Friday Fun Food: Senate Gets Hot Dog Machines

It has been a big week in the U.S. Senate. Yesterday, the World's Greatest Deliberative Body passed a bill granting voting rights to the District of Columbia. Today, it got hot dog vending machines. 

I hit up the newly installed machine in the Hart Senate Office Building to try out this miracle of modern vending science. Since it was the machine's first day, a technician from LHD Vending Systems was there buying a few dogs on house (err, House?) for interested passers-by. No word on whether accepting a $2 dog violates ethics rules for Senate staff. Beware the wrath of the guardian of integrity, the two-headed monster known as McCain-Feingold!

I went for the $2.50 all-beef Kunzler dog. The machine has a glass window in the front, you can see your hot dog get plucked from the refrigerated section, cooked (with "infrared," according to Alex Cifuentes, the helpful on-scene technician/spokesman), deposited in a warmed bun, and delivered though a sliding door. The dog is delivered naked, but condiments are supplied.

The dogs are pretty decent—better than boiled or microwaved, if not quite up to true grilled standard. And more miraculous even than the existence of a hot dog vending machine: Normally fast-walking, busy-and-important Senate staffers stopped to gawk at the machine and kibitz while it did its thing. None would go on the record with their observations about hot dogs, though. Let's just say that several high ranking Senate staffers are pro-hot dog.

Just in case the old saw about Washington being recession-proof turns out not to be true, you can cobble together your very own D.C. version of a Gray's Papaya Recession Special right on Capitol Hill. Gray's price these days is $4.45 for two dogs and a drink. At $2 a pop for the dogs and juice and soda machines flanking the dog machine, a similar package is yours for the making.

Nothing beats an illegal bacon dog, of course:

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  • Colonel_Angus||

    The part where everyone sticks their hand in to man-handle their weiner doesn't look very sanitary.

  • Billy!||

    Damn weren't Gray's Papaya 25 cents a pop in the mid to late 90's?

    Stagflation, baby.

  • tekende||

    I really like the Google ads that are showing up on this article.

  • ||

    See! No way the private sector could come up with this. Only our beloved and wise government could make hot dogs come out of a vending machine. I'm staggered by the glory that is the Democratic government and its magic hot dogs.

  • EJM||

    So, when will the Wisconsin delegation spring for specialty brats?

    (some examples here, here, here, here, and here)

  • America\'s Promise||

    A Hot Dog in Every Bun.

  • Joshua Holmes||

    One thing you don't want to see made inside another thing you don't want to see made.

  • ||

    Congressional sausage. The perfect Platonic Form of sausage.

  • ||

    Damn your mocking ways, Pro Lbiertate!

  • ||

    I think the nickname of this machine should be "The Pelosi."

  • Jerry||

    I didn't know you could microwave hot dogs. Is that a Chinese gimmick?

  • Astroglide||

    "It has been a big week in the U.S. Senate. Yesterday, the World's Greatest Deliberative Body passed a bill granting voting rights to the District of Columbia. Today, it got hot dog vending machines."

    Translation: The circus has come to town.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    A Hot Dog in Every Bun.

    Larry Craig's re-election slogan?

  • Syd||

    Jerry: I don't see why you couldn't microwave them if you puncture the skin, although I remember the "Cosby" episode where the kids had moved into a new apartment with a microwave that exploded hot dogs.

  • ||

    What we need is a somewhat modified version of this machine in the new Congressional Visitors' Center. When the taxpayer reaches into the machine, it rips his arm off and grinds it up into sausage, which can then be used as bait to entice the next victim.

  • ||

    Does the vending machine utilize renewable energy?

  • thoreau||

    I'm disappointed that it took 10 comments before we got a Larry Craig joke.

  • SIV||

    So our Senators live like Kings getting hotdogs from a machine while us poor commoners suffer under their tyranny.

  • ||

    It's probably powered by a miniature fusion reactor that the government keeps to itself.

  • Kolohe||

    I didn't know you could microwave hot dogs.

    They're not microwaving them; they're using super fancy 'infrared'.

    In other words, a heat lamp.

  • Kolohe||

    From the spec sheet-

    Capacity: 480 meat products 250 buns

    Why the two to one ratio? Steve Martin flipped out at just 4:3.

    (also the thing is a bit of an energy hog, being rated at 2400W peak power. And each dog and bun being individually wrapped is a non-trivial amount of plastic waste added to the stream. But it's made in the USA so it's all good.)

  • Kolohe||

    And to correct what I said above, the spec sheet says that it uses a 'proprietary ... cutting edge combination of infra-red and microwave technology.'

  • ||

    I'm disappointed that it took 10 comments before we got a Larry Craig joke.

    True, and that comment FTW.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Well, there goes one new hot dog vendor job.

  • ||

    That's it. I'm going to LA for a bacon dog with jalapenos and all those other wonderful toppings.

  • ||

    Great video!

  • Caleb||

    Now that's gobbling up some pork!

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