There are some things that you just can't duplicate. I can't make a sausage roll as good as the British shop just north of me, and I've never been able to swing that delicate veal sauce I had at a stone inn in Montreal. And it's often the city specific things like Chicago-style pizza or New York hot dogs, topped with onions that you wish you could recreate at home.
But wait, Joe Cachia, creator of N.Y.J.O - New York Joe's Onions - has made it so you can grill up hot dogs at any time and with the addition of his saucy, slightly smoky, tangy onions, feel like you're at the corner of 55th Street and Madison Avenue at a moment's notice.
It's a close-to-impossible feat to recreate such a specific memory. After all, it's not just the taste that you need to get bang on, but it needs to bring you back to feeling the press of hundreds of yellow cabs, the thick heat rising up from the concrete and that over stimulation that only NYC can bring on.
But Joe nails it with his N.Y.J.O's. The texture is bang-on - soft, but not mushy - and how he was able to add tomatoes but not have them overpower the onions is a mystery. That's extremely hard to do and do well. I like that they're a little messy too, because when you're eating a hot dog on the corner, there's no way you're not getting a little juice running down your arm. For me, that's part of the fun.
All Joe asks is that you warm the onions first before adding them to your dog. And really, that's not too much, especially since he's gone to the trouble of creating such a delicacy. It's take just a few moments and it's absolutely worth it. And freakin' affordable too.
Besides, it's the least you can do - Joe has just saved you a plane ticket and the cost of a hotel room.