For the last weekend of September the sun came out and we popped down to Tooting for Tootopia’s Street Food Take Over. Here’s our round up of our top picks and where to find them.

1. Oh My Dog!

It’s fair to say that hot dogs lead a pretty divisive existence. The iconic cheap grub of New York’s hard and fast streets with its questionable sausage filling has just as many lovers as it does haters. But that’s soon to be a thing of the past because Oh My Dog! (pictured above) are on the scene and at Tootopia there was absolutely no way I was turning my nose up at one of their creations.

In a bid to reverse the British notion of frankfurters as no-frills fast food, these guys have re-imagined the humble hot dog, upping the ‘umph’ in every aspect ­– I’m talking a proper sausage, proper toppings and a proper bun! At Tootopia this came in the form of a hand-crafted heritage breed frankfurter, a perfectly smoky and lightly salted sausage, that was matched with Tooting-inspired toppings of equal perfection: tikka masala sauce, spiced crispy onions, crushed papadums and a killer coconut and mint sauce. This was all rounded off in an artisan baked, demi-brioche bun.

Take it from me, our meal was soooo very good and with adaptions like this knocking around, Oh My Dog! is putting in a pretty serious bid for its hot dog to be the next hamburger. Just saying.

Oh My Dog! | Various venues across town, keep up to date here: facebook.com/OMDhotdogs

2. Petare

The full monty from Petare: Arepas and chunky chips topped with feta and coriander

The full monty from Petare: Arepas and chunky chips topped with feta and coriander

Venezuelan street food is a new one for me – and my god do I regret not having discovered it earlier. Venezuela’s signature dish, the arepa, is a traditional Venezuelan cornbread stuffed with all sorts of goodies and although they don’t look like much, it’s melt-in-your-mouth stuff, and Petare have got it spot on.

At Tootopia we had the pleasure of tucking into three versions: The Carayaca, a chargrilled, veggie-loving and feta number; The Reina Pepiada with its classic combo of chicken and avocado; and the king of kings, the El Pabellon – a glorious mountain of slow cooked, tender beef brisket laden with black beans, melted cheddar, fried plantain (unexpected, but works) and topped with a spicy chilli and coriander sauce.

Admittedly, there wasn’t a lot going on in the form of Tooting-inspired twists, but I could let that slide, for the original arepa is something of such greatness, it shouldn’t be tampered with. If you’re on the hunt for something different, then Petare‘s mouth-wateringly, good beef number won’t let you down.

Petare | Find a calendar of venues at: petare.co.uk

3. Graveney Gin

A sneaky bit of gin tasting with Graveney Gin

A sneaky bit of gin tasting with Graveney Gin

I’ll keep this one short and sweet as we’ve got more to come from this handcrafted gin company very soon. But all you really need to know is that if you’re a gin fan, look no further. Distilled by hand in Tooting, this totally organic London tipple is so tasty it had sold out by the afternoon (we got there just in time to pick up supplies for the winter). Tooting are very lucky to be able to claim this gem as a born and bred local.

Graveney Gingraveneygin.co.uk

Watch this space….

After the success of the Street Food Take-Over, the Tootopia team are planning a winter edition for December. So you’ll have the chance to check out our three new loves, as well as discovering a few of your own! Stay tuned to find out more…

www.tootopia.co.uk 

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