Friday, January 06, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #259

Not really a tater pic, but within the realm.  This is a cheesesteak and onion rings from Pat's Select, the former being one of the things I miss most about South Jersey, besides friends and family.  Mmmm... cheesesteak...

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

French Fry Diary 728: Bojangles

On the way down to Florida, driving our cars down with friends David and Johnny, The Bride and I stopped at Bojangles. We made the trek on the day a hurricane was coming up the coast toward us, but scheduling being what it was, it was unavoidable.

We made North Carolina by lunchtime and we were starving and needing a potty break. At the time, North Carolina was making headlines for their insane bathroom laws. We had no choice but to stop there, we did not want to - get your head out of your ass, North Carolina. Nevertheless we ended up at Bojangles, a place neither native to New Jersey or Florida.

I stayed in the car with Snowy the cat, he'd had a rough time of it, with the long car ride and the constant rain and wind, which was still going on outside. I got a Country Ham Biscuit to split with the kitty, as he loves ham. The biscuit was heavenly, the ham was fatty but good, and either way Snowy loved it. With him happy and content, and acting more like himself than he had been the first leg of the trip, I moved on to the fries.

The fries at Bojangles are natural cut mini-steak fries, flat like Wendy's latest and not-so-great fries. They were spicy - paprika maybe, definitely pepper and Cajun seasoning - with a bit of a kick.

It was a pretty good meal all things considered. And while I had to eat in the state, I did not use the bathroom, even though I had to go, holding it for another two hours until we hit South of the Border. Screw you, North Carolina, but thumbs up to Bojangles.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

French Fry Diary 727: Copper Crisper

This As-Seen-on-TV product promises to transform your oven into an air fryer. There's no added oil or butter, it eliminates turning food, and allows heat to circulate around food. No sticking, no burning, sounds amazing, right?

Well, maybe. I am always skeptical of this infomercial stuff, especially when pitched by loud obnoxious after-midnight infomercial guys like this Copper Chef dude. That said, this copper color painted basket raised over a copper color painted bake pan does kinda do what it says it does.

Like a convection oven the hot air circulates around the food cooked all sides and eliminating the need to turn it. Five to ten minutes more is needed however to cook the food. That's just what I got from the two batches of steak fries I tried to cook this way. The slight crisp on the outside and fluffy potato on the inside works well for the thicker fries like steak fries, but I immediately wondered what shoestrings might be like in this thing, so the next time that opportunity came, I tried it.

Over the next few days, there was much experimentation. If nothing else, shoestrings worked better, and chicken nuggets and other breaded goodness worked as well, even refrigerated dough biscuits. Onion rings however, and anything you might want a bit of a crunch to - not so much. Five to ten minutes longer than directions tell you is the hard and fast rule though, sometimes longer.

The Copper Crisper is no air fryer, and neither is it a convection oven, but for an infomercial product, it is pretty darn good. I'm happy with it.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy Hanukkah

Every year I try my hand at potato latkes to help The Bride celebrate Hanukkah, and this was this year's from-scratch baked (rather than fried) attempt.  I filled the kitchen with smoke, but she declared them 'okay.'  I'll try harder next year.  Happy Hanukkah from French Fry Diary!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Random Tater Pic of the Day #256

Pringles around the holidays is always known for their out-there flavors, but sometimes they go a bit far, falling into odd-texture weird taste realm of Jelly Belly.

I'm not the only one who feels this way. Here's a pic of friend and sometime-contributor to French Fry Diary, expressing her concern for Pringles Sugar Cookie Potato Crisps.

Yeah, I think Pixie speaks for all of us. If we want sugar cookies, we'll have sugar cookies, and if we want potato chips, we'll have potato chips, or crisps, as Pringles calls 'em.

Stick to chips/crisps, Pringles.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

French Fry Diary 726: Palo

One of my favorite treats when on board the Disney Cruise Line is going to one of the fancy restaurants. The first time I was stone cold against it because of the dress code, and I am not one to dress up. I hate it. But I did it for The Bride, because I love her so much. Once I had gone to Palo, the fancy Italian restaurant at the top of all four Disney ships, I was sold. The food is luscious and wonderful, a foodie's dream, even one with a catastrophically picky palate. The staff will adapt for you, and make you what you want. The Bride put that to the test on the most recent visit to Palo on the Disney Fantasy during the latest TCM Classic Cruise. But first, the normal stuff.

Another tradition I have when on board the Disney Cruises is I always try something new. Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I do not. For instance, arugula, ick, no really, serious ick. This time, at Palo, I tried something suitable for discussion on this blog, something I'm ashamed to admit I have never ever tried before - gnocchi.

This was potato gnocchi (that might seem like a no-brainer, but they do make gnocchi from other stuff), in tomato sauce, with cherry tomatoes grown on the side of a volcano. Even if I didn't like it, it still sounds cool. It was delicious, and I can't wait to try it again, although I suspect it might not live up to that of Palo.

When it came to the main course, I got the beef tenderloin, but asked that they leave off the spinach. Spinach is even higher on my hate list than new contender arugula. The waitress asked if I would like anything else in place of the spinach. The Bride spoke up jokingly, "French fries." After the waitress made a face, trying hard not to break her friendly smile in this fancy-schmancy restaurant, The Bride added, "It's his usual go-to," which was not untrue. Still I was embarrassed, but hoped there would be no spinach.

When my entrée arrived, also placed on the table was a big plate of beautiful, and out of place, natural cut French fries. I was shocked, as was The Bride, and the waitress only said that it was her job to make us happy. The beef was wonderful, and the fries were even better because they were special. And it was hilarious to watch several members of the wait staff come by just to see what kind of idiot had ordered French fries at Palo.

Dinner was fantastic, as always. They even brought us a plate with dessert to help us celebrate our move to Florida. I can't talk about Palo without mentioning the soufflé to die for. If you go, you must not miss it. And of course, this proves an old axiom about Disney customer service - if you want something, just ask, they will do their best to accommodate, no matter what it is. Just ask.