Friday, December 04, 2009

Tokyo Sausage

A wonderful little video sent in to me from readers Mike & JJ.

Commuting on the London Tube is certainly nothing like this.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The awesome world of Vienesas (Chilean hot dogs)

I first heard about these bad boys from watching a show called Anderw Zimmern's Bizarre World, a food travelogue show on the Discovery Travel Channel.

Vienesas are based on a standard bun and beef sausage foundation which is then massively loaded up with toppings and condiments. By all accounts they are a very popular fast food in Chile and for me, a good enough reason alone to visit the country.

One of the most popular varieties is the Completo which is stacked with salsa verde, chopped tomatoes and mayo. Check out the website of Domino, a popular chain of hot dog restaurants in Santiago, for a full list of varieties that include such excellent names as the Dinámica, the Irlandesa, and the Rodeo.

Read more about the 'complete Completo' experience in this article by Adam Fuller from Santiago magazine.

Time to stock up on some salsa verde, methinks.

Check out the video below to see a Completo in the wild:

And watch Anthony Bourdin's take on the Chilean hot dog phenomenon on his show 'No Reservations' with a dog that actually looks excessive even for me:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A word from the Hot Dog Council

Who or what is the Hot Dog Council, you may well ask? Well...

"The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council is a project of the American Meat Institute Foundation. Established in 1994, the Council conducts scientific research to benefit hot dog and sausage manufacturers.

The Council also serves as an information resource to consumers and media on questions related to quality, safety, nutrition and preparation of hot dogs and sausages."

Check out their homepage here and be sure not to miss the video on the front page for a truly astonishing performance from Mr. Frank Furter!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sausage and Bread is taking the summer off

There'll be no new reviews for a while as Sausage and Bread goes on its summer holidays. There'll be occasional news postings and I hope to be back in full review mode later in the year. In the meantime, do please keep sending in your tips and recommendations!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

British Barbeque Festival 2009

If you're looking for something to do next Sunday, why not check out the British Barbeque Festival which is taking place at Laverstoke Park Farm‎ in Overton, Hampshire.

Plenty of country fair activities will be taking place including buffalo & hog roasts, live jazz, farm tours, bungee run and coconut shies and chefs Ashley Palmer-Watts (The Fat Duck), Eric Chavot (Captial) and Antony Worrall Thompson will be making an appearance.

The event of most interest to readers, though, is probably the British BBQ Championship: a three level (Pro, National and Novice) cook-off competition that promises to be a real treat for BBQ lovers - and no doubt some decent sausages will be available too.

Check out the official website here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

4 Market Place

Market Place is one of London's pleasant surprises. If you don't know it, it's a small pedestrianized precinct just north of Oxford Street. Within one block you go from the sometimes unbearable crowds and tacky shopfronts of Oxford Street to a little oasis of calm that's packed with decent places to eat, drink or have a coffee.

There are several restaurants and cafes to choose from but one place that's quite easy to miss is 4 Market Place.

4 Market Place is a rare thing: It's a basement cafe. If you were to walk past quickly, you might not even realize it was there. I really like the novelty of having to walk down some steps to get to the front door. It gives the place an air of clandestine exclusivity you don't often get with cafes. So it's a great shame the toasted sausage sandwich on brown I ordered didn't live up to the promising location.

It wasn't a bad sandwich, just mediocre. The sausage was quite salty and lacking in flavour. The toasted bread bland. On the plus side, the price (£1.80) was a bargain for central London. Just think what an amazing place this would be if it served really great food.

2 out of 5

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sainsbury's 8 Butcher's Choice Cumberland Sausages: Avoid!

Just a brief review of these sausages. They are half price at Sainsbury's at the moment. They should be avoided.

Grilling the 8 medium sized sausages yielded an unbelievable amount of fat (approx. half a cupful) and the cooked sausages were almost totally tasteless. Not a hint of pork and barely any of pepper. Please avoid!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Westfield Shopping Centre, Shepherds Bush

Westfield Shopping Centre opened in 2008 and is supposedly the largest city-centre mall in Europe. As well as the 265 retail units, the mall also boasts 50 food outlets. The numbers sound promising but how easy would it be to get myself some decent sausage and bread in this colosseum of consumerism?

Despite its size, the mall is actually quite easy to walk around as it's arranged like a figure of eight, with a couple of offshoots here and there. The choice of places to eat is varied, cosmopolitan and focussed around an area named The Balcony: This upmarket food court has had some good early publicity and rightly so, I think, as it does put the typical UK shopping centre food court to shame.

There isn't a Singapore Sam or KFC in sight. Instead you have places like innovative Vietnamese soup noodle bar Pho and risotto specialists Ooze. It would be difficult to find a greater concentration of good-to-adequate places to eat anywhere else in London.

After a scout around, I decided there were two places I needed to try, the first being Birley Sandwiches.

Birley is an established chain of sandwich shops based mainly in the City and Docklands. The Westfield outlet is the company's first foray into the wilds of West London. At this branch the menu is built around a rotisserie so roasts such as pork, beef and chicken feature heavily. Also on offer were large, pork sausages:

Had I not been on blogging duty, I would have gone for the roast pork and apple sauce sandwich as it looked great but the sausages looked promising too.

The server asks you for your choice of condiment right at the start, and I requested English mustard. Rather incompetently, the server then slathered both slices of bread (a crusty, bloomer type loaf) with a full layer of mustard - I guess you could call it American style. Unfortunately, once I got the sandwich to my table and took a bite, I realised that so much mustard had been used that the sandwich was almost inedible. Every bite was accompanied by a wave of sinus-destroying mustard gas and it was impossible to taste anything else. After discarding the bread, I was able to tell that the sausage was fairly good quality but on the dry side (probably due to being left out too long). The bread seemed fresh enough. More thoughtful condiments and a fresher sausage would have made a big difference.

1.5 out of 5. Potentially good but badly executed.

Almost directly opposite Birley was the second outlet I wanted to try: Croque Gascon.

This is a very different proposition to Birley Sandwiches. Croque Gason has some serious heritage as it's an offshoot of Michelin-starred restaurant Club Gascon

The menu is extremely inventive and ambitious for a shopping centre eatery but also cleverly designed so that the dishes can be made freshly and relatively quickly. No prizes for guessing what I ordered: The Gascon Hot Dog

Officially described as a 'pork sausage on plum mustard bread', the hot dog is made to order in what looks very much like a proper restaurant kitchen. There is a short wait whilst the sausage is heated up, the bread toasted and the sandwich assembled.

The sausage was fragrant, nicely browned and still hot. The bread was crisply toasted and tasty. Shards of gherkin added a little zing. All in all this was an exceptional sausage sandwich (and the contrast to Birley's couldn't be greater).

5 out of 5. Excellent.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cafe Miro, Great Queen Street

A little off the beaten track, this one. Cafe Miro is located in a street near the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. It's almost literally in the shadow of Freemasons' Hall, the grand headquarters of the Freemasons' 'United Grand Lodge'.

I've no idea if Cafe Miro gets any Masonic customers from across the road. I certainly wasn't greeted with any weird handshakes but the quiet, clean, well maintained interior did have a mildly eccentric atmosphere. This might have been due to the fact that on the morning I went, the clientele inside consisted of a businessman in a suit, three Community Support Officers and Rick Wakeman. Yes, the Rick Wakeman.

I ordered a sausage baguette and a cup of tea.

The buttered baguette was fresh and of a generic type often found in cafes - not terrible but not great either. Slightly bland and a little pale and underbaked. The sausage was unremarkable too, its speckling of herbs promising a level flavour that wasn't really there.

2.5 out of 5. Quite a bland sausage sarnie but a caff with a nice interior.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Polish Sausage Hot Dogs

A tantalizingly brief video about Polish sausage hot dogs from Jim's Original, Chicago:

The sausage looks like a thick, smoked variety and Wikipedia suggests it's probably made of pork and flavoured with a little garlic. Looks good!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Breakfast Club, D'Arblay St

Great name for a cafe. I wonder why no-one's thought of it before?

There are two branches of Breakfast Club, this one in Soho which opened in 2005 and another in Camden Passage in Angel which opened in 2007.

Inside you are greeted by nice, friendly staff and a ragtag-style interior made up of seemingly reclaimed items of furniture. The atmosphere is either Bohemian or cheap, depending on how you look at it, and reminded me of places I would frequent as a student. It's certainly a place with character and a great alternative to the ubiquitous chain coffee shops.

One word of warning: I sat at the back of the cafe and noticed that the cooking smells from the kitchen were quite strong so I'd recommend trying to sit at the front if you can.

The menu is has a very un-British feel to it. By that I mean it's something I would expect to find in the US or maybe Australia; Wraps, smoothies and salads all feature heavily as well as the more conventional breakfast items. Obviously, the sausage sandwich was all I was interested in.

This was quite a hefty sausage sandwich, made with thick slices of a good quality, fresh bread and two sausages. The sausages were meaty and of decent quality. Overall the sandwich seemed a little dry - perhaps due to the thickness of the bread or the amount of time the sausages had been cooking. Still, it's a substantial and satisfying sandwich made with ingredients that won't fill you with remorse after eating. Can't fault the price either.

3.5 out of 5 (Bohemian in a rickety chair kind of way)

Website: The Breakfast Club Soho

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Canteen, Spitalfields Market

It's believed that there has been a market at Spitalfields in the East End of London (corner of Lamb and Commercial Street) since the thirteenth century. The market survived the Great Fire of London, declined after the 1820s before reviving again when it was redeveloped in 1893. The market expanded steadily until it had to be moved to larger premises in Leyton in 1991. The old site was then extensively redeveloped in 2005 and is now a covered market for small stalls with a range of restaurants and cafes.

It's a nice area to walk around: You leave the bustle of Liverpool Station, surrounded by the tower blocks of London's financial district and within minutes you're in the wide open market with its eclectic range of shops. Step beyond the market and the East End streets are full of character - there's an undeniably interesting feel about the place.

There's a fairly good mix of places to eat too although not quite the grazer's heaven that is Borough Market. After a quick scout around, I decided to give Canteen a try.

There are three Canteen restaurants, all in London. The mini-chain is devoted to high quality British food served in fashionably retro-modern surroundings that are like a cross between a library, a train station waiting room and a works canteen.

As you probably guessed the prices and not very canteen-like and the high quality of the ingredients used in the cooked-to-order menu is reflected in the prices.

I visited in the mid-morning and decided to go for the sausage and roast onion sandwich at £5.75.

This is more than I would normally expect to pay for a sausage sandwich so I was fairly skeptical when the sandwich arrived but I didn't have to be.

What you get are two, dense, pork sausages. Not strongly seasoned or herbed, fairly well cooked although I would have liked them a little more browned. The casings were thin. They are very good, thick, plain pork sausages. The roasted onions were sweet and soft and were not overcooked. The bread was little on the thin side and the melted butter - whilst it tasted very nice - did make the sandwich quite soggy. So much so that I didn't feel like I could add any condiments otherwise the whole thing might have fallen apart into a wet, messy pile.

Taste-wise everything worked. The onions were mild and complimented the meat. The buttered bread had its own flavour and wasn't overpowered. The only minor quibbles are that I'd have preferred a more distinctly flavoured sausage, cooked until a little more brown.

I initially was going to mark the sandwich down because of its price but by the end, the quality of the ingredients shone through and 6 quid for a very good sausage sandwich in these surroundings is not a bad deal, I think. Worth a visit.

4.5 out of 5

Link: Canteen