If you follow the local street food scene at all, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about West Coast Weiner Company. Proprietor Mike Grim recently made the move here from Spokane and started working the social networking scene pretty quickly. I was lured by posts about big coils of Italian sausage and meatball sandwiches on Facebook. I was pretty sure neither of those things would be available today, but the very fact that he has them on occasion made me curious to try his standard fare.
The setup is totally old school. No truck, no seating, just a cart, a couple of coolers, a grill and a guy who knows how to work it. He definitely earns points for his wide array of condiments as well. Today, there were just about exactly five items on the menu: hot dog, German sausage, chorizo, grilled cheese, and the evil-sounding Chili Cheese Cheetos. Mom and I decided to split-and-swap a chorizo and German sausage. My niece and my roommate’s youngest each decided to get a normal dog. As for me, I knew I couldn’t leave without trying the Cheetos dish so I got a small one of those as well.
|The “Big Dog” with mustard, onions and cheese sauce|
My niece chose yellow mustard, onions and cheese sauce for her toppings. The roomie’s kid, Bob help me, picked ketchup and cheese sauce. I have decided not to include a picture of the latter. Don’t ask for details, just thank me. I mean ketchup on a hot dog is bad enough. But I digress. The dogs were big and good, the bun was actually a bread product rather than that styrofoam/tissue paper hybrid a lot of places push. The onions were sliced thin, which is my preference. Definitely worth the price of admission, and both of the kids were full at about the 70% mark.
|Chroizo with brown mustard|
The chorizo was probably the mildest one I’ve ever had. The quality of the sausage itself was nice, and the color and grease were certainly there, but there was absolutely no heat. If you’re a spice wimp and want to try a chorizo, this is your best bet. Personally, I need a little more kick. There were spicy sauces (Sriacha and wasabi among them) and peppers available, but it’s just not the same.
The German sausage was by far the better of the two that Mom and I tried, so of course the picture didn’t turn out. Picture the one above but brown and covered in onions and yellow mustard. It actually had more bite than the chorizo, a nice subtly peppery flavor that ran all though it. I’m already craving another one, maybe with sauerkraut and deli mustard this time.
|Chili Cheese Cheetos|
According to my roommate who had to point it out to me because my brain must not have gotten out of second gear today, the Chili Cheese Cheetos are basically a riff on Frito Pie. Cheetos (your choice of regular or flaming hot), chili, onions, pickled jalapeños and cheese sauce. I still think I prefer the original, but this was an interesting and tasty change of pace. The only thing I would change is to use beanless chili. The saddest thing about this dish is that Mike is only open from 11 AM till 3 PM Monday through Saturday, and the best time for an item like this is about 2:30 AM, if you know what I’m saying…
All in all, I dug this place, but keep in mind that I’m a sucker for anything in a sausage casing. As I said, I would swap for chili sans beans and add a spicier sausage to balance out the menu, but if you’re in the area during the right hours, you could do a lot worse for a quick bite. Mike has also teamed with O’Reilly Auto Parts to create the “First Saturday Show and Shine” in the Hugh Nichols parking lot, where he’ll be slinging sausages from 10 AM till 6 PM the first Saturday of every month, so if you have a nice ride or like to scope out other people’s, that’s an option as well.
Food: Small menu with occasional specials, but good quality stuff. B
Value: Prices are pretty standard for a street vendor. B
Service: Mike is a nice guy who clearly knows what he’s doing. A
Atmosphere: It’s a parking lot in Nampa, and unless you want to eat standing up or in your car, you’ll be taking your food to go. N/A
Final Grade: B+