Friday, March 23, 2007

WORLD EXCLUSIVE: The first ever review of the hot dogs in the new Wembley Stadium!

I think I can claim something of a first here. England's famous Wembley Stadium has been rebuilt and was finally opened to the public for the first time last weekend. Several thousand people were invited to test out the facilities and get a first look at England's national stadium.

It was great making the walk from Wembley Park station up the wide avenue leading to the stadium, with the huge metal arch dominating the view. We also saw the first ever goal to be scored at the new Wembley, during a celebrity exhibition match.

But of course the undoubted highlight for me was when I went to the drinks and snack kiosk and realised that they sold hot dogs! Wembley may be a world class venue but could it deliver world class hot dogs?

Well, not world class no, but probably a decent enough hot dog to keep fans satisfied on match day. The sesame seed bun was soft and fresh (well, you would hope so since we were the first people ever to eat there). The frankfurter was moist and not too nitrate-y. It was a processed Herta-type variety which isn't always a bad thing. Tomato sauce and mustard were on offer from giant squeezy bottles. Both were good (actually better than in many of the cafes I've previously reviewed). The sausage:bread ratio was spot on, too, I thought.

All in all this is a decent hot dog considering the mass catering environment. If they can keep the standard up on a full match day, fans won't be disappointed. I imagine a top American stadium would have absolutely amazing hot dogs - something to actually take pride in. The Wembley hot dog doesn't quite reach those heights but is a good hot dog nonetheless.

4 out of 5. An easy tap in from the edge of the box.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Olly Olson, Wardour Street (part 2)

More 'Scandanavian street food' from the Olly Olson menu. Today's double whammy was a Norwegian Polse followed by a simple organic, Belgian sausage hot dog.

First up this time: The Norwegian Polse.

This is a hot dog sausage wrapped in a Lompe - a potato pancake. Inside is ketchup and mustard and if you like you can have some prawn mayo in there too (I didn't go for the prawn mayo).

I did like the sausage in this one. It was a classic hot dog sausage, really. Meaty yet moist. The ketchup and mustard worked wonderfully with it. There was an unmistakable flavour of street food about it.

The Lompe potato pancake was nice enough but not special. Quite chewy - a bit like an Indian chappati but plainer. This same sausage inside a conventional hot dog bun would have been delicious. As it is, the wrap doesn't quite have that bread-y magic of a sausage sandwich. Still quite tasty, though.

3.4 out of 5. Unusual. The sausage is the star.

Next up, what's described on the menu as simply 'Organic Belgian sausage'. This could be the simplest hot dog of the lot. It really is just small, thin sausages inside the fluffy, white organic bun used in the other Olly Olson hot dogs. The menu says it comes with relish, but I was offered brown sauce, which I went along with.

Not much to say about this. The sausage is lean and quite dark. Reminded me of a North African merguez, only less spicy. The substantial bread roll was a bit too big for the sausage cocooned within.

3 out of 5. A very basic hot dog, but using good quality ingredients.