We were lucky enough to catch up with Big Apple Hot Dogs at Feast. This foodie festival by London Bridge featured a range of the top food stalls currently plying their trade around London, within a vibrant atmosphere of eager eaters. But we headed straight for these posh sausages.
“So what makes this a posh hot dog?”
First issue: it’s one of those dishes. Yes, that’s right: it’s almost completely impossible to eat. At least not with a) your dignity intact or b) your clothes unstained. It’s served simply in a bun with optional fried onions – but adornment is where the ‘little’ starts and ends – it’s huge, juicy, dribbly and oozing with flavour. Could I eat another one straight away? You bet I could!
So what makes this a posh hot dog? Time Out seems to have real trouble with this notion – though it seems perfectly happy with posh hamburgers, and haven’t we had ‘posh bangers’ in the UK for years? The answer is that it is made from good cuts of free range meat, presented in a freshly baked (though relatively plain) bun, and yes, it’s grilled not boiled – we aint on a New York street corner!
The rest of Feast was somewhere between delicious and disappointing. ‘Small portions so you can try lots’ weren’t accompanied by corresponding reductions in prices – or at least not to levels that you or I might consider cheap tasters. And this is generally street food not Michelin-starred restaurant fare, which you might expect to come with a plastic-knife-and-fork pricetag. Everything I ate was delicious, however, and the range was good – though some things disappointingly sold out.
The chorizo sandwich at Brindisa is one of the few Chowdown Showdown dishes that I happened to have eaten before embarking on this quest. Rather than being located in a restaurant, it’s served from a small kiosk attached to Brindisa’s shop in Borough Market (rather than Tapas Brindisa, their sit-in eatery). There tends to be a long queue, and many’s the time when I’ve been in Borough Market and vacillated between this sandwich and Kappacasein’s oozing raclette or sublime cheese toastie. Invariably I go for one of the cheese options (and it never disappoints!). So, having a good reason to go back and have the chorizo was excellent, and I’m pleased to say I didn’t shirk my duties!
“It’s even less imaginable that anyone would be crazy enough to fiddle with the formula!”
The thing about chorizo is that it’s so good at making just about anything better – toss in stews to add a little fatty heat; mix into you burger meat; add, along with brandy and manchego to make an excellent chicken dish (which I’ll put up a recipe for sometime!) – that it’s easy never to give it a chance to take centre-stage. And what’s a delight about this dish is that it really gives chorizo (and presumably Brindisa is offering some of the best examples of this sausage in the country) a chance to shine. Some bitter rocket plays off the sharpness of the chorizo, and a slice of char-grilled red pepper complements the heavy paprika in the meat. The sausage itself starts bitter, and almost shocking in its sourness, before giving way to a mellower, warm, nutty flavour, that is indulgent but not too drip-down-your-front greasy.
It’s easy to see the reason for the long queues that are always present at peak times (and when isn’t peak time in Borough Market?). I’m sure there are people who find it hard to wait for the Fridays and Saturdays when the stall is there! The sandwich really does seem a perfect example of the form, and it’s hard to see any alterations that would improve it. It’s even less imaginable that anyone would be crazy enough to fiddle with the formula!
You can get the sandwiches in either a single or double, with one chorizo, simply cut lengthways, and a single pepper, or two of each. I’d advise getting the single. But only because, if you’re particularly greedy, or have someone to share it with, you’ll have space to manage a cheese toastie as well!