[Monday Munchies:] Free Hawaiian Hot Dogs at Billy’s!

Don’t bring kids to Billy’s. Or do, who am I to tell you what to do? Photo by Jefferson VanBilliard.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
-Proverbs 11:1

We all have that one friend who likes to say stupid things like, “I love cold weather” or that they “can’t wait for it to rain.” These people are not your friends, they’re selfish, silly people who don’t deserve love. You see, there’s a reason why Californians pay higher taxes than someone living in a landlocked state, and it’s because we enjoy summer longer than it took for Antonio Brown to ruin his NFL career. That’s why whenever I hear some fool lamenting our ability to throw pool parties in October, I remind them that there’s plenty of room for their opinions in Iowa.

Last week, while the citizens of Des Moines were drenched in thunderstorms and probably watching re-runs of M*A*S*H on a black and white television, I was busy peddling down the peninsula in my favorite shorts while feeling higher than Whitney Houston and Willy Nelson combined. After a marathon session of watching tourists ruin our beaches while wearing boxers under their board shorts, I successfully avoided the cesspool known as Cassidy’s and made my way back to the mainland where people speak in full sentences and (mostly) wear shoes that cover their toes. As I searched for a place to find shelter and stuff my face, I decided to make a pit stop at Billy’s at the Beach to stare at retired men in Hawaiian shirts and to sample one of their infamous piña coladas.

Founded in 1993 by Bill Craig, Billy’s has stood the test of time as other restaurant spaces along Mariners Mile are struggling or worse, vacant. Billy’s has remained an institution in Newport because of its excellent food, reputable service and relaxed atmosphere that takes you on a nostalgic trip back in time to when it was considered OK to appropriate Hawaiian culture. I’m about as mainland as they come due to my lineage of waspy old white people from Slavic countries, but that doesn’t stop me from putting a lime in the coconut while listening to Elvis sweat in the tropical heat every time I enter Billy’s patio bar area.

On any given day, and at any particular hour, every inch of the bar area is filled with sunburned drunks, tourists and hot grandmothers, but today was different. There were no hot grandparents and if the man in the corner drinking a beer was a retiree, then he was doing it all wrong. He wasn’t even wearing flip flops! As I sat there, staring at the naked woman on the logo of my glass, I wondered about a lot of things like if Hawaiians have higher rates of cancer from ingesting so much Spam or if I would ever get the respect I deserve in the North Shore? My super serious thoughts got interrupted by an angel.

“Hey man, if you’re hungry there’s hot dogs in the dining area.”

What? I couldn’t believe it. On that day, while stoned and half drunk off my coconut-infused elixir, I happened to stumble upon yet another one of Orange County’s hidden gems. Steamy, fresh cooked hot dogs, served on a sesame seed bun with an endless supply of condiments at your disposal, are available every Monday and most of us are too busy to even know about it. As I loaded up my plate with a double dose of artery-clogging deliciousness, I had to think fast or risk settling for a doggie that didn’t take full advantage of the array of options in front of me. For the first pup, I took a simple approach: relish and mustard only. For my second poochie, I went a little Chi-town by piling on peppers, onions, tomatoes and mustard just like Chief Keef or Kanye would. Then I made my way to the bar to grab another colada and pay for my extravagant dinner.

“The hot dogs are complimentary, sir.”

I couldn’t believe it; I made him say it again so I knew I had heard him correctly. As a single tear came out of my eye, I sat back and watched the Duffy boats slowly float by while I finished my Hawaiian culinary experience. As I slurped the last of the piña and settled my bill, I noticed that none of my fellow patrons had indulged on their own platter of pork. That’s when I realized what Jesus was talking about whenever he discussed the wretchedness of pride. You see, whether you’re penniless or prospering, it’s never prudent to pass up on provisions provided by Pacific Islanders. I left that patio feeling a little heavier than normal; could it have been the weight of the new knowledge I had just obtained? Or was I suffering from a classic case of the “meat sweats?” Only time would tell.

Double trouble. Photo by Alexandra Vaks

Oh and if you’re riding a bicycle drunk on PCH, make sure you are wearing clothing that makes you visible. I almost died. Happy Smoking!

Billy’s at the Beach, 2751 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, (949) 722-1100.

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