Friday, September 19, 2014

French Fry Diary 616: Ancho Chili Cheeseburger Potato Chips

"Feel Alive!" is what's written vertically on the side of the bag of these chips. One might assume that this is because they're manufactured by Blair's Death Rain, a hot sauce company, which is owned by Extreme Food. I've tried the their Buffalo Wing chips before, and the heat definitely made me 'feel alive.'

Like my first try from Blair's Death Rain, this is also a 'meat' chip. Fully called Blair's Death Rain Ancho Chili Cheeseburger Cauldron Cooked Potato Chips, these chips have no MSG, no transfats, are gluten free, kosher, and are of only medium heat.

The 'cauldron' cooking gives them the same twisted shapes as kettle cooked chips, but what really makes them stand out is the heavy coating of spices and seasoning. I think there might be more seasoning than chip, and it's very hot. So hot, medium or not, these aren't for me.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #163

These steak frites were the special at Toscana in Cherry Hill a few weeks back. The Bride and I were going to go but family stuff kept us otherwise busy. We will get there soon though.

Added bonus, Gigio Longo of Toscana Cherry Hill also has a very cool comic out called Adam 12 that you should all check out. Fries and comics, always a good match.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

French Fry Diary 615: Tommy's! Roasted Cajun Potatoes

I saw this at the Shop-Rite and had to grab it for later inspection. This bag of steam able potatoes (usually not a good sign) just emanated fun with its packaging. Tommy's! (complete with exclamation mark) Roasted Cajun Potatoes just looked like it would be worth the price of admission, good or bad. I was sold.

Now Tommy's! is not the southern California burger chain nor the famous Los Angeles burger joint, it's apparently its own thing, connected to the healthy freezer food retailer Tommy's Superfoods. This packaging depicting the cowboy with the gator is slightly different than what I could find online. Keeping with the Superfoods line these are vegan, non-GMO, BPA free, POFA free, with no transfats.

They are however microwave steamable, and for French fries, even healthy ones, that's often not good. They can be nuked in the bag, in a microwave safe plate, or even just fried on the stovetop in a skillet. That last one is probably how I should have done these, maybe next time. In the nuke, the blew inflated like microwave popcorn and it filled the space with damp steam.

These potato wedges besides being 'blended' with roasted corn, and onions, are also seasoned with Tommy's! Cajun Style Baby spices. Okay, truth, once these potatoes are on the plate, they smell good, but they are not pretty. The mess reminded me a bit of ill-prepared breakfast potatoes at an abandoned buffet. It's a good thing they taste so good.

The potato wedges don't have crisp or crunch because of the cooking method, but they're also not wet it soggy. This is a solid cook, and they have a baked potato quality, soft and hot. The corn and onions are a surprising addition and the spices pack quite a hot kick.

I liked these quite a bit. I'm looking forward to the next time so I can try the stovetop method, or maybe reheating them in the oven to get a bit of a crisp. Recommended.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #162

These freezer-burned but baked frozen crinkle cut fries are just as miserable as the place where I found them - Virtua Hospital in Mount Holly. Not where you want to go for fries...

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #161

Not just birthday fries, but Bottomless Steak Fries from Red Robin. Had a great time Saturday night at the Cherry Hill Red Robin with friends, and thumbs up for their customer service, great folks at this restaurant.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

French Fry Diary 614: Walkers Ranch Raccoon

Over in the UK, Lay's Potato Chips are known as Walkers Crisps, and they have the Do Us A Flavor contest there too. Several folks, including a recent episode of The Nosh Show (it's also the episode where they try the US DUAF competitors), have brought one of those flavors to my attention.

It's called Ranch Raccoon. Yeah. Let that sink in for a moment all you who thought Cappuccino and Chicken & Waffles were a bit much. Ranch. Raccoon.

Here's how the fine folks at Walkers describe this flavor: "A delicious combination of gamey meat flavour, with accents of sour cream and a garlic kick. They compliment one another beautifully."

The flavor came from the mind of one Robert Gibson, who initially rejected ideas like 'Doughnut Burger,' and decided that if Cajun Squirrel (apparently a real flavor) worked, why not Ranch Raccoon? Wow. I have no words.

Ranch Raccoon is up against some pretty stiff competition in this year's Walkers Do Us A Flavor, including Pulled Pork in a Sticky BBQ Sauce, Chip Shop Chicken Curry, Hot Dog with Tomato Ketchup, Sizzling Steak Fajita, and Cheesy Beans on Toast.

Well, if there's one thing I can say for the Brits, it's at least they had some fun with the contest. And I think it's also worth mentioning that Pickled Onion, Roast Chicken, and Prawn Cocktail are all regular flavors for Walkers Crisps. Would you try any of these flavors?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

French Fry Diary 613: Birthday Goodies

I have a pretty important landmark birthday coming up later this week, and I wanted to talk about freebies, specifically birthday freebies from fast food and chain restaurants. For the sake of the blog here, I'm on an awful lot of email lists for these restaurants so of course I'm on their birthday list as well. I should add that there's a substantial lack of the favorite fried food for free.

Denny's is the granddaddy of these bad boys with their free Grand Slam breakfast on your birthday. You get two eggs, two pancakes, two sausage links, two slices of bacon - but no breakfast potatoes or hash browns. Sad. IHoP goes one better with a free breakfast that might just include hash browns.

Friendly's will give you a three scoop sundae, Dairy Queen does a Blizzard, Chili's a brownie sundae, and Cold Stone Creamery, Baskin-Robbins, Rita's Water Ice, and Ben and Jerry's all have ice cream in a cone or cup. Also in the cold club are Smashburger and Zinburger with milkshakes, and P.F. Chang and Outback both get you free dessert.

Sonic, Charlie Brown's, Red Lobster, Famous Dave's, Moe's Southwest Grill, Qdoba, and Fuddruckers play it safe and mysterious by saying you're just get a free gift. Maybe it's a watch? Hmmm… all I wanted was fries… Don Pablo's goes right for the wallet with the lazy birthday tact of a gift card.

Red Robin rules with not just a free burger, but also a side of those bottomless fries. Houlihan's gets you a free entrée, Johnny Rockets a free burger, and my friends at Cool Dog Café are good for a free hot dog. Hmmm… I'm thinking Cool Dog for lunch maybe and then Red Robin for dinner…

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

French Fry Diary 612: One Potato Two Potato Sweet Onion Potato Chips

One of my favorite local grocery stores, Gennuardi's, closed recently. While they are much missed, in their place a new place opened - Rastelli Market Fresh. This grocery store is kinda like Whole Foods meets Shop-Rite plus beer and wine. Nice selection, I like it, and the best part is that they have Charles Chips. They also have One Potato Two Potato chips too.

I've reviewed a One Potato Two Potato selection before, the Hawaiian BBQ. This time I picked out the Sweet Onion Kettle Potato Chips. These chips are cooked in small batches in expeller-pressed sunflower oil, with no gluten, no MSG, no GMO, no artificial flavors, and no preservatives. What do they have? The ingredients include potatoes, sugar, salt, and garlic and onion powders. The bag also has fun tater trivia too.

When I opened the bag there was a pleasant sweet Vidalia onion aroma inside. It reminded me a bit of the sugary onion ring snacks I sometimes get, and as mentioned above, they do have sugar. They are indeed sweet and oniony, and yummy. As a bonus, they are also in those cool crunchy twisted shapes that come from kettle cooking, so they are great for dipping.

These are good chips, recommended, another thumbs up for One Potato Two Potato.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

French Fry Diary 611: b. good

The South Jersey area has been invaded in the last few years by upscale gourmet burger restaurants like Elevation Burger, Smashburger, Zinburger, and coming soon, Burger Fi. The trend continues with b. good, just opened in the Promenade in Marlton. At first glance it looks like a quick service burger place, but it's much more than that, and costlier.

You order, get your drink and have a seat. The pricing is a bit misleading if you're used to menus and meal deals at fast food restaurants. There are signs that say you can add drink and fries for $5.99, but the deal isn't $5.99, for an additional $5.99 you can get a drink and fries. Add that to the pricy burger and it adds up - this is not a typical quick service burger place though, the service is quick, and the burgers are really good.

The drinks are intriguing. No Coke or Pepsi here. They have cane cola, skinny cane cola, Italian lemon, and Pennsylvania red birch beer (yum), to name just a few. I know I'm a Coca-Cola guy, but I enjoyed trying the different soda flavors, much more than the Lay's potato chip flavors I've had to try of late at least. The cane cola is awesome.

The burger was very good. The meat was local, as is everything at b. good, dry-aged, and house-ground, and it's a loose ground, which makes for a juicy chewy burger. On a softer bun, this would've been an amazing burger, but as is, it was only great. And by great, I mean better than the burgers at most other places.

The natural cut fries, also local, were very good. They were excellent hot, a little soft but still managed to have the right amount of crisp too. There's a subtle seasoning that give them a little kick, nice. I think I got the tail end of a batch as they were many small pieces and stubs. It happens. I saw some awesome sized regular cut fries on the plates of others. I also got a few sweet potato fries with mine, which was a nice surprise. All in all the fries were very good. On a later visit the fires were even better. I guess they just needed to get their groove.

The French fries bags have a lot to say. "These fries are special. They're hand-cut and oven-finished." I like that. Additionally they have the calorie and fat counts of McDonald's, Wendy's, and Burger King as compared to b. good's. There's also another slogan, "Food made by people not factories." Nice. I really liked b. good a lot, and can't wait to go back, and bring friends and family. Recommended.