Thursday, December 01, 2011

French Fry Diary 303: P.J. Whelihan's, Medford Lakes NJ

I had only been here once before, years ago, when this particular P.J. Whelihan's was South Jersey landmark, the Settler's Inn, for a wedding reception I was late for because I got lost. But that's just how Medford Lakes is - it's easy to get lost. It's fun, and easy, and a nice drive. However this is one of those times I wished I'd gotten lost.

The P.J. Whelihan's in Medford Lakes is like a TARDIS, much bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. The décor makes it look like a pub, bordering on a T.G.I.Friday's. There's a bar, big screen TVs blaring sports, decades old album flats on the walls - you get the idea.

Once I saw the menu, I was entranced. There were at least four varieties of French fries. They had Famous - old bay seasoned crinkle cuts with melted American cheese, Original - classic golden regular cuts, P.J.'s Spicy - Originals dusted with their special seasoning, Sweet Potato Fries with horseradish dipping sauce, and also Onion Rings with a Creole dipping sauce. And some of the burgers also had onion strings as a topping so they must have them as well, even though not mentioned on the menu.

I determined that I would have to come back to try the others and just get one type of the favorite fried food on this trip. I got the Originals, which turned out to be, as promised, natural cut regular cuts with salt and pepper. They looked crispy but that was just the bad dim lighting. They were in fact soggy and just barely warm. They were soft and mashed potato-ey inside, with a baked quality and while they were probably deep-fried.

On the good side, there were a variety of sauces available for the chicken wings, one of which I snagged for dipping my fries in. The Drunken BBQ sauce was infused with Guinness, and mild and interesting. Everything was great until I pulled the hair out of my basket of fries. Ick. Double ick. Triple ick. I guess I won't be coming back to try anything else on the menu... ever...

I might try a different one someday, but not this P.J.'s.

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