May the Fork be With You: Adventures for the Slightly Curious but Sedentary


Adventure is a loaded word. For many it connotes the exotic, the difficult or the unusual. The little frisson of thrill that is built into this word evokes steamy jungles, long treks in hazardous conditions or at least breaking from a comfort zone. As we get older though, perhaps “adventure” loses some of its lustrous appeal: the siren call of the couch outweighs the call of the wild.

It is for this reason that of late we have taken to journeys that are more suited to our, shall we say predisposition. Yesterday for example we decided to supplement our errand to a local store with a side trip for lunch to a distinctive restaurant in New Jersey. The internet makes it easy to seek these out. A quick search of Trip Advisor in the city we were visiting revealed Destination Dogs to be the “best in the area.” A few turns later, there we were beneath an Amtrak station in New Brunswick, across the street from Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center, trains roaring overhead.

The restaurant itself is a small  bar on the corner (parking available in a public lot across the street) with high bar stools and tables, along with additional  seating upstairs. The logo, a stylized hot dog with the elliptical wings of a 1950s prop plane, gives away the premise: “gourmet sausages, inspired by the world’s best cuisine.”

The menu is divided into “domestic” and “international” dogs, each labeled with an airport acronym. There is the sort of standard fare: “the Nicky Newarker: Newark (EWR), all beef hot dog with fried potatoes, peppers, onions, spicy brown mustard.” You can also choose the more exotic:” Bun Mi: Vietnam (HAN) Cantonese sausage w/ shaved foie gras, pickled vegetables, fresh jalapeños, Sriracha mayo, cilantro.”

The most adventurerous in our party had the “Andouille Armstrong: Louisiana (MSY) Andouille Alligator and shrimp sausage w/ cabbage, tomatoes, jalapeño remoulade, scallions, lemon wedge, “which she pronounced “light and not over powered by the condiments.” Those of us whose culinary comfort zone is more down to earth tried the “Paul Bunyon: Minnesota (MSP) Breakfast sausage w/ fried potatoes, bacon, maple syrup, topped w/ a fried egg.”

Overall the service was fast and friendly, though it was crowded, and the food was good, as well as filling. Leave room to try the appetizers, particularly the Scottish Eggs.

If you are truly adventurous, the restaurant offers a “Mile High Club” competitive eating challenge. Remember too that adventures are possible for those who like to be able to drive, park and stay in a comfort zone. The Latin roots of the word adventure, are after all “arrival.”

Thank you to my sister-in-law Pat for the title of this piece.

Destination Dogs is located at 101 Paterson St in New Brunswick, NJ. To view their menu, visit their website.


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