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Hot Dog Log: Free JapaDogs in Union Square, Two New Wieneries in LES

photo(365)Lauren Carol Smith

JapaDog, the Japanese hot dog joint that opened on St. Marks Place in January, is giving ’em away in Union Square.

Nodding to its humble origins as a Vancouver food stand, the brand set up a cart outside of Best Buy this morning and gave away beef and veggie dogs, topped with cherry mayo. They’re now going for $3.

Same deal tomorrow: free dogs from 10 a.m. till noon, then $3 dogs till 6 or 7 p.m.

Joshua Heeki, a chef and manager at the St. Marks location, said JapaDog hopes to eventually launch a more permanent cart somewhere in the city, but this one is mostly a publicity ploy. “We want the public to know about us a bit more,” he said.

In other wiener news, Bowery Boogie hears that Links is set to open tomorrow at 188 Allen Street, with another hot dog spot, Los Perros Locos, opening soon across the street.

Dog Day Afternoon: Sausage Party in Union Square, New Judges for Crif Dog Classic

The truck at Union Square.Mary Reinholz

In Union Square today, a semi-truck doubling as a barbecue smoker offered free chicken and beef sausage links to pedestrians as part of the History Channel’s “Cross Country Cookout.” The truck will be serving free grub till 6 p.m.

Of course, it may be a little late to get in on the feeding frenzy, so here’s something else to chew on: Dexter Holland, lead singer of The Offspring (yes, they’re still around, and have an album out today) and Evette Rios, correspondent on ABC’S “The Chew,” have been added to the judging table at the Crif Dog Classic, an eating contest taking place at Roberta’s, in Bushwick, on the Fourth of July.

At Union Square.Mary Reinholz

The contest, hosted by the East Village’s own Crif Dogs, will feature ten renowned eaters, including Takeru Kobayashi – the legend who famously became persona non grata at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest –  as well as beats from Finger on the Pulse and performances by Wild Yaks, Andy Suzuki & The Method, and The Electric Mess.

As for the Coney Island competition, East Village roommates Timothy “Eater X” Janus and Crazy Legs Conti are gearing up for it, and we’ll have more on that later.

Look Out When You Cook Out! Bugs and Band-Aids Found in Hot Dogs

Glassy hot dogsU.S. Department of Agriculture A package of hot dogs that contained glass shards, according to a federal food inspector.

If you’re stuck in town this Labor Day weekend without so much as a roof to grill on, wipe that hangdog look off your face: Maggots, worms, metal, plastic and even a razor were just a few of the objects that horrified callers said were in their hot dogs in complaints lodged with the U.S. Department of Agriculture between 2007 and 2009.

LaborDayDogs3Click To See Full Infographic

Back in 2009, this reporter filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking the U.S.D.A. to give up its dirty-dog logs. The 64 case files finally came in this week, just in time for the holiday! Consider them food for thought if you’re planning to grill during these last dog days of summer.

The documents (viewable here) tell numerous cringe-inducing tales of foreign objects disrupting all-American meals. Band-Aids, a rubber glove, and even a lock washer (used to secure a bolt) are all described in snappy detail.

One report told of a “winged insect that resembled a dragonfly inside the package of hot dogs,” and noted that the insect’s “head, eyes, and wings are visible. Insect is black in color, over 1-inch long.” Read more…