The newest addition at The Lot is a good-looking food cart: Brown wood siding with cedar shingles lining the corners. And, we had only approached the cart two seconds earlier, when the very friendly woman serving food leaned out the window and laughed: "How can a girl from Indonesia cook hot dogs?" she asked, largely (completely?) unprompted by anything we had said or even yet had a chance to ask.
She was friendly and chatty, and went on to tell us that it was her husband's idea, and then asked us if we wanted coconut water.
"This is the best I've had here," she said, referring to the United States, I believe. "Fresh, like when I was a girl."
But besides the coconut water, the food offerings at Burgz N Dogz are strictly 'Merican—and, as such, adds a needed basic element in the spectrum of food offerings at The Lot. While there is already spicy Thai food and heaping servings of Hawaiian dishes at the most popular collection of food carts in Bend, Burgz N Dogz serves up fundamental Coney Island picnic food; that is, hot dogs, hamburgers, and grilled cheese. Simple and basic, as simple and basic does.
The burger is classic, in the way that dad used to make between martinis on Long Island—yellow mustard, soft bun and all. With the gourmet burger craze going a bit too far—and sometimes requiring unhinging jawbones to fix into the pie hole—the thin burger patty with basic toppings—iceburg lettuce, ketchup, mustard—is classic.
There is also something classically comforting about a grilled cheese sandwich. And while fancified versions with multiple hard to pronounce cheeses or Parmesan-encrusted breads filled can be tasty, there's something about the stripped-down version that really hits the spot. Burgz N Dogz keeps it simple with this kid-friendly option. Two slices of thick white bread toasted to a perfect shade of brown, with a couple slices of real, melted cheese. That's all you really need (though I added sliced pickles, because, why not?). Bonus: It's a great deal. At only $3, the grilled cheese is a solid option for everyone from broke college students and children to grownups who just want something simple. Add fries and drink and it's a quick and reliable meal.
Well, not everything on the menu is simple and basic, but everything does start with the elements of a hot dog or a hamburger.
The Crispy Wasabi Dogz is garnished with a thick dollop of wasabi cream cheese snaking along the length of the hot dog, and peppers like wagon wheels up the heat factor (although still surprisingly tame); there is also a side of spicy and crunchy kimchi.
The prices for anything past the grilled cheese were perhaps a bit on the steep side, $7 for a loaded hot dog seemed a dollar or two too much for a real bargain.
Yet, the price for a nostalgic burger and dog? Priceless.