Monday, September 28, 2009

French Fry Diary 49: Pop Everything, WDW

Everything Pop is the food court for the Pop Century resort at Walt Disney World. Since on our most recent stay we were only going to be there for a long weekend, we went low rent and decided to crash there. Pop Century’s theme and focus, despite the misleading name, is trivia and nostalgia from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. What happened to the first half of the century I’m not sure of, but it really wasn’t that bad, quite good actually.

Everything Pop is the central meeting place in the main building and contains, among other things, a gift shop, an arcade, and the food court. The food court is divided up into four different stations, each designated to a different style of food – American, Greek, Italian and finally a mix of Asian and Mexican. This is a nice change of pace, especially compared to Disney’s other economy resorts.

Only the American station had French fries, and there were the Disney standard natural regular cuts. The Italian station had no fries, the Mexican one offered nachos and the Greek tasty looking bagel chips – but no other fries.

In the morning though, every Disney food provider turns to breakfast, and as you might have guessed, everyone has home fries, hash browns, or some form of breakfast potatoes. Everything Pop is no exception. I found breakfast potatoes at the Italian station, along with bacon and some milk, cereal and toast. I won’t quibble much on the price or portion size of the hot food due to the Disney Dining Plan (highly recommended for any trip to WDW) but let’s just say if I was paying real cash I’d be more than pissed.

The breakfast potatoes were of the diced type, surprisingly of both red and gold potato varieties. They were only warm (which may be because of the long lines at breakfast, Disney’s really gotta find an easier way to do this), served cafeteria-style, and just begging for some –any kind of- seasoning. Once seasoned, other than there being far too little of them, they were pretty good, especially after I popped them in the microwave there for half a minute.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

French Fry Diary 48: Restaurant Marrakesh, World Showcase

Up front, they have fries, but I didn’t have ‘em – but it's my blog, so I make the rules. The Restaurant Marrakesh is the fancy food place at Morocco in the World Showcase at Epcot at Walt Disney World. On my most recent trip The Bride and I made reservations for dinner there.

As with any of the restaurants of the World Showcase, atmosphere is the prime directive and Marrakesh has it in spades. Over the course of our meal we enjoyed the talents of two sitar players and a belly dancer. We sampled new and interesting foods – yeah, that’s right, me, the catastrophically picky eater, I tried cous cous and something called a beef brewat roll. Interesting. Marrakesh also had the best beverage service I have ever seen. My Coke wasn’t even half empty before another was placed next to it. Niiice.

On the fries front, the party next to us had a little girl who ordered from the kids menu, which did have – you guessed it – French fries. They appeared to be regular natural cuts, like a lot of the generic counter places in Disney World have. And they must have been better than whatever that party’s adults had ordered, because they were all taking the little girl’s fries.

The Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco in WDW, recommended, and they do have fries.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

French Fry Diary 47: Casey’s Corner, Magic Kingdom

When I did the survey earlier this year about "Who has the best fast food French fries" I got more than a few "None of the above" answers. So I asked you folks, if not among the choices, who has the best fast food French fries? One of the answers I got was Casey’s Corner in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Seeing how I was going to be there this week, I just had to try Casey’s Corner.

It’s down on the corner end of Main Street as you enter the Magic Kingdom, and as it’s named after the poem by Ernest Thayer and subsequently the 1946 cartoon short by Disney, it’s appropriately decorated. Baseball themed, you get to sit on the bleachers in the back, or at a number of real tables either inside or outside. But come on, here, you just have to sit on the bleachers, and if you do, you get to watch vintage sports-oriented Mickey Mouse and Goofy cartoons from the 1930s and 40s. How can you beat that?

The atmosphere is great, perfect for hot dogs are terrific, steamed and very very baseball park. The rest of the fare follows suit as you can also get stuff like Crackerjacks as well. The reason I’m here of course though are the fries. They are standard Disney natural regular cuts and come in a cute little Frypod-ish cup. They were not great, but not bad either. I myself would not put them at the head of the pack – but the atmosphere at Casey’s certainly puts them up there.

A lot of the time at Disney, it’s all in the presentation, and if everything else is great – it brings the stuff that’s not so great up a level or two. That’s definitely the case with the fries at Casey’s Corner. Don’t miss this hidden treasure in the Magic Kingdom.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

French Fry Diary 46: Nifty Fifty’s

The first thing that strikes one about the French fries at Nifty Fifty’s is the variety. Their fries come in cheese, spicy, spicy cheese, chili cheese, spicy chili, BBQ beef, BBQ beef cheese. I’m guessing you see a pattern here and I know there could be more if they tried, just based on the listed combos. Their chicken nuggets have similar varieties. On first impressions it might seem like they are trying to cover something up with these elaborate toppings – and they are.

The fries are natural regular cuts, nothing spectacular, while similar to Five Guys in appearance they are nowhere, I repeat, nowhere near as good. I got just regular fries with none of the toppings but there was still a hint of seasoning, maybe just bad preparation. The fries were lukewarm and soggy, from both grease and condensation. These were just really bad fries. No wonder they offer so many toppings to cover the fact up.

Nifty Fifty’s also has onion rings. These are big thick chunks of onion rings, obviously ‘home-made’ as advertised and evidenced by the haphazard way they have been battered – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. These were more onion than batter and had a pleasant Italian seasoning to them.

The rings were cold when I got them home (less than ten minutes in a closed bag), much as the fries had been just moments after I ordered them. One just assumes food should be hot when you order at drive-thru. I’ll give NF the benefit of the doubt and say the rings had time to cool. Onion rings rarely nuke well so I put them (seven of them in the one order) in the oven for a few minutes. They’re pretty good, not great. In all honesty I think I could make ‘em better myself at home.

So the rings are okay, and the fries bad, and the chicken nuggets questionable. If any of those are on your stomach’s agenda, I suggest you steer clear of Nifty Fifty’s.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Skillet Skating

If there’s anything better than animated French fries, it’s figure skating animated French fries... happily skating to their deep fried doom...

Don’tcha just love advertising logic?

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

French Fry Diary 45: Hash Browns Should Be Hot…

Hash browns should be hot, and parents should watch out for their children, but this is ridiculous.

Robin MacLeod is suing Dunkin’ Donuts because she allowed her toddler to eat a hot hash brown that supposedly burned and scarred him. Yeah, if you’re having a McDonald’s hot coffee flashback, you’re right on track. She’s suing for $200,000.

MacLeod claimed that the hash brown was only lukewarm but when the child broke open the snack, it was burning hot inside and dropped it onto his neck.

Is it just me, or if you got ‘lukewarm’ hash browns, wouldn’t you ask for hot ones? Hey, rocket scientist, they are supposed to be hot. And why are you letting your fifteen month old feed himself while you are driving anyway?

Hash browns should be hot.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

French Fry Diary 44: Lord of the Fries

Here it is, folks, the number one reason I want to visit Australia, and the number one reason y’all should as well – Lord of the Fries!

With two locations in Melbourne, Lord of the Fries is the brainstorm of two people whose love for fries brought them together in the mission to create the perfect fry, and from all indications, they may have. Starting with a van in 2004, the next year they moved to a permanent location and continued to expand.

The fries themselves (and as I’ve never been there I’m going by pictures and descriptions alone) are extra thick natural cuts, fresh cut and fried twice, with no trans fats. At first I was shocked that the website provided photos of the burgers and the sauces but not the fries – but duh, I found quickly if you clicked on the sauces – there they were. After all, what else would someone be putting the sauces on, right?

Good stuff, can’t wait ‘til I get a chance to go to Melbourne!

So unless you already live Down Under, or until you get a chance to visit, follow them on Twitter and fan them on Facebook.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jagabee Commercial

Yes, it’s true. Fries in a can, from Japan. Beyond that, I have no idea what the commercial is about.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

French Fry Diary 43: Deep Fried Breakfast Potatoes

One thing I have noticed of late at diners is a trend toward deep frying breakfast potatoes. If you ask for them well done or extra crispy – the first question from the waitress will be "Would you like them deep-fried?" or "Should we drop them in the deep fryer?" To me, for the most part, it seems a bit extreme.

Of course it also depends on what you mean by breakfast potatoes. Are you talking home fries or hash browns and what form do they take? Shredded deep-fried is a bad idea – I mean, really, just burn some potato sticks if that’s the kind of crunch-fest you’re looking for. A hash brown, similar to the McDonald’s standard, could go in the fryer briefly, but not much longer in my opinion.

Now breakfast potatoes in the diced style or sliced style, that would probably work. Myself at home, I’ve done this with both the frozen varieties of these as well as the fresh cuts, and these come out quite tasty. Again, it’s a matter of how long you leave them in the hot oil.

I’ve never had them done this way at a diner or similar restaurant, but I guess it’s worth a try. We’ll see.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

French Fry Diary 42: Sweet Patato Chips

My good friend Crystal and I share a love of things Asian and especially shopping in Asian food markets for new and interesting stuff. Recently (or not that recently, as you’ll see) she bought me something knowing of my love of all things potato – vacuum fried Sweet Patato Chips from Khoai Lang Say.

Now I’m not sure what exactly 'vacuum fried' actually means, but the little guy on the sealed foil bag sure looks happy, so how bad could they be? Well, I don’t know, and that’s the problem. As has been noted before here on French Fry Diary, I am a catastrophically picky eater, and sweet potatoes (spelled correctly or not) are not very high on the list – so I let them sit for a while.

Let’s not get into semantics and say how long 'a while' is, let’s just say I wasn’t worried as these things were in a sealed foil bag and apparently had no expiration date. Either I was wrong about their shelf life, or I was right about not liking them cuz I had quite a surprise when I opened the bag finally.

There were very much like what’s shown in the picture on the bag, giant orange potato sticks, similar to Andy Capp’s pseudo-Fries. I did not try one, because of the smell. The smell, the smell was, forgive me, but there’s just no other way to describe it – it smelled like ass. The chips/fries and bag were quickly disposed of.

Whether this was an object lesson in expiration dates or being a picky eater, I’m not sure, maybe both, but I really don’t see giving these things a second try any time soon. Sorry, Crystal, but thanks for thinking of me.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

More Fries on Twitter

Sternenfee: RT: @bhaddad: - Riding by the track to pick up some frieS. THEY ARE THE PERFECT SNACK AFTER BANGING THE GOATS #RWRTF

A_Thoroughbred: How IS Popeyes going to run out of wings ? Thats like McDonald running out of french fries... UNEXCEPTABLE ! (LoL)

ritawyatt: Just leaving Chick-fil-a. Longest line ever, but it moved pretty fast.

sarahreigstad: Maxwells waffle fries are absoluetly my favorite waffle fry ever! Especially when they are steaming hot and dipped in the sour cream sauce.

Kiamotor20: Walkingto schoool is so weird! Im carrying cupcakes and it's so humid! I ironed my bangs and they look like curly fries now!

DGPRinc: Have you tried Zucchini Fries?: Have you tried Zucchini Fries? Click on pic for recipe from The Dish:

nvrsummer01: there's some fries in my tummy, so yummy so yummy!

Haz9mg: Aww my bestfriend daniella drove all the way to my job jus to buy me some fries from checkers....ily...

d_chambers: @vaquero_menos cooking fried catfish outside plus homemade fries, hushpuppies and onion rings. The whole area smells so good!

getoutalive: chick fil a is in cahoots with the devil ;)

MalloryRayne: RT @stoner_stuff Sundays are good for smoking pot and eating french fries..

Ooooo-kay. That’s about all the time we have for today. Maybe we’ll do this again some time...

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Paula Deen’s Red Potato Salad

For Labor Day, another favorite picnic dish, this one from Paula Deen at the Food Network:


* 12 cups cubed red potatoes
* 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
* 1/2 cup minced red onion
* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
* 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Cook potatoes, covered in boiling water, 10 minutes, or until tender; drain well and cool.

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, bell pepper and onion.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

French Fry Diary 41: Friendly’s Family Restaurant

I haven’t been to a Friendly’s Family Restaurant in quite some time, due to a difference of opinion regarding what constitutes a non-smoking section. In other words, the non-smoking section should not be a row of booths in the very center of the restaurant where everything else is a smoking section. That just doesn’t work. And considering that NJ restaurants have been smoke-free for quite some time – that should tell you how long it’s been since I’ve been to a Friendly’s.

Now onto what we’re here for today, the favorite fried food. In the past, maybe a decade or two back, Friendly Fries (and I believe they may have been trademarked at one point) were among the best available at family restaurant franchises. Thin regular cuts, but not thin enough to be shoestrings, were hot, crisp, tasty and quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, those days and those fries are long gone.

What Friendly’s now offers are what diners used to have before the advent of Invisicoat – greasy, sub-standard regular cuts. Adequate, but then again, often not. The quality and the consistency have vanished. Nobody who liked fries is going to Friendly’s for fries anymore.

Also in the potato arena, Friendly’s has the “Jumbo Fronions and Waffle Fries” with onion rings and seasoned waffle cut potato wedges. The ones I tried were overdone and the seasoning left an unwanted aftertaste. The onion rings were thick - but not thick enough to merit being called thick – and otherwise unspectacular. This again is sad, as twenty years ago Friendly’s had the best onion rings – thin and crisp, just right. And ten years ago they had the Frunions (sp?), which were tasty and spicy onion straws (gone as well). One serving of those was enough for a meal in itself – but this sampler is barely enough for one, and definitely not for two.

Friendly’s is not a complete disaster though. The ice cream is still excellent and they still have those great large (very large) Cokes, as long as they don’t over-ice the glass. But then again, what am I really saying if I say Friendly’s has really good Coke, ya know? The service was less than pleasant, but that’s true of many places. Suffice it to say, if you want fries, drive past Friendly’s.

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Chicken Wave

From the Chick-fil-A Facebook:

Let the football fury begin with free chicken, powerful matchups and the largest online wave. The fun starts when Alabama faces off with Virginia Tech at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game this Saturday, September 5, at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

Then, you can get a FREE Chick-fil-A Original Chicken Sandwich at the Labor Day Giveaway when you wear any sports team logo to Chick-fil-A from 10:30 a.m. to close. RSVP to the event today and invite your friends.

Plus, you can stand up and holler for all things chicken by joining the Chicken Wave - your chance to cheer for chicken, eat more chicken and win free chicken. Visit to learn more - and goooo chicken!

And don't forget those hot and tasty Chick-fil-A waffle fries!

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Burger King Fries in Stores?

Will you be able to buy Burger King’s crappy French fries in your grocer’s freezer soon? The magic fry 8 ball seems to indicate ‘yes.’

According to Con Agra Foods, Lamb Weston has entered into an agreement with Burger King to produce a microwavable fry package, similar to BK’s Frypod, to supermarkets and Wal-Marts this fall.

The full article can be found here.

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Friday, September 04, 2009

French Fry Diary 40: IKEA… Fries?

I wish I could be more positive about this one, but I just can’t. Finding French fries in new and interesting places is a pleasure and an adventure. It is truly one of the best parts of this job – unless they suck, and trust me, IKEA fries do indeed suck.

For those not in the know, IKEA is that funky Scandinavian place with all the cool furniture that sometimes can drive you insane putting it together by yourself when you get home. For quite some time I have been hearing rumors that IKEA also had a restaurant, and that the food was really quite good. As you can imagine, my first thought was of the fries, so I set out to try them.

Now mind you, I had been warned. I was told repeatedly that the fries at IKEA were bad, even crappy, and that I wouldn’t like them. But, I have a duty here, and like my friend Ben, I decided I had to try them, so you won’t have to.

These are really crappy fries. Wow. Yeah, really crappy. IKEA fries are diner quality regular cuts with lotsa batter, like lotsa batter in the manner of the old KFC Extra Crispy chicken recipe, and that’s not a good thing. This is truly the invisicoat from Hell. Once you get through the coating there’s a processed mashed potato taste inside. Not hot, barely warm, and served cafeteria style, these are probably the worst fries I’ve had in quite some time. I barely ate more than half a dozen of the wretched things in the photo shown. And then I couldn’t even give the rest away.

Friends assure me that the mashed potatoes are good, and I myself can attest to the ‘cholad ljus’ chocolate bar being quite tasty, and some of the furniture at IKEA is great – but whatever you do, stay away from these crappy fries.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

French Fry Diary 39: Sonic Hysteria

I knew there was something weird when I drove past the site of the new Audubon Sonic Drive-In a month ago and people had their hands on the chainlink fences just staring at the nearly built structure. I think the folks at Sonic have put something in the water in this area of New Jersey…

Now they are open, and it’s dinner time in early September, and traffic is lined up around the place, past the Chick-fil-A next door and into the intersection of the Black Horse Pike. There are at least three police cars in attendance, and everyone, and I mean everyone, wants to get into Sonic.

I’m not sure about why this particular site is getting so popular. Yes, Sonic is fairly new to this area, but there are others. There’s been one in Vineland for a while, one just opened in Mount Holly and I’ve even reviewed the one across the river near Philadelphia Park. But somehow, this Audubon location is driving folks to hysteria.

As I turn into the Sonic, an employee tells me all the stalls are filled, would I like drive-thru or patio. When I say drive-thru, she checks via headset if that’s doable. Two more employee checkpoints along the trip to the drive-thru do the same. It’s like crossing over into Canada, but a much smoother operation.

Yep, Sonic is prepared for this as if it’s some well-planned invasion. Someone should check the water. I think we’re under attack. Now if they could only bring this military precision and quality control to their less than stellar fries…

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

September Is Potato Month

September is always National Potato Month!

Check out the website for lots of great potato fun facts, potato poems, and even the opportunity to send potato e-cards to your family and friends!

Happy National Potato Month!

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