Sunday, April 11, 2010
There are two famous coney islands right smack dab next to eachother in downtown Detroit. Maybe we should back up.... not everyone has "coney islands" or "coney dogs" available locally! What is a coney dog? I guess I always thought it had something to do with New York's Coney Island and that everyone had them, but Wikipedia has informed me that it is actually a Michigan / midwest food specialty. A classic coney dog is made with an all-beef natural casing hot dog on a soft white bun with an all-meat chili on top, with yellow mustard and chopped yellow onions. It's a tasty combination and Michigan has a plethora of "Coney Islands" (which are little diner-style greasy spoon restaurants) and they all serve coney dogs, among other things like breakfast all day and Hany pita sandwiches, chili cheese fries, and many greek specialties... many Coney Islands are owned by greek families.
There are two styles of a Michigan coney dog - Flint vs Detroit. Detroit's chili topping is more soupy while the Flint topping (made of beef tongue) is dry, more like ground meat. They are both delicious and I know my mom prefers the Flint style. I like them both. I love Koegel hotdogs, which are made in Flint.
American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island both claim they invented the coney dog combination. American's website says it was founded in 1917. Lafayette doesn't have a website and I don't know much about its history but it has been in Detroit for a long time, too, right next door to American Coney on Lafayette Street. Lafayette Coney is much smaller and you sit at long old-school diner tables that you will possibly share with other patrons. American is the uniquely shaped restaurant on the corner and has a lot more, colorful dining space. I believe they are both open 24/7.
We went to Lafayette Coney first. We didn't order chili cheese fries but he dropped them off anyway and who are we to turn down fries. I scarfed down my hotdog faster than The Husband could say "geez, Wife" - needless to say, I was starving. This isn't exactly how I wanted to do my hotdog taste off - I had wanted to get take out from both places and then do a side by side comparison, but The Husband just doesn't understand so I just went along. I must say that while Lafayette went down fast, I could not really taste much in the chili topping - it had a nice consistency but I just wasn't getting any flavor from it.
Posted by Kitchen Bliss! at Sunday, April 11, 2010