Sunday, 27 March 2011

United States of America (New York)

Big Apple Hot Dogs
Outside 239 Old Street on weekdays (and sites including the Chatsworth Road Market at weekends)

Last night I ate something special. It was a portion of badrijiani - fried aubergine with walnut paste - served with foie gras. While at Vong, one of the best restaurants in Tbilisi, I also devoured jonjoli (a native plant) with tuna tartare and rainbow trout, khinkali gyoza and magnificent shrimp dolma. The dishes had been created by Tekuna Gachechiladze, a hugely talented local chef, and these dishes form part of her pioneering attempt to create a contemporary Georgian cuisine.

What does this have to do with hot dogs in London, you ask. The answer, apart from a tenuous New York link in the next paragraph, is almost nothing. I wanted to use this little forum to thank Tekuna and urge everybody who likes food to visit Georgia.

But this new wave feast did make me think about how you can't beat eating food in its place of origin. Tekuna wants to open a restaurant in New York, but in Manhattan you wouldn't have had the whole city instantaneously go nuts when the national football team score a last-minute winner in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Croatia. Oh, it was a great night.

No matter how good the hot dogs are at Big Apple Hot Dogs - and they're very, very good - Chatsworth Road in Clapton isn't New York. To me, New York and hot dogs just seem inseparable. In September, I ate the Recession Special here, at Sixth Avenue on Eighth. If anything, the hot dog wasn't as plump and juicy as the fine specimens on offer at Big Apple, but the setting is amplified NYC - an open-24-hours weirdo-magnet round the corner from Times Square, where $3.95 gets you two dogs and a drink, and signs behind the counter spuriously spell out the nutritional benefits of hot dogs - "good enzyme supplier helps digestion". Yeah, right.

Back in Clapton, the big dog (£3.50) is excellent - fat, firm, explosively juicy and sandwiched in a good quality bun, although it was missing grilled onions (I'm told these are usually available). French's mustard, tomato ketchup and BBQ sauce are available, and Big Apple's self-styled "sausage-meister" is a nice bloke who deserves success. The only thing missing from Big Apple, unfortunately, is New York.

Big Apple Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon


Convurgeny said...
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Benita Wheeler said...

it sounds great,says the person lifetime diet.

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