam finally stepped over the line when he suggested one of the participants grab a razor and draw a bath. The rest is history as his show was postponed indefinitely and then cancelled. He eventually apologized, but as most things in today’s cancel culture world- too little, too late.


Boo hoo for Adam. Now, what was the challenge and how did you do?

The moment you’ve all been waiting for is upon us! #thefoodguy vs food made its internet debut at The Old Salty Dog as he came, saw and conquered the legend of the LOADED SALTY DOG! As we come full circle, we pulled up to the counter and were handed a menu. There is no cheating here as I never actually looked at everything this beast would entail. I knew coming into it that it was a deep-fried hot dog on a bun with a bunch of toppings.

Now sitting at my picnic tables next to the water I would meet my destiny. For $13.99 I got a ¼ pound meat stick, deep fried and topped with sauerkraut, two slices of bacon, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, American, Swiss, pepper jack and cheddar cheese. The box weighed about five pounds and came with a decent amount of fries. The first bite was interesting. Crunch through the tempura, feel the grease running down my chin as I broke the skin on the hot dog and then the bacon, cheeses and toppings all came into play. Your first thought should be like “over kill, gross, unnecessary” but not me, nope- I was in LOVE. I shouldn’t be, I know but as the kids say now a days - this just hit different.

It not only worked, but I enjoyed it so much it was gone before I knew what hit me. #thefoodguy vs food is officially 1-0 in food challenges and I can proudly say that I will wear this victory like a badge of honor. Ballroom dog it is not. Ballpark dog doesn’t really fit either, but I think I figured this out and you’ll have to watch the video to get my answer. I have to do something to keep you guys engaged in everything that BallNine has to offer. Chris and I are working hard every week to keep the content fresh and the best thank you we can receive is when you read, like, share and comment. Frank gets it, Kernan too; now if I can get Emily to shout it without having to harass the Breaking Balls hot line, I will know I’m reaching a bigger audience; That or my own coffee mug. Another week in the books. Another adventure, hot dog and story. Special thanks to my wife Sarah this week who provided on site medical care in case the Old Salty Dog became the Old Cardiac Attack on #thefoodguy.

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Well you can say you earned something now.

My thoughts exactly. I think the bigger story to come out of this adventure is that we are using the new rating system for the second week in a row and will award our first David Hasselhoff. This isn’t because it was gross, it wasn’t, but come on man. Who else is ordering this gut buster without being on a mission? You are either here to beat the challenge or you are challenging your arteries to a game of Russian roulette. No one I know is eating five-pound, deep fried loaded meat sticks and going back to work.

Stay tuned and Stay Hungry. #thefoodguy

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  • The Old Salty Dog: 1601 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236 PH: 941.349.0158
  • Rating: Drunk David Hasselhoff (You may be on the floor and incoherent after this one)
  • Major League Teams: The Tampa Bay Rays (About 45-55-minute drive)
  • Minor League Teams: GCL Orioles (Gulf Coast League)
  • Other Baseball: Spring Training home to the Orioles & Pirates (Bradenton)