In honor of National Cheetos Day earlier this month I figured I should find the cousin of nachos, the Cheeto Pie, and try some of those to pay my respects. Then I realized a Cheeto Pie wasn’t a thing and that I was actually thinking of a Frito Pie, so I endeavored to find one of those instead. A short car ride later I did just that at a little food truck known as The Dogfather, a mafia themed extreme hot dog experience. I’m sure by now you have a lot of questions, the answers to which you will find below.
Like humans such as yourself, nachos have many strange relatives. You’ve got your Irish nachos, which are like that guy your aunt married from Ireland that may or may not have been for green card reasons. You’ve got your single serving artsy nachos, that are like your cousin who went to art school and now squats in an abandoned warehouse in Williamsburg. And of course you’ve got your Frito Pie, which is like your wacky Uncle Gregg who had an extended “vacation” in an “institution” for being “too wacky” in public, only also like chili nachos as well. There are several variations on the dish; The Walking Taco, The Texas Straw Hat, Frito Boats, but what it boils down to is that you have a pile of Fritos, you put some chili on them, and then you add some cheese. Boom.
Being the man of extremes that I am, The Dogfather has been on my radar for quite some time, although purely in a hot dog capacity. Yes folks, I can’t eat nachos every day (And if you talk to my doctor I shouldn’t be eating nachos period) and on the days when I don’t I will occasionally settle for a hot dog. Since food trucks are a relatively new phenomenon in the area and Mafia related hot dog establishments something entirely new, I’ve frequently been an sampler of their fine quality dogs, recommending in particular “The Undertaker” (Bleu cheese dressing, jalapeno peppers, bacon bits) and “The Fredo” (The Dogfather’s chili and melted cheese) as two of their finest. In addition to “The Vinny” and “The French Connection” they also make a Frito Pie known as “Frito Pie” (Totally dropping the pun ball on what could have been named the “Fredo Pie”) and it was on this dish that I supped.
If you are accustomed to the Walking Taco type of Frito Pie, which is a bag of fritos opened up with the chili and cheese dumped in it, you may have realized how awkward that is when you’re trying to drive somewhere. The Dogfather conveniently serves their Frito Pie in a plastic container that with the addition of a lid makes for an excellent what I will term here Driving Taco, saving you hours of scraping chili off your dashboard clean up time. A revolutionary achievement in Frito Pie science? I’ll let you be the judge, but it really is.
Like all Frito based meals (Frito Burgers, Frito Chow Mein, Frito Aspic, etc.) as the flavor of Fritos is standardized the entirely of the meal’s taste lives or dies on the nuances of the chili and the cheese used on the dish. How did said Dogfather fair with these? Well the cheese was shredded cheddar, which is pretty hard to mess up, and a definite step above nacho cheese sauce. The chili however is going to be divisive depending on your palate. It’s a sweet chili, a sweet AWARD WINNING chili, and that is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, or chili. If you are of the notion that chili must be savory and that sweetness is an abomination, this is probably not going to be for you. If you can somehow transcend the concept of basic flavors and acknowledge the chili on its own merit though, it’s damn good. Do I prefer it on a chili dog rather than on a pile of Fritos? I think so, but that’s going to be a real Sophie’s choice there.
So, you could stroll over to The Dogfather and get this Frito Pie and not be disappointed, but if you’re going to go to an EXTREME HOT DOG TRUCK you should really be getting some hot dogs. I would recommend the monstrosity known as THE CEMENT OVERCOAT (aka Mike’s challenge)
“Flatten and cook a bun on both sides, add 3 hotdogs, cover with slice of American cheese, add spoonful of chili, cover THAT with American cheese, add ANOTHER spoonful of chili, cover with pepperoni, add mustard, diced onions and peppers, cover with another flattened bun. Comes with a FREE bumper sticker proclaiming your accomplishment!” A Frito Pie can be made at any home, but a Cement Overcoat however can only be made in the home of an insane genius, so go for that instead.