Have you ever sat behind your desk, day in and day out and wondered what else you could be doing with your life? I think it’s safe to say that no matter how much you may love your job there definitely has come a time where you contemplated abandoning social “norms” and running away to an island with no plan, leaving it up to fate, Tim Gunn-ing if you will. Is that just me? I think I’ve had several quarter life crises where I’ve second guessed where I am in my life and although I’m not exactly where I thought I’d be (who is?), I have to say I’m pretty happy with how things are turning out. A couple weeks ago, while in Connecticut my mom and I visited her very best childhood friend, Andrea known to me as Aunt Andrea, at her hot dog truck Top Dog. Those of you who know me well, know that hot dogs are not just a summer BBQ food for me, they’re a main staple in my diet. So you can imagine my excitement. We arrived early before the lunch rush and were able to talk to Aunt Andrea about a typical day at Top Dog. Hard worker is an understatement, her day begins at 6am where she makes her chili and sauerkraut to ensure it’s fresh for the day’s start. Then she has to pack up her truck with all necessary ingredients, including cheese for her cheese dog, freshly made bacon for her her BACON cheese dog, a hot and sweet relish for her Orleans dog, some spicy hot Orleans relish for her Cajun dog and I can’t forget sauteed onions and a spicy tomato sauce for her New York dog. As you can imagine she has your typical hot dog toppings available i.e ketchup, yellow and brown mustard and relish. Once she has the truck packed and ready to go she drives to her spot on Route 66 in Portland Connecticut. As you can tell from the picture above, Top Dog is pulled by her vintage Checker Cab, she explained that it’s quite a scene on the highway and while some drivers find her slow driving charming, others are not so amused. I was able to go inside Top Dog, first of all the smell is an AMAZING mixture of steaming hot dogs and mouth watering chili. It’s small inside, so all of her condiments and ingredients are in containers on her right, with a microwave and then a cooler on her left for drinks. If you think that this week’s weather has been hot, then you haven’t been inside a hot dog. It was about 20 degrees hotter inside than out, I don’t know how she does it. Like I said hard worker doesn’t even begin to describe Andrea. I get cranky in the heat, like you really don’t want to be near me. As I watched Andrea interact with her customers, some she’s known for years, others new to Top Dog, she didn’t cease to have a smile on her face or a funny joke to crack. The passion she has for what she does is something most would envy, it’s palpable. Since I graduated I’ve always been determined to do what I “love” and to be honest that hasn’t been so easy, but nothing good is ever easy and I’m excited for what’s in store. Plus, I have some major inspiration to refer to while I make my way through.
For more information on Top Dog, check it out here!