Barking Mad or Man’s Best Wingman? (Bark in The Park)

My guest appearance on the 30 Dates blog. Thanks to Miss Twenty-Nine for the opportunity to look beyond junk food. My wingman Mr Saucisse and I had a great time!

30 Dates Blog - A Dating Blog

Match.com’s event ‘Bark in the Park’ attracted press attention this weekend thanks to a famous single attendee – Made in Chelsea’s Lucy Watson, and her furry wingman Digby. When Match contacted me to ask if 30 Dates fancied seeing what all the fuss was about, my first concern was that none of the writers are dog owners.  One of the parts of single life I hate most is not having someone to snuggle up with on the sofa in the evening.  Something man’s best friend could certainly help with! However the reality of living alone, and working long hours, is that owning a dog is out of the question.  In fact I have very few single friends who are dog owners.  But the Bark in the Park event seemed too good to miss, so I sent out a tweet to the 30 Dates followers asking if a blog reader wanted…

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Hot Dog, Coke Float and Chips – Tate Modern Cafe, Bankside

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At long last, the sun is out! So I went for a short walk to the Tate Modern Museum which is just down the river from me. I know there is a cafe at Tate Modern so was hoping to see whether I can grab some lunch from there.

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If you approach Tate Modern from the riverside, you can see the facade of the main cafe on the right hand side of the imposing building. Entrance is within the museum itself along the turbine hall. I was pretty surprised that it’s quite a big space and was glad the server gave me a seat with the view of the river.

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A Lichtenstein retrospective is running at the Tate Modern so apart from the normal lunch menu, there is also a special Lichtenstein inspired menu on offer. Did not fancy any of the items on the main menu so I went for the Hot Dog, Coke Float and Chips on the special menu. At £10 for 3 items, it’s not such a bad deal considering it is a sit down lunch with proper service.

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First up was the Coke Float. I think I have ever only had Root Beer float but that was yonks ago and thoroughly enjoyed this rendition with Coke. The vanilla flavour soften the acidity of Coke and gave it a vanilla taste not unlike the Root Beer version. Tempted to buy some ice cream and Coke tonight for a rerun.

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The chips was crunchy on the outside while soft and fluffy on the inside. The freshly ground sea salt goes great with it. Do use sea salt as compared to normal table salt with freshly fried chips when possible, it really makes a difference.

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Lastly, the hot dog which is served with apple slaw and crispy fried onions  on a small baguette. The term “inspired” is totally adequate for this as it feels like an English version of an American hot dog, at least I was warned. The hot dog is a sausage which in itself is ok, coarsely ground filling seasoned with herbs but it is definitely not a snappy frankfurter. The baguette was a tad irritating as I was expecting a soft and fluffy hot dog bun. I would expect more tang from the apple slaw while the fried onions was what it is.

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Ok, ok! The menu did say “inspired” and perhaps I’m being too harsh. I will just close my eyes and think of it as a sausage baguette! At least the view was worth the price of the meal!

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Tate Modern Cafe
Bankside
London SE1 9TG
0207 401 5014

Spicy Luxe Dog – The Luxe, Spitalfields

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Some colleagues and I went to The Luxe last Thursday for lunch and we had a good time. The menu was extensive, food was tasty and service was prompt and friendly. Noticed that they have a takeaway service so thought I give it a go for lunch today.

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The takeaway lunch menu consists of mainly burgers and hot dogs. I went with the Spicy Luxe Dog with a side of chips. The dog was £4.50 and chips was £2.25. Not that cheap but was not expecting it to be. To order, you walk up to the side of the both where there is a cash register (or look for the Order Here sign), place your order and move to the other side of the booth while your order is being prepared.

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On the menu, the Spicy Luxe Dog should have cheese, jalapeno and Luxe sauce. Where is the jalapeno? I feel cheated. The hot dog bun is griddled with the cheese inside to melt it. Could definitely do with more cheese. There is a sprinkling of chilli flakes on the cheese but that is far from the spicy I was expecting. The hot dog is a normal frankfurter style dog so nothing much to wow about. It’s split in half to facilitate the grilling which ruined the snap of the dog. As for the Luxe sauce, it’s nothing but just Heinz ketchup. Disappointing. The saving grace was the chips. I was a bit wary as the chip has been resting under a heated lamp for God knows how long and I was expecting it to be soggy and nasty. They turned out much better than expected, crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside.

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Overall, a rather lacklustre lunch, seeing I really enjoyed my sit down lunch last week. Also, I think they cater to those who eat on site rather than proper takeaway back to office. There are no paper bags or proper container to speak of. I had to juggle a cup of chips with no cover and a hot dog wrapped with paper (curiously, the wax paper belongs to Smith of Smithfield!) together with my tablet and wallet on the walk back to office. Verdict: you are better off having a sit down meal at The Luxe. Or go for the Polish Sausage Baguette at Cafe 1001 if you are craving for a banger.

The Luxe
109 Commercial Street
London E1 6BY
0207 101 1751