We knew bacon when he sat under the stairwell in high school between most every period talking about how awesome it would be to be the world's most revered and cherished meat candy. We knew bacon when anybody could just walk up to him on the street and shoot the shit, but now you have to frickin' call his publicist and submit questions for him to answer.
Bacon has exploded over the past year. What took America so long? We have been rockin' the pig fats since we were tall enough to throw half a pound in the microwave and watch some "Picture Pages." But we still love bacon just the same and will follow it wherever it goes. When we found out that the folks over Ray's Franks (1302 Nance St., 713-224-6441) were wrapping hot dogs in the stuff, deep-frying it, and serving it in a bun, we got anxious to go, like a junkie on the way to Spanish Tony's apartment.
Located around the corner from Last Concert Café, Ray's has only been open a month or so. It's run by the Sainz family, whose son Aaron is a fixture on the Houston indie scene. When we busted the hatch on Monday mid-afternoon, The Clash's London Calling was jumping from the stereo. Punk rock and nitrates make us swoon, but it may just be the early onset of something we may one day need insurance to treat.
We ordered up "The Mummy," the aforementioned satanic death treat. The item isn't the only horror/cult movie-themed dish on the menu. There's also "The Blob," which is a chili cheeseburger, and the "Freddy Krueger," which is deep-fried hot dog served with fried jalapeños and onions on top.
"The Mummy" is seven or so inches of pure animalistic power. It's the kind of hot dog you would order hours before getting a lethal injection. The bacon is crunchy and is best covered in shredded mild cheddar cheese. The bun is where it's at. Sainz says that all the buns are made by a small bakery in the Second Ward and are free of preservatives, making them only useable for less than a day. Dip the dog in some of Ray's curry ketchup or hot mustard for an extra bit of heaven.
All the burgers are half-pound jobs, and the hot dogs aren't so small themselves. Vegetarians aren't left out, as Ray's serves a black bean "Blacula" burger and a "Clockwork Orange" veggie dog. In fact, all of the carnivore-ready dishes on the menu can be made to suit vegetarians.
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Coming soon to Ray's will be beer and wine, and if Aaron "Danger" Sainz has his way, a few nightly punk rock DJ sets by local spinners. The location has a distinct punk rock feel, from the décor inside to Sainz's scooter sitting outside. The next time we hit up Ray's we will most definitely be trying the "Terror-misu," which is a coffee-infused cake with ladyfingers, mascarpone and hella amounts of chocolate.
The prices are agreeable with most budgets, and the food is filling. The location is a little off the beaten path, especially for drunk dining, but if you can find just the right boy or girl to bring to Ray's, it would make an excellent spot to have a meal before giving in to the ravages of over-consumption and questionable choices.