That’s My Dog

Nobody wants to feel like optimism is a mistake.

Yet, walking back from the new downtown hot dog cart, that’s exactly how we felt. The problem, we felt, in the classic act of victim blaming, was not that the hot dog cart didn’t “get it.” The problem was that we don’t belong here, vegetarians in a state that resents vegetarians. And our botched lunch plans were not the fault of the hot dog cart. They were our fault for expecting any better.

We were cautious at first. We heard that there was a new hot dog cart downtown and thought about big cities, where carts and food trucks are viable sources of tasty lunches. We thought about the massive number of trucks in Washington D.C. that line up outside government offices, forking over delicious pizza and Chinese food and felafel to workers conscious of time and money. Those other cities have taco trucks and cupcake wagons and vans that cook empanadas with solar powered ovens. Here, we would be content to start our journey to mobile food sales with the humble hot dog stand — no New Orleans Lucky Dog, to be sure, but a start.

Still, we knew, being Montgomery, that our cart might not be likely friendly to our radical fringe vegetarian beliefs. But when a friend assured us on Twitter that she had inquired as to the status of veggie dogs, we were reassured when she told us that they would begin serving them. She contacted us later to confirm the news: The hot dog cart had veggie dogs.

Today was the day. We walked over, confirming the location on the cart’s Facebook page. There it was! State workers were in line, lanyards dangling around their necks! And there, on the menu, veggie dogs! Two dollars! I wanted to order four of them.

I settled for two, my dining companion for a solitary veggie dog. We were disappointed when the vendors told us that the City of Montgomery had forced them to stop selling cans of soda for some reason related to the fact that they were doing it out of a cooler. Thanks City! Looking out for small business!

But when we received and paid for our dogs, excited to sit down and consume them, even without a beverage, my dining companion poked through her hot dog bun and asked if they had forgotten the veggie dog – you know, the thing that the food product is named after?

No, it turns out that this hot dog bun full of toppings – cole slaw, relish, some shredded cheddar – was what they called a veggie dog. This was what they had added to their menu after a request they had received from some other poor Montgomery vegetarian.

We explained that we had expected a soy based cylinder there in the bun, nestled underneath the condiments, and they seemed curious but receptive to the idea, as if we were explaining that hot dogs could also be constructed from sonic energy and distillations of human love.

Oh, Montgomery. On a day when we in Alabama have elected Roy Moore to return to the office from which he was humiliatingly expelled, our greatest disappointment is a misunderstanding by a start-up small business. Because in the latter case, we made the mistake of expecting better.

Update: Based on the discussion in the comments below, we did a follow-up at Midtown Montgomery Living.

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10 responses to “That’s My Dog

  1. On a day when the newscasts are full of stories of how the Republican party just didn’t understand the changing demographics of voters, this is a particularly great example of how easy it is to assume everyone has the same flesh eating addiction that they do. They just don’t get it. Only in our city would someone make a “vegetarian hot dog” without a…well, vegetarian dog. I don’t blame you for having high expectations. The problem is not with you. The problem is that these folks actually thought this was what vegetarians wanted. They just don’t get it. In fact, they are so uninformed it is laughable.

  2. This is practically right out of a scene from the Simpsons episode “Lisa the Vegetarian”:

    Lisa: Uhh, excuse me? Isn’t there anything here that doesn’t have meat in it?
    Doris: Possibly the meatloaf.
    Lisa: Well, I believe you’re required to provide a vegetarian alternative.
    Doris: [Picks up a hot dog in a bun, turns it upside down so the hot dog falls out, and places the bun on Lisa’s food tray] Yum. It’s rich in bunly goodness.
    Lisa: Do you remember when you lost your passion for this work?

  3. If it’s such an issue for you to have veggie dogs, why not bring your own? My husband used to bring his own veggie patty to Mcdonalds and order a Big Mac without meat. Guess you better not go to Five Guys either. They serve veggie sandwiches with only veggies in them. Shocker!

    • Thanks for your less than helpful comment. Unlike your husband, we do not walk around with vegetarian burger patties and dogs in our pockets. Thanks for warning us about Five Guys, but that was something we already knew. Selling something as a “veggie sandwich” is not the same as listing a menu item as a “veggie dog.” Still, whether talking about the hot dog cart or some burger chain, failing to offer products for the growing vegetarian segment of the population is bad business practice, even if there are some weirdos out there that think McDonald’s (and their ilk) are worth making accommodations for.

  4. Hello there Everyone!! This is Charles Lee, with That’s My dog!! First I would love to Apologize For “That’s My Dog” Not reaching your Expectations…

    We Inspire to be Better.. Thats why we have comment cards in the Front of our Cart for Suggestions… We have lots of Learning to do, when it comes to what all people like as individuals… Thats why we ask for feedback from everyone, to better server everyones liking…

    But you guys will be happy to know, that (Now) we are serving actual “Veggie Dogs” on our menu… Your first 2 are on the house… lol

    The reason we Added our first “Veggie dog”? On our second day out there, a guy came to the Cart & said “what can u sale me,I’m hungry but i don’t eat meat” We made him a Bun, with no Weiner, Caramelized Onions, & Peppers, and all of our Fresh Vegetables and he Loved it… In fact he comes and get one,just about everyday.. His Name is Chis, But we call him Veggie dog!! lol

    One thing I can tell you about Montgomery AL, No it’s no Washington D.C or New orleans for sure, But we all try to work together, to make the very best of our City… Thank you & GOD Bless

    Charles Lee 11/27/2012

    • Awesome Charles! We will be there VERY soon!

    • Charles We (ladies in the office) Love Your Hot Dog Cart. We think it is a great addition to downtown Montgomery!!! You can’t make everyone happy and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Oh, Lost in Montgomery (what a negative name) you should give people a chance to get what you ask before you go writing a negative blog. This is a local business you should be supporting and trying to help.

    • Good Morning, I just wanted to let you know that we are going to be on channel 8 WAKA at 8.00 tonight!!!!!! They also have pictures on their FB page if you would to check it out.
      I hope you will give us another chance? We now have soy bean dogs and/or the other veggie dog…lol… Thanks & GOD Bless

      • Congratulations, Charles! We are out of town right now but will be there as soon as we can for soy dogs galore! Thank you for making Montgomery an even better place to live!

  5. Great response Charles! It’s nice to see a business owner paying attention to his customers. Thank you for the addition of the dog and the explanation for the “original” veggie dog. I can’t wait to try out your new addition!

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