I am notorious for my love of the corndog. They just make me happy. I’m carrying a corndog scepter in the masthead artwork for this site. Corndogs are listed as my religion on my Facebook page. You know how some royal crests feature a screaming eagle with two swords or olive branches clutched in its talons? My crest would have a yodeling penguin clutching two corndogs by the sticks. (Can someone make that happen? Seriously.)
Although I will, on extremely rare occasion, make my own corndogs from something approximating scratch, the effort of it really kind of cancels out the low-maintenance perfection of the whole corndog concept. Not to mention, I am profoundly lazy. Plus, my homemade ones never come out as good as the kind purveyed by carnies and primary-color-polyesther-clad maidens in malls the world over. I know most of the corndog sources in San Francisco, so I don’t have to wait for a county fair or a carnival to roll through town. There are even one or two that deliver, in case of a corndog-related emergency. (Don’t judge…it could happen.)
Accordingly, I’ve been seriously remiss in failing before now to check out Batter Up, an establishment entirely devoted to corndog worship, right here in San Francisco! I’ve actually known it was out there for a while, but for some reason, I didn’t make a beeline straight for it when I heard of it. I don’t know why. Maybe I thought it was too good to be true, or it would be like Hotel California — I would never be able to leave. Who knows.
To be fair, it is way the heck out in the Excelsior District, at the corner of Geneva and Mission, which isn’t exactly on my way anywhere, and, you know, isn’t the prettiest neighborhood San Francisco has to offer. But, I happened to be over in that neck of the woods the other day, running an errand, and so I decided to stop by. I drove past it twice before I realized it was just a window with a little ledge, and not a storefront.
But don’t let the diminutive space mislead you; the menu is quite ambitious. Now, I’m a purist at heart. I don’t really get into high concept corndogs that much. Fancy organic bison basil sausage in herbed tempura batter with a trio of artisinal dipping aiolis? Meh. I prefer the classic. So, when I saw that Batter Up has a kind of “build your own” menu, featuring an impressive selection of sausages and cheeses, I was initially resistant.
I softened up when I realized they do offer the classic, though. And what a classic it is! The dog alone is an eight incher! It’s the kind of magnificent, corny baton that the paparazzi kept photographing Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry deep-throating during the 2011 Republican primaries. Now, that’s worth driving out to Excelsior for, am I right?
As much as I prefer the classic corndog, I do have to tip my hat to Batter Up for their innovations. Not only do they offer the mythical, rarely seen in captivity, “cornbrat” (a corn-battered bratwurst), but they cater to the decisionally challenged. This is a big plus, in my book. If you just can’t make up your mind about whether to order your corndog with, say, a Louisiana hot link or a chicken apple or any of the many other tempting snausages on their daily list, well, you just don’t have to. You can get the Double Play, and have them make it half and half! Half bratwurst, half turkey and sundried tomato. Half garlic herb, half chicken Linguisa. Or, if there’s something seriously wrong with you, half beef, half tofu. Or, go crazy and do half cheese! Half sausage and half cheddar or pepper jack! And if you still can’t decide, order the Triple Play, and put three options on there! Oh….I got so excited, I forgot to turn my nose up at the non-traditional corndogs, and made myself dizzy pondering the possible combinations.
I ended up ordering the “Big Barry”–part bratwurst, part hot link, with a block of cheese in between to keep the sausage halves from fighting. From the San Francisco Giants graphics on the exterior wall, I’m assuming that this corndog creation is named after Barry Bonds and his giant bat, but I confess I did not verify that. For purposes of this post, we’ll just say that it is, and go with it. Anyway, I swapped out the Barry’s suggested cheddar for pepper jack, I guess, because I thought the Louisiana hot link wouldn’t cauterize my tonsils enough all by itself.
I must say, it was pretty darned awesome. The batter was perfectly crispy on the outside, just the right thickness, the sausages were juicy and perfectly seasoned, and the cheese in the center was just gooey enough, without running all over the place. In short, I approve. My arteries were not on speaking terms with me after I polished off Big Barry, for sure, but what the heck, I don’t do this every day.
The one suggestion I would make to the owner would be to split the sausage skins lengthwise before dipping the link in batter. The skin on those gourmet sausages can be a bit harder to bite through, and that is fine if you’re eating it on a plate with a fork and knife, but on a stick, not so much. But, it wasn’t a big deal, and would be an easy fix. You could probably just ask the kid at the window to do it for you. I bet he would, he was nice.
They have a dessert selection, too, for those who like their confections skewered and deep fried. This fad cracks me up. I always eagerly await the news of what manner of treat is being battered and fried at the county fairs each year, although I seldom indulge. I don’t have a big sweet tooth, really, I just find it entertaining to hear what people will spear and deep fry. Wasn’t last year’s invention deep fried Oreos? Or was that the year before? I can’t recall. I remember deep fried Snickers bars and Twinkies, and what-have-you. Well, such are the offerings of Batter Up’s dessert menu. They do all of the above, plus Kit-Kats, Twix, and…..Gasp!….Reese’s!
Okay, I admit it, I tried the deep fried Reese’s. I had to. It’s just so wrong, I figured it had to either be genius or a crime, one or the other. Well, I was wrong, it’s neither. It’s just really good. And it’s small enough to be the perfect couple bites of sweetness to finish off that spicy tower of snausage and cheese, without being too much and making you want to hurl.
Remember what I said about those corndog-related emergencies? Well, not to worry, because, turns out, Batter Up also delivers via grubhub.com. I’m not sure how well those dogs will travel, but I’m going to find out!
UPDATE: Batter Up now allows online ordering on their website (http://batterupsf.com/) for pick-up orders, so you don’t have to wait too long!