Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Quick Review: Lafayette Coney Island

For those of you who are very familiar with Detroit (or at least for those in the know whether by word of mouth, a visit or watching one of many food vlogs or television programs), you may know of the food feud between next door neighbours and friendly rivals Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island. A few weeks ago, my mom had told me that she, my sister and one of my godmothers had gone on a foodie quest to the Islands to see for themselves what their preference was. In my previous post, I wrote about Toni's 21st birthday celebration; after an evening Mass on her actual birthday, we went to the chosen Island. Unlike Adam Richman in the video above, Lafayette was chosen as their clear favourite-- and so to Lafayette we went.

Lafayette Coney Island on Urbanspoon

Sitting next to the clearly labeled and much larger American Coney Island, Lafayette seemed to be a true hole-in-the-wall kind of establishment. As we entered the diner, we were greeted by the few workers, one of whom turned out to be our waiter. It was apparent at that moment this was the kind of restaurant where everyone quickly felt at home and would get to know those working there; it is the kind of restaurant where one has a favourite order and rarely deviates. Within a span of minutes, we were welcomed, gave our choices off the modest menu and subsequently served with nonchalant confidence. There sat in front of me what looked to be two simple chili dogs, and not being close to a connoisseur of the coney, I wasn't sure as to how this would differ from any other chili dog (or any hot dog for that matter).

Within one bite, though, I could literally tastes the differences, each bite seeming to be a strong sense of Detroit history coupled with this restaurant's dining experience. Nestled on a subtly sweet hot dog bun, the Lafayette coney dog is topped with mouth-watering chili, a dollop of mustard [should you like it as it should be] and diced Spanish onions. And as I continued to eat, the more each component worked and made sense with the rest. As other vloggers, bloggers and media personnel take note of, it's the "snap" of the hot dog which seems to make a difference, a difference which I noted on my first bite.

This snap also translated to Lafayette's fries which were equally delicious underneath a healthy serving of chili and shredded cheese.

And even though there's a certain confidence in just how much the Lafayette cooks and servers, as well as the diners, believe in their coney, individual palates also lean toward the plates of American Coney Island, as seen in the blind taste test above in Camille Ford's "Food Wars." I wouldn't be surprised if I one day feel the urge to have to decide for myself which of the two Islands is better. Until then, though, I will affirm just how good the Lafayette dog is. In the meantime, head over to West Lafayette Boulevard and try these out for yourself.

Oh, and for those who love dessert, I also tried a chocolate pudding pie with a soft marshmallow-textured meringue topping. Not too sweet, this was definitely a great way to end a rather quick, inexpensive and great-tasting dinner!

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