Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

Believe it or not, the best hot dog stand I know of is not Pink’s.

It’s Top Dog in Berkeley.

I ate there three times while I was at a recent conference, which is shocking enough (or maybe not, if you know me).  But even more (revolting? naw) is that the three times were: twice on the last night we were there, and once the next morning before I hit the road.

There’s not much on TD’s menu and the few things that aren’t hot dogs are completely ignored by the crowd around the counter.

There’s not really a line, just a scrum around the two open doors.

One fellow works the grill.  He asks your order, you let him know what you want.  He cooks it and remembers what you asked for.  You pay him.  He gives it (OK, them) to you.  It’s a good system. 

The nockwurst (yes, veal is sold in liberal Berkeley) and kielbasa were superb, and the apple chicken sausage was bland but sweet.

The bread is as soft and fluffy as you can get without wrapping the hot dog in cotton batton.

Drinks are drinks.

The building itself is decorated in “Beautiful Mind” style with clipped out and photocopied political outbursts and copies of court cases and 19th century editorial wood carvings covering the walls held with Scotch tape.  A small TV plays over the grill, which usually held about 200 hot dogs in various stages of cooking.

I think that’s part of what brought me back so many times—I wanted to chip in and do my part.  A hot dog is a terrible thing to waste.


“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?




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