I'm having a hot dog crisis.
I'm particular about my hot dogs, probably because I grew up eating them in the cradle (or bun, if you'd like to stretch the metaphor to a sadistic level) of hot dog civilization. Hot dogs should be grilled or broiled, not boiled or microwaved. They should be topped with mustard and/or sauerkraut, or relish, or sweet onion sauce. No ketchup, ever, unless you're twelve years old. Chili cheese dogs are allowed on the way to (or from) drinking. They should always be slightly longer than the bun, and they should never cost more than a buck fifty. These are my rules, and they work for me, but they are all second to the one, true rule:
Hot dogs should have skins. SKINS. Casings. Intestines. The tube part of tube meat. Casings give the dogs some resistance to the teeth, makes 'em fight a little, and gives them a completely different texture. If I'm eating hot dogs without skins I might as well be eating tofu for all the difference it makes.
Finding honest-to-god real hot dogs shouldn't be a problem here, but it is. Most of the major hot dog manufactures (Sabrett, Boar's Head and Nathan's being the only three acceptable ones) make both cased and skinless versions, but for some stupid reason most New York City grocery stores adamantly refuse to carry the skinned ones and when they do they charge a (relative) bounty for them - twelve ounces of skinned dogs for six bucks versus sixteen ounces of skinless for four - as if they had to be hunted through the streets of Coney Island and shot rather than being pressed out of a diabolic, beef-filled machine.
It shouldn't be so difficult, but it is. I mean, is it really so much to ask that beef and beef flavoring injected into pig intestines be readily available and cheap?