The Night We Went to a Hot Dog Place

May 20, 2010

Last night, Mrs. theskinnyonbenny told Vanya to stop doing something or other. He ran over to me, crying, and sobbed, "Mama, you don't love me anymore!"

That's how I'm feeling about my blog this month. I've got nothing -- and I mean absolutely nothing -- new going on that would be at all interesting to anyone. Not that this stops me from writing most other months, but for some reason, it is right now.

On the other hand, I have a few notes on ideas to blog about that have gotten added and ignored for months. So I suppose I could go back to one of those.

One night when we were in New York, Amanda and Clay took our kid back to the hotel with them, leaving the rest of the grown-ups free to try a bar that Mrs. theskinnyonbenny had heard of. The bar was called PDT (standing for Please Don't Tell), and going there definitely made you feel like a hotshot.

To get in, you have to phone their unlisted number that afternoon. You can't call before 3:00, and by 3:15, they're booked up for the night. Those of my approximate age will remember dialing their university's telephone registration system for scheduling classes. Redial - busy signal - redial - busy signal - redial - busy signal - redial - busy signal - redial - busy signal. You got to where the muscle memory was automatic, and then you got three seconds of stupidity, when your brain couldn't figure out what to do when the sound on the line was something other than the busy signal.

I got through to PDT at 3:10, and I was invited to show up at either 5:00 or at 11:00. We took the 11:00 seating.

After dinner, we went to another place that Mrs. theskinnyonbenny had heard of, but there was a line outside, and Shelly couldn't use her crutches as a way to talk us to the front of the line. It wasn't like one of those LA nightclubs where everyone in line is young and buff. Most of them looked like dirty hippies. But it was a democratic place, and we were in back. So no dice.

We went to another place that wasn't noteworthy at all. And then, before 11:00, we headed to PDT.

We had a filthy, sexually graphic in the cab, where I explained to the ladies among us that if a date goes moderately poorly, and if the female is considering giving a hand-job, but nothing more serious, then the kinder thing to do is nothing at all. Because the handshake that we can give ourselves is always better than what you ladies will be able to deliver. I asked the cab driver if that was an abnormally nasty conversation or if that was pretty normal, and he seemed to indicate that it was somewhere between normal and the worst that he had heard.

PDT has no sign, and it has no door to the outside. To get in, you go into a hot dog stand. It's a brightly lit, metal furniture, Dairy Queen-looking place. To the side, there is an old fashioned phone booth. You go into the booth, pick up the phone, and tell the person who you are. The back of the phone booth opens, letting you into a dark and comfortable bar.

There are only a few tables, and then a long bar. It was dark enough to pull out my joint at the table just to say that I did. The fact that it went unnoticed might speak to the private nature of the tables, or it might merely reveal something about the size of my hog.

There's a large menu with drinks that taste like anything you can imagine. If you like a good mixed drink, you will very much enjoy a visit. If you find yourself in the area, drop me a note, and I'll send you the phone number.

The night ended very, very late. 2:00? 3:00? I'm not sure. I know that Mary Ann freaked out that the cab driver had taken us to a different borough on the way back to our hotel (he had not), and I know that Mary Ann's alarm went off at 4:30 so that she could jump up, leave, and make it to the parade (she did not -- at least not for another hour or two).

It would have been nice to use this story to introduce a new site. Mrs. theskinnyonbenny has promised to start publishing a blog about cocktails and bar/restaurant experiences on As you'll see if you follow the link, it just gets you back to my home page. Please let her know that you want to start reading her work.