As a south side resident, I don't take the same dim view of the city's left-of-downtown amenities as some among us. After all, just as some southsiders never make it past Guadalupe Street, there are eastsiders who don't think there's anything beyond Cerrillos Road and St. Michael's Drive except car dealerships and an on-ramp.
But both sides of town are culturally and culinarily rich. Still, I'm forced to admit that there are sections of town�my part of town�where generic development projects abut derelict properties and overgrown fields. It looks a lot like the apocalypse or at least the right place to be attacked by zombies, cannibals or roving gangs of militant marauders (take your pick).
So when a hot dog stand recently popped up on a sunny patch of asphalt on Rufina Street�with allegedly low-priced Centex housing to the south and disintegrating adobes to the north�I thought, "Did somebody else create Zombie Dog before I could get around to it?"
As it turns out, Golden Dog is an altogether less bleak and more earnest affair. Anyone who, like me, has been suffering through a year-long building project has probably encountered Golden Dog at its previous location in the parking lot of the Lowe's on Zafarano Road. Just as a cheese slice at Pizza Centro is the closest Santa Feans are likely to get to a classic New York slice, Golden Dog represents the traditional New York street dog�or at least that's how it's been marketed by Sabrett, the hot dog distributor/vending brand famous for its big blue and yellow umbrellas, natural casings with "snap," and smallish, um, weenies.
Of course, America's problem with hot dogs isn't that they're typically too small. There's a lot to be said for getting one's hot dog fix without consuming too gluttonous a portion of emulsified meats. Top it with onion sauce, sauerkraut and mustard, and you're staring down the barrel of a balanced�or at least satisfying�meal. If you have no New York loyalties, go one better and add green chile. After all, it's not the size of the hot dog, it's the�well, anyway.
It's an unfortunate economic indicator that Golden Dog wasn't selling enough at Lowe's; it's almost like the construction industry has fallen on hard times. But the commuter traffic on Rufina Street right at the junction of the "equestrian crossing" (seriously) has kept Golden Dog busy for the time being. Of course, nobody knows what happens to an itinerant food cart when the weather changes. Golden Dog might find more sheltered accommodations or may end up wandering the Earth pushing a cart like a more palatable and relish-filled version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road.
One bit of solace for everyone, including eastsiders who don't know Rufina Street from Albuquerque, is that Golden Dog will be on hand with an immodest supply of fresh Sabrett hot dogs and onion sauce for Fiestas de Santa Fé and Zozobra.
On second thought, maybe Zozobra Dog is better branding than Zombie Dog around here.