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The double (hot) dog dare response happened on Thursday December 18. I would be making this journey without my Jane who was busy working at The Quilted Crow. I was not looking forward to making this trek without her but decided to add Christmas shopping for my sweetheart to the day’s quest. By late morning the plan was in place and off I went to Allentown the County Seat of Lehigh County. This is the same Allentown that Billy Joel made famous with his song of the same title. The first verse went like this:

“Well we’re living here in Allentown And they’re closing all the factories down Out in Bethlehem they’re killing time Filling out forms Standing in line Well our fathers fought the Second World War Spent their weekends on the Jersey Shore Met our mothers in the USO Asked them to dance Danced with them slow And we’re living here in Allentown.”

The town has been working hard of late to climb out of the funk created when the mills closed in the 70s. Several blocks of downtown have been transformed into a new PPL Arena with a minor league hockey team “The Phantoms” playing there. When The Phantoms are not on the ice concerts fill the place. The minor league baseball team plays in a beautiful new park named Coca Cola Park. The health industry has given the town a shot in the arm with two major hospital networks building; it seems, on every block. But, we are not here to discuss Allentown. We are here to discuss hot dogs. In Allentown hot dogs are synonymous with Yocco’s. I decided to visit Yocco’s West because I knew how to get there.

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I arrived near the end of the lunch hour but was still surprised by the continuous line beginning at the cash register and reaching to the door. The place was blanketed in a continual noisiness that began with the servers behind the counter. I was standing at the cash register answering ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Do you want something to drink?’ from the server in front of me when I heard a server at the other end of the counter call out to me, “Sir, can I help you?” So, I am shouting back to the second server with my order while remaining at the cash register. After I had given my order the second server shouted my order to the cashier standing in front of me. I was reminded of the SNL skit about the famous Chicago restaurant the Billy Goat Tavern-“Cheeseburger, Cheesburger, Cheesburger, chips, Pepsi.” The first server rang up my bill and took my cash. For those of you who might venture to this hot dog joint Yocco’s is a cash only place. The servers where so busy that I didn’t interrupt them to take their pictures. I sat at a booth and ate my two “Yocco’s Chili Dogs” and small fries (they had fries) while taking in the constant cacophony of sound accompanying the continual parade of humanity. I heard, “Sir, can I help you?” so often I dreamed about it that night. I felt like I was in that SNL skit from so long ago. Half of my double (hot) dog dare was safely over the tongue and down my throat as I left the place with a pleasant smile on my face. Now, I was off to do some Christmas shopping before moving on over to Easton on the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border.

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See you next time.

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