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Time to 'fess up: The Chow Booty Call

  • m

So this is the inverse of the Chow Crush thread:


The Chow crush is such an innocent state of mind, redolent with the passions of youth.

But now I want to get down and dirty. You know what I'm talking about. Those late night drives, you're craving something quick and easy and available. You'd never eat these things by the light of day, you'd never introduce these food items to your sweet aunt Judy. So 'fess up Chowhounders - what food items make up your Booty Call list?

The classic Montreal Chow Booty Call: the $2.99 shish taouk sandwich from the greasiest, skankiest late night falafel joint, loaded with garlic mayonnaise, day-old shreds of iceberg lettuce, watery chunks of tomato and the ubiquitous pink navret (Turnip pickle). During day light hours, I'll search out more refined versions, but at 2:00 AM, these things seem to satisfy the urge. I'm happy to say, this has replaced the booty call of younger days, the 99 cent slice of pizza that's been sitting under a heating lamp for hours, calling for you to end its misery - this is a booty call that even I won't make anymore...

(Note: I was inspired to start this thread by another Chowhound's mention of booty calls in another thread. My apologies, I can't find that reference for the life of me. My memory ain't what it used to be...)

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  1. If I'm visiting my folks in Buffalo, NY, it's always the Super Mighty with extra hot sauce from Mighty Taco. Just the best thing I've ever eaten after midnight. I wouldn't say the best taco, but it gets high marks in the all around category - taste, satisfaction level, consistancy, and availability (used to be 11 am to 4 am, not sure what it is now - haven't lived in Buffalo for 20 years).

    If I am in Richmond Va, it's a Wendy's deluxe double stack. But Richmond isn't known for its late night joints (except maybe for the 3rd street diner).

    1. A Philadelphia Cheesesteak from a local convenience store named Wawa. I'll get this if I've drank too much up the block at McMenamin's, my neighborhood beer bar. They don't have a grill at Wawa so the meat has been precooked I think but it is basically steamed and placed on one of their subpar rolls with American cheese and some ketchup. But man it's good at 2:45am.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Chinon00

        Wawa is my guilty pleasure...I love the sandwiches and a milkshake late at night.

          1. re: Chinon00

            I get the meatball shorty from that very same wawa! Chance makes a damn good late night sammy over there. McMens is my sister's neighborhood bar, maybe I've seen you there on Eagles game days! Wawa is the best.

          2. Should have realized you started the thread, moh!
            I live in a small town and there used to be a place called Rico's Tostadas (the man, sadly passed away some years ago). His operating hours were Wed-Sun, 10:30pm to about an hour after the bars closed or when the last person left (somewhere between 4:00am and 5). He didn't have a menu, but served only two things anyway: tostadas (regular or spicy) and hotdogs with tostada meat topping (regular or spicy). It was also about 68 square feet.
            On any given night, you can witness people in various states of consciousness all queued up for tostadas. If it was a summer's Saturday night at 3:00am, and there was a wedding in town, chances are you would see some members of the bridal party, maybe even the bride and groom in there. Almost surreal.

            6 Replies
            1. re: porker

              Tommy's burgers here in LA....gawd I cannot eat those things when I am sober but after a night of drinking I am so one of those puffy faced, slurring folks standing in line for a nasty orange stained paper wrapped burgers.....yuck before 3am and yum after.

              1. re: bubbles4me

                Bubbles4me, i once deconstructed a couple of Tommy's burgers and brought them home to Montreal for a friend of mine who was seriously missing his Tommy burger fix. The scary thing was that I called him from the airport and mentioned I had a gift for him. He replied " Wait, you were just in LA - OMG, did you bring me a Tommy Burger????" It was a bit creepy! I have no idea how he knew... He reconstructed them and ate them while watching NFL football. I suspect he would also put the Tommy burger on his booty call list.

                1. re: bubbles4me

                  I love Tommy's burgers. Especially when you're eating them at the stand in Rampart. Gunfire and and a sloppy burger makes me happy.

                2. re: porker

                  Just curious as to the form of the tostadas. To me they are a fried flat corn tortilla with toppings- in a less than stable state how did one eat them without having the toppings all over yourself? Sounds good though, and the hours and concept sound like a winner.

                  1. re: torty

                    He would serve them in a cardboard take-away box, maximum 2 per box. Pretty funny looking when ordering, say 12; 6 boxes stacked up and no bag to put them in.

                    You basically ate with your face in the box then used a plastic fork to scoop up all the broken/spilled parts

                  2. re: porker

                    Room temperature frosted coconut and lemon white layer cake with a tall glass of truly cold while milk. If the milk doessn't seem cold enough then place a few ice cubes into it.

                  3. Ohh late night slightly stumbling home to my place I somehow wander into Waverly restaurant and get a huge egg salad and bacon sandwich with fried mushrooms. But, while living in Paris ughhh I always resorted to the spinning lamb gyros. I cannot believe I watched them shave the meat and then I proceeded to eat it. BUT, when you're hungry you're hungry (or just obscenely snachered.) I can still picture a Sweeney Todd like figure hacking at the spinning gyro, fond memories.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: jacquelines

                      OMG!!!! You just gave me a whole new seriously dangerous idea. Eggsalad (do you know how *long* I have to eat at a place before I can trust eggsalad?) a serious food booty call but I never thought of (yeah bacon sometimes) fried mushrooms?!? I love you/ I hate you/I love you...you get the idea.

                      Thanks I think! I am so glad you did not mention cheese!

                      1. re: jacquelines

                        Dönner kebap is usually made from veal, not lamb, and can be very good, not at all skanky. That said, the late-night stuff in Paris is ... well, yeah, pretty nasty looking.

                        For me:
                        SF: Tamales lady tamales. When she comes into the bar, how can you say no?
                        East Bay: Top Dog. Oh, the shame.
                        Paris: Cheese, mushroom, ham and egg crepe. With lots and lots of pepper.
                        Berlin: Currywurst. Only edible after 3:30 am.
                        Hamburg: Herring and onion sandwich. (actually, I'm fond of that one at all hours of the day or night, but it's mind-blowingly good after being out all night)

                        1. re: tmso

                          My only Chow Booty call was in Paris. This is so embarrassing. It was sometime after midnight, I left my travel companion in the hotel room and I slinked into the Quik Burger next door. Just a simple fast food hamburger, but so satisfying.

                          1. re: tmso

                            Totally agree on Viriginia's tamales. Either that or a burrito at Farolito's.

                            1. re: tmso

                              East Bay: Top Dog but no Kingpin?

                              1. re: Louise

                                Kingpin? Naw, a cat gotta have his standards. I should have mentioned fried shrimps, though (why do I find myself around Lake Merrit at 3 am so often when I'm in The Bay?).

                            2. re: jacquelines

                              Would that be the Waverly Rest. on 6th Ave, close to GV? Open 24-7? I used to love their Spinach Pie my BF swore by the cream cheese omelet. I often ate there when I visited NYC. I miss that place.

                            3. When I lived in Lynchburg VA a night of music and drinking, usually at The Ellington, ended at the counter of the Texas Inn (aka the T Room). A typical order would include a cheesey western with onions and a bowl of chili, also with onions, washed down with a container of buttermilk.

                              1. Ha ha. Booty call is quite a fitting term for this, Moh.

                                Many years ago, I was studying until 4AM in the morning and had the craving for White Castle. Oh, it was pretty late and knew I should go home and get a few hours of sleep. But I needed to eat those flimsy holey beef patties in that squishy soggy bun peppered with tiny freeze-dried onions after hours of reading my books. So instead of going straight home, I had to stop by White Castle and ordered a burger meal. Unfortunately, my penchant for these burgers were probably against my better judgment in terms of safety. The crowd at White Castle at 4AM can be a bit spooky. While I was gleefully eating my burger by the window, this crazy man approached me from the outside and tried to scare me by screaming, "Boo!". I first thought it was funny. I then finished my burgers and fries (the fries suck there) and started heading home. Well, that crazy man was waiting for me and started following me. I can be a fast walker, but he was faster than me. I got pretty scared so I started running and turned a corner and took out my chef's knife. I normally don't carry a kitchen knife in my bag but had to do a demonstration of how to make a maki roll in my speech class. So here I am, full of White Castles at 4-something in the morning trying to run away from a crazy man with a 10-inch knife in my hand. The things I sometimes do for food!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  Scandal. You weren't using a sushi knife? ;)

                                  Just kidding. I would've been so very pissed if that crazy man had deprived the world of such a good storyteller / chowhound (and if i may say so, person). Glad you got through it safely!

                                  1. re: cimui

                                    Thanks cimui! My boyfriend at the time gave me a big lecture about going straight home instead of hanging out at White Castle at crazy hours.

                                2. I am lucky to live in stumbling distance of both my favorite brew pub (Brewer's Art in Baltimore) and a great late night joint (Never on Sunday). Never on Sunday is open until 3 am, which is one hour after the bars close. Genius!!!! I usually go for the chicken fingers and waffle fries with ranch dipping sauce. oh the shame...

                                  1. French fries with ranch dressing

                                    7-Eleven nachos

                                    Hot Dog on a Stick with a large lemonade

                                    1. When I lived in Boston's North End, 2004-2007, it was anything from Bova's, the 24/7 bakery. Really, pretty much anything from Bova's, depending on my level of inebriation and/or the intensity of my insomnia relative to the lure of the aromas the place emitted all night long, a block and a half away.

                                      But usually it was a nearly 4x4" square of chocolate cake, a Congo bar, or a sausage calzone, or, of course, a combination thereof.

                                      None of it was particularly good. All of it was absolutely great.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: tatamagouche

                                        Well, I only tried them via takeout, but if I was younger, I would say White Castle.

                                        They're as good, good in a bad way that is, as all the hype says they are.

                                        Wish I had some right now.

                                        1. re: tatamagouche

                                          Oh- you've brought back memories! I, too, was in the block and a half range. The pizza was the best but they stopped serving it late night because the neighbors complained about the noise and the bakery trash.

                                          I love Bova's pecan squares and macaroons. During daylight hours- I loved their sandwiches!

                                          I really wish I still lived there.

                                          1. re: tatamagouche

                                            Man, I lived on Charter Street from '92 - '96 and used to hit up Bova's all the time. For a while I had the timing right and would show up right when they were pulling fresh hot bread out of the oven. Nothing better to soak up a belly full of booze on a cold night.

                                          2. Being a college town, there are a lot of places open until 3am, but only one that is open 24/7/365. They are the self-proclaimed home of "Thanksgiving Everyday" and a mad house from 2am-4am. I occasionally stumble in for one of their biscuits, plain or with cheese, they are the model of efficiency. Instead of rolling out dough and cutting pretty little circles, they press the biscuit dough into full sheet pans then cut it into squares before baking. Cut apart fresh out of the oven and you have wonderfully salty, greasy 4-corner biscuit.

                                            1. Maybe it's just me....I tend not to get hungry after a night of drinking. I do get a jones for Mcd fries once in a while, and have no trouble gettin'em in daylight, or care who sees me

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                I didn't interpret the question as being exclusively beer-goggles booty calls (although I may be in the minority here). I think if I'd been up all night drinking, a bratwurst covered with hot curry-powder-flavored ketchup would look even nastier than normal. After being out all night dancing, just before the sun comes up? Fräulein Currywurst looks pretty enticing then. Just be sure she's gone before breakfast. (damn you, Berlin!)

                                                1. re: tmso

                                                  Ooooh, haven't had a brat or do w/ curry ketchup in a long, long time. I remember the first time I had one though. It was at an Irish Festival in town here about 12 years ago. The guy owns the cart is still in town and peddles his brats at most festivals around here. Mmmmm.

                                                  1. re: tmso

                                                    Is it bad that I eat brats with curry ketchup sober, without preceding it with a night of drinking?

                                                    lynnlato, i had one at a stand in a tiny town south of dublin recently. so apparently it's 'authentically' irish ... more or less. ;)

                                                    1. re: cimui

                                                      I don't think it's bad at all, cimui. Now I think I've got a hankerin' for one of those - I need to go find me that cart!

                                                2. Well, steer car to nearest C-store. Buy box of Pizza Rolls (must be sausage-pepperoni combo). Drive home and fire up the toaster oven. Enjoy the over-indulgence and leave regrets for the morning.


                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: cayjohan

                                                    The sausage-pepperoni pizza rolls are the best late night indulgence. I should invest in a toaster oven. Firing up the big oven for them is overkill, but the microwave ruins them.

                                                  2. 2:00 AM. Perkins. Chicken fingers with fries and...... hollandaise sauce. Or eggs benedict with extra....hollandaise sauce. Or the Granny omelette with extra........ cheese.

                                                    And a side of hollandaise sauce :-)

                                                    1. I love this thread! Back home (PA), when I would visit and we'd go out for drinks, we'd inevitably end up at a nasty joint called "Two Boys From Italy" and it's an unwritten rule there that you must get cheese fries (crinkle fries w/ melted mozzarella) and stromboli. If it was packed, or if it's unexpectedly closed, we would go to The Busy Bee diner for eggs up, patty sausage and the best homefries EVER! Sadly, not too long ago, they tore down The Busy Bee, but I made a point to snag a brick from the rubble that was once my favorite diner of all time. My grandfather, in his elder years, used to hobble up to The Bee for dinner often.

                                                      Down here in Charlotte, it's Waffle House (vile) or Steak & Shake (not too bad - good onion rings).

                                                      I don't do much of any of this late night dining these days, but back in the day we referred to it as "The Gut Plug" and it's the necessary after-drinking-before-bed dining that is needed to avoid the painful hangover of the next morning. Greasy and heavy were the pre-rec's. Oh, and a cheesesteak or a hoagie would work in a pinch. 'Course, so would Hardee's.

                                                      1. I head home! - only to wake up the next morning wandering into the kitchen: sometimes I can't tell and can't remember what was prepared and eaten there; sometimes its obvious; sometimes everything even ended with the kitchen being cleaned and the dishes and pots and pans and oven and spills and crumbs and counters being cleaned up - but sometimes not! Forensic science is then used to determine what was prepared and consumed.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                          Forensic science - is that what's called 'checking the garbage can' ? haha

                                                        2. I accused Bill Hunt of making culinary booty calls in the "Why did you Break-Up with a Favorite Restaurant" thread, perhaps that was it? Either way I dig your topic!

                                                          Street food has always been my Culinary Booty Call. Started while in college in Athens OH. I flirted with the Late Night Pizza truck, hooked up with the Burrito Buggy and may have had a one nighter with the Bagel Buggy or was it the Gyro cart? I'm not ashamed to admit that this behavior has continued. Now it depends on what city I'm in and the amount of alcohol involved but Hot Dogs (corner stand or Papaya Dog in NY), Cheese Steak wit (Pat;s in Philly) and love the Crepes anywhere I can get them....yep, I'm easy for a mobile food source at 2 a.m.

                                                          1. Diner fries. Well done, with sour cream and ketchup. And an extra thick black and white milkshake, into which the fries can also be dipped.

                                                            1. oh boy. the food at truck stops definitely call my booty. right after college, my SO and i drove cross country four times within the course of about a year. we were fresh out of school and nocturnal, so we'd do a lot of our driving at night, when we could have the highway to ourselves, roll down the windows and sing out of tune to nirvana, sublime, all those other oldies, but goodies (and sad to say, deadies). some of the best meals we had were at truckstops where we pulled in at 3 a.m., ravenous, and ate our body weight in grease -- bacon, fries, milkshakes, eggs, burgers topped with butter. some places were crap, of course, but there are a surprisingly large number of truckstops out there with *great* food. i remember a couple of the places we stopped at had wonderful, real mashed potatoes.

                                                              all this tasted so much better for being half delirious with exhaustion. you're in that half dream state, already. it becomes unclear what is the milkshake and what is the dream. maybe the milkshake is the dream and the dream a milkshake.

                                                              1. The infamous Fat Sandwiches of Rutgers University.

                                                                Each Fat creation is a beast only intoxicated frat boys could dream up. But late at night, or during exam crunch time, one of these calorie bombs just hits the spot.

                                                                My favorite is the chicken Fat Cat...grilled chicken, lettuce, mayo (which I opt out of), ketchup, french fries, all glued together with American cheese (real cheese? HAH!) stuffed into a sub roll, all stuffed into a brown paper bag so you can lurch around frat row with true class and style.

                                                                1. Carne Asada Burrito from any Robertos, Roybertos or Alibertos in San Diego.

                                                                  Once in LA, my wife and I did venture to the Original Tommy's at 2am. It was well worth it.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                                                                    Same thing in Phoenix. Find anyplace with a name ending in -bertos, and order a carne asada. Throw in one large horchata and call it a night.

                                                                    1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                                                                      Um...Adelberto's anyone? Pt Loma location--I still have dreams about the asada burrito here. Back in 1993 they cost 2.60, were all meat, and weighed nearly a pound each. Sigh..

                                                                      1. re: antrobin

                                                                        Last night, we went for alliburtos for burittos, after going out. This culmn motivated me.

                                                                    2. Jamocha milkshakes from Arby's with an order of fries with ranch dressing and ketchup.

                                                                      1. When The Tasty was still around in Cambridge, I used to love their Murder Burger. Three patties, three cheeses, six slices of bacon, and a fried egg on top. It was considered extra special Murderous if you had the "cooks" at The Tasty do your burger rare on the nasty, filthy flat top. As in raw, essentially. My fav moment there: the homeless guy who told me, "if you''re gonna eat, eat. If you're gonna smoke, smoke. If you're gonna f--k, f--k."

                                                                        Words to live buy. Or, die by.

                                                                        As mentioned above (and as a Boston North Ender), Bova's is another cheap food date, especially when it's 2:30 am, you're, uh, just slightly drunk. and you need a mess of calzones and pastries.

                                                                        Frankly, when sober, I think the food there is average. But with a big buzz on, it's fantastic.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                          Bostonbob3, I love your favorite moment, this is classic Booty Call philosophy!

                                                                          As anther poster mentioned before, I don't think you need to be buzzed to appreciate the Chow Booty Call, although I would agree it adds another dimension to the experience. I have a slightly mythical memory of curry chips after many nights whittled away in a Northern English pub with one too many vodka oranges and half and halfs.

                                                                          But even when I am stone-cold sober (designated driver, or just not in the mood), I can still enjoy the late-night wanton abandon that is the CBC. Something happens to the brain and stomach late at night, behaviors and tastes change, boundaries get blurred.

                                                                          Another classic Montreal CBC: late night greek souvlaki pitas, stuffed with an excess of raw onion rings and tomatoes, and tzatziki with enough garlic to knock your sweet Aunt Judy to the ground and stomp on her old aching joints. Whoop, that is one nasty thing to wake up to! Even if you remember to brush your teeth!

                                                                          I'd put the late night hot Montreal bagel on the list, but technically it doesn't qualify as a CBC because I'll eat a hot MOntreal bagel any time of day, and happily so.

                                                                          1. re: cavandre

                                                                            The Midwest is very CBC-rich territory...White Castles being a big part of it. One of my favorite Chow Booty Calls has to be when, after closing the nice bars at 2, then closing the after-hours bar, one of your party makes his cab go through the drive-thru so he can bring a suitcase of sliders home to share.

                                                                            Then there are La Bamba burritos. I don't think I've ever even ATTEMPTED to eat those things by the light of day. But at 3am, it's all, "HeeeeEEEeeey, baby, how you doin'? Wanna come over and watch a movie?"

                                                                          2. I was just reminiscing about chow booty calls with a friend last night:

                                                                            Years ago, when I lived in Brooklyn (Prospect Heights) and would come home late from a night of drinking, I could not for the life of me resist the $1 bag of fries from the local "Kennedy Fried Chicken" which was basically a dirt cheap deep fryer behind bullet-proof glass. If I was REALLY drunk, I'd add the styrofoam container of fried shrimp with extra tarter sauce on the side.

                                                                            Good times. Bad stomach ache days after.

                                                                            1. College days - arby's 2 burgers, 2 fries for 2 bucks - inhaled it on the way back to the dorms
                                                                              Present - Pizza Sola after drinking and dancing. Nothing like a piece of great pizza that is "foldable" and a diet coke to wash it down.

                                                                              1. In college it was either the Bacon Cheeseburger or the sausage egg taquitos from Whataburger. They were one of the few drive thrus open all night. Cops were known to nab people for DUIs because they passed out in the drive thru.

                                                                                Nowadays its generally a MexiMelt from Taco Bell or I've also been known to demolish the Migas at IHOP. If I'm at home its usually involving cheese and more cheese.

                                                                                When I lived in NYC for a short period of time it was ALWAYS Cosmos Diner at the corner of I believe 23rd and 2nd (maybe 3rd). Open 24 hours and a very accomodating (read: patient) for rowdy large groups that have had a few too many at the Kings Head Tavern in Union Square. Those were the days!!

                                                                                1. Late night booty call...LOL....it has to be White Castle for me, but I tell ya, I still miss Jack in the Box from my younger days, they don't have them around here anymore. Late at night, after the bars would close, my buddies and I would go to Jacks, and get the tacos with extra sauce! I still don't know what the put in those things, but they certainly were addicting!

                                                                                  1. Mine is Dunkin Donuts- strawberry frosted with sprinkles. I know they have been sitting out for like 6 hours but who cares? If they are out I will get a plain bagel, toasted with extra butter. And DD has the worst bagels ever. God I miss them. Why can't they have any stores in MN??????

                                                                                    1. In my college days, it had to be the Cougar Burger from our local fast food joint, Cougar Country. It was a greasy compilation of ground beef, ham, lettuce, tomato and some greasy cheese for good measure. In that moment, there was nothing else that could have satisfied me more.

                                                                                      Since we eat dinner late in Argentina, I haven't had the opportunity to get one of those late night cravings...yet.

                                                                                      1. I have half a dozen White Castle stories, but my ultimate Chow Booty Call was a late late night in SF when my boyfriend at the time and I stumbled out of a club and into the back of a purple jitny cab. He told the driver we were starving, and we ended up somewhere on Polk Street at a falafel joint I had never seen before.

                                                                                        We bought entirely too much food and brought it back to our hotel room at the Mark Hopkins. where we ate it on the bed and washed it down with sodas from the mini bar. The next morning we woke up in a fog of hangover and greasy bags.

                                                                                        1. Three words - Chili Cheese Burrito. I curse the friend who turned me on to those damn things. It's really hard to avoid a run for the border at 2am. I have actually paid a taxi to run me through the drive through because I couldn't drive anymore.