In September, I traveled back to the midwest to visit with family and friends, and while I was in Detroit I couldn’t resist having a few Coney Islands. If you’ve never been to the Motor City, Coney Islands, or “Coneys,” are the best hot dogs on the planet. You can find them on almost every block of metropolitan Detroit. (That’s only a slight overstatement.)
While two Detroit Coney establishments get all of the press, you can find the best one at Woodward Coney Island, right in the heart of downtown Detroit. The entire area is in the middle of a fantastic resurgence, but Woodward Coney Island — and that succulent, slap-your-mamma Coney, drenched in chili, heavily sprinkled with onion, and drizzled with yellow mustard — has remained blissfully unchanged.
Just to make sure of that fact, I had a few dogs at Woodward Coney Island during the week I was in the D. My first visit there last month marked only the first time I have ever purchased a t-shirt from a restaurant. The first time, I’d eaten rattlesnake at a restaurant in Phoenix. That Coney was that memorable!
Then, there were the White Castles. Yes, I tried their new plant-based, Impossible Slider, and it’s VERY good…but it’s not the original, soggy-bunned White Castle with “everything” (mustard, ketchup, pickle, and onion) that will bring you back time and time again, and you can eat whether or not you decide to chase it down with their signature Onion Chips. If you’ve not traveled east of the Mississippi, White Castle is more than worth the trip (although you can now grab a Crave Case of those sliders in Las Vegas).
My heart and cardiovascular system was screaming bloody murder by the end of my week-long trip, so on the flight back to California I decided to back off of the red meat for a day or two, to give my ticker time to recover and get that bovine-based cholesterol out of my system. Before I knew it, it had been a week, I’d had no beef or pork at all, and I was staring October 1st in the face. I decided to dub that looming month No Red Meat October, and try to get through the month with no beef or pork.
Now, in the spirit of full and total disclosure, the challenge wasn’t as daunting for me as it would be for some. I was a vegetarian for three years before moving to California, but that had been almost 10 years before my White Castle & Coney-induced almost-coma last September. I can’t say it was always easy — I found myself craving Starbucks’ new grilled ham and cheese sandwich one day, and I almost fell off of the wagon and into a McDonalds drive-thru line to get a McDouble another day.
But I made it. As of this writing, I’ve had no beef or pork for 37 days!
I knew I’d conquered my cravings when I found myself in Los Angeles on business last week (more on that trip later!), and I found myself craving cajun shrimp & grits instead of a hot dog from Pink’s. And honestly, as I type this, I feel a lot better, I’ve experienced more energy during the day, and I have slept much better at night.
And I’m already thinking about a new challenge for November. I’d thought about No Deep Fried Food November…but Popeyes is promising the return of their sandwich soon, so let’s not be stupid…