BRUNSWICK – Here’s the thing about summer in Maine: It doesn’t have to end.
Yes, the temps feel fall-like and the leaves are turning. We cannot cast a blind eye to the realities in front of us. But isn’t so much of our summer experience about state of mind?
On the first day after Labor Day and my first day back at work after a two-week summer vacation, I scheduled an afternoon appointment in Harpswell. Very smart move. I spent the morning in the office, then took off for the coast. Along the way, I stopped in Brunswick for lunch. It almost felt like my vacation never ended.
My intention was to visit one of the seafood places on the coast at Cundy’s Harbor. But they succumbed to the popular notion that summer ends with Labor Day, and closed for the season. Fools, I say. Fools.
Instead, I pulled my car into a vacant spot on the Green in Brunswick and visited my favorite food truck in Maine, Danny’s. In many ways, nothing says summer more than an open-air hot dog.
I actually ordered a hot dog and cheeseburger combo, which also included a bag of chips and soda for $6.75. I liked everything, and loved the burger. The cook warned me I would have to wait “three or four minutes,” because the patty wasn’t instantly ready. No problem. I’ve waited all summer for this. What’s another few minutes?
When I received my trove of food on a paper plate, the hamburger bun was hot and moist — so much so it was too hot to hold, so I opted for the hot dog first.
I like hot dogs served pretty much any way — grilled, microwaved, stove-top fried — but steamed is my favorite. It reminds me of Fenway Park and the in-stand vendors who lug around those silver metal steam boxes. They open the lid and the steam comes rushing out, right along with memories of my youth.
Danny’s dogs are like that. Served in a split-top bun with mustard and onions, the casing of my dog snapped when I bit into it: One, two, three, four bites, and the dog was history. A few onions fell to the ground beneath the park bench where I enjoyed my meal. I liked the taste and texture, but mostly I liked that the bun was just moist enough from steaming that it wrapped itself around the dog. Truly, finger-licking good.
By then, the burger had cooled enough to hold. I took it in two hands and began with a small bite in the middle. As ketchup and mustard oozed out the sides, I just kept munching until it was gone. It was moist, textured and succulent, like a backyard burger, packed down thin for quick cooking. I could taste the grill on the burger.
One of the best burgers of the summer. So far.
Danny’s has the right idea. It plans to stay open as long as the weather holds, which means mid- to late-November.
They’re singing my song.
See you at the beach.
The staff of GO anonymously samples meals for about $10.