Friday, September 30, 2011

The Sandwich King's Favorite Fried Food Recipes

Recently I talked about last year's winner of Food Network's "The Next Food Network Star," Aarti Sequiera. Today I'm talking about this year's winner, Jeff Maura, the Sandwich King.

On recent episodes of his new show, ironically called "Sandwich King," he made, yeah, you guessed it, the favorite fried food. Here are his recipes for Roasted Potato Wedges that I recently shared on Twitter, and also his Sweet Potato Fries too. Check them out!

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

French Fry Diary 274: Captain Cook's Snack Company 2011

French Fry Diary has visited Captain Cook's Snack Company at the Polynesian Resort before, waaay back in 2008, and it seems that things have changed a little bit. We came here on this trip to meet Dom and Cindy and family for a quick dinner - and for the promise of the perfect grilled cheese - that got The Bride on board. One lightning stormed boat and Monorail trip later we arrived at the Polynesian Resort, and Captain Cook's Snack Company.

I declined the grilled cheese because computer touch screen could not deliver a plain one, so I went with the Angus bacon cheeseburger, and fries, of course. I also grabbed a bag of BBQ potato chips - Disney brand chips, oh yeah!

The fries were the standard Disney park fries, natural cuts good when hot. The burger was good but the bacon too crispy and it was on a grain bun. Not one of my favorite meals on this trip.
Now the chips were Disney Kettle Cooked BBQ Potato Chips. Add to that a red silhouette of Pluto and the words "barkin flavor" on the and how can you lose? They were regular chips, kettle cooked with a nice crunch. The seasoning is light and sweet with brown sugar. On the good side they're gluten free and have no transfat.

Another nice night with friends at dinner. We talked "Torchwood," the behind the scenes tour that The Bride took, and, believe it or not, how Disney is on the decline. Despite that last bit, we still all love Disney, and we still all had a great time.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Random Tater Pic of the Day #19

This pic was yoinked from friend @gailyw on Twitter. Also be sure to check out her blog here.

See, French fries are a great side for anything.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

French Fry Diary 273: Roaring Fork, Wilderness Lodge

From the Disney Dream, we continued our vacation in Walt Disney World, with a stay at the Wilderness Lodge. We had been there twice before to have dinner at the Whispering Canyon Café. I was so blown away by the gigantic lobby of this hotel that I decided, if we could, someday it would be fantastic to stay there, and especially get a room on the lobby. We did it this time. It might cost a bit more, but it was more than worth it, I have a new favorite hotel at Disney.

The Roaring Fork is the quick service 'restaurant' at the Wilderness Lodge, as opposed to the main restaurant, the Whispering Canyon Cafe. I've heard it's more of a breakfast place but I hit it for lunch one day of my stay, and I got, what else, French fries.

At first glance they appeared to be the same natural cuts available most everywhere in the Disney properties, but these were a little different. Fries of course sometimes depend more on who's cooking than how they're cooked. This might be the case with these.

These natural cuts are just a bit more golden brown and crispier than the Disney standard, and, for me at least, a little yummier. However the cost if the place without the Disney Dining Plan is pretty extravagant, especially for a counter service. So, worth it for 'free,' but not if you have to pay for them. You're better off at the other two restaurants at Wilderness Lodge - the aforementioned Whispering Canyon Café or Artist Point.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Marni's Tater Tots

Good friend Marni sent this picture along as an entry for Somebody Else's Fries. These are Sloppy Joes with Tater Tots that she made for dinner recently. Enjoy. And for the record, there is no sexual innuendo whatsoever in today's blog entry title, even if you know Marni.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

French Fry Diary 272: Cookes of Dublin 2011

This was a special occasion, the 2011 trip to Cookes of Dublin. This trip wasn't just the traditional pilgrimage The Bride and I (well, I go, she just tags along cuz she, ya know, loves me and stuff) make to Cookes of Dublin every time we visit Walt Disney World. This became a group outing, and then a Real Life Tweet-Up.

From the Disney Cruise, friends Dom and Cindy were already traveling with us, and even though we weren't staying at the same hotel once back on the mainland, the promise of the best fries the 'fry guy' had ever had intrigued them. We had also made tentative plans to meet up with Terry, who lives in Florida. Y'all know Terry, he's done a few guest blog entries here and over at Welcome to Hell. We've known each other for years online, but have never met in person. There were even tentative plans to meet up with another friend from Twitter and a writer local to me, but that didn't work out.

In the end there were six of us on this French Fry Diary multi-state road trip, so we met up at Cookes of Dublin on the far end of what was once Pleasure Island in Downtown Disney. It was great to meet Terry in person for the first time, but it's weird, we already knew each other pretty well. It's another way the Internet is bringing the world closer together.

I got my usual, the chicken and chips, hot and wonderful. The chips/fries were crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, still the best fries I know of. The consensus at the table was pretty unanimous and led to a discussion on fry making. The Bride and Dom's son Anthony tried the battered deep-fried burger, and their reaction was "Awesome." Now I love me some deep-frying but I'm not sure I could go for that.

Speaking of deep-frying, the meal was topped off by a couple Doh-Bars - deep-fried Mars candy bars... Mmmm... Battered heaven on a stick... Good friends, good food, good times. I look forward to doing this again, soon!

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Random Tater Pics of the Day #17 and 18

As we finish our vacation time on board the Disney Dream, here's a closer look at Mia's ketchup Mickey Mouse, and below that, the one night that our server Charlie misfired with the ketchup bottle, and made a Piglet instead.

Next stop, Walt Disney World! See you then!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

French Fry Diary 271: Enchanted Garden, Final Night

For our final night's dinner on the Disney Dream, we returned to the Enchanted Garden. As with any Disney Cruise, and I suppose any good cruise, the final night is bittersweet. And with an excellent waitstaff that has handled us for the entire trip - Goncalo, Charlie and Fitz - it was sad to see them go. Well, actually we're the ones going, but you know what I mean.

I got the aged angus beef tenderloin that came with something called a William potato, and I also ordered steak fries cuz I'm just like that, ya know. The steak was the best I have had in some time, almost perfect. The fries were the steak fries I had had throughout the cruise and were even better with the au jus from the steak.

The William potato was a breaded pear-shaped animal that was soft and hot inside like mashed potatoes. It also had a sweet kick to it, very delicious. Further questioning of Goncalo revealed that it is shaped mashed potatoes, covered with spiced breadcrumbs and deep-fried. It's fantastic, and highly recommended if you see it on a menu.

The evening was topped off by the Flags of All Nations dance (you have to see it to believe it) and a wonderful baked Alaska for dessert. I'm going to miss the Disney Dream.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Random Tater Pics of the Day #15 and 16

Almost every night of our cruise on the Disney Dream, Mia, the daughter of our friends, Dom and Cindy, ordered mac and cheese, with fries, for her entrée. This kids menu delight usually had either steak fries or natural cuts, which can read about in other entries from the cruise, but they came with a special condiment.

Here's a pic of that special condiment, ketchup, expertly poured by our assistant server Charlie into the shape of a hidden Mickey. Yep, a ketchup Mickey Mouse for the fries, rock on. And special thanks to Cindy for the pics.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

French Fry Diary 270: Animator's Palate, Pirate Night

Dinner on day four was Pirate Night on the Disney Dream, and we were once again at Animator's Palate. Pirate Night is also fireworks night on the top deck, as well as dress-up night. By dress-up, I don't mean those annoying formal nights that most cruises have, I mean dress-up like a pirate. Yeah, Disney, as always, means fun. Even our two servers, Goncalo and Charlie, got into the act.

The special effects of the restaurant were different tonight in that instead of interactive Crush the turtle it was simpler, subtler and in my opinion, better. We were treated to pirate images from Disney movies, rides, animation designs, and history. Visuals from films like Peter Pan, Treasure Island, Treasure Planet and of course the Johnny Depp Pirates of the Caribbean movies flashed across the multiple screens of the walls. I liked it a lot.

For starters at dinner, I had my favorite appetizer, a coconut banana treat, and my favorite rolls were also on the table, so we were off to a great beginning for the meal. Again, like I said, if you mention you like something, the waitstaff, who are with you the entire stay, make sure you are taken care of. The rolls rocked.

For dinner, I ordered some very spicy citrus chicken with the usual steak fries. The chicken was tender and succulent, and the fries, with the lemony sauce were terrific. This was truly one of the best meals on board so far, in flavor, company and entertainment.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

French Fry Diary 269: Royal Palace, Mystery Breakfast

Day four's breakfast brought The Bride and me back to Royal Palace. This breakfast was very much like yesterday's but a little lighter. I just got the grilled ham and breakfast potatoes. Ham was fantastic as usual, and the potatoes continue to be one of the best things about breakfast on the Disney Cruise. But, the potatoes this time also had some interesting extras.

We think they might have been battered onion rings and strings, or maybe peppers, or something else completely off our radar - but we weren't sure, and I wasn't brave enough to try one so there you go. The seasoning on the potatoes was a bit spicier, or maybe the mystery items made them so. They were still very good, and highly recommended.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

French Fry Diary 268: Disney Dream Room Service

After seeing the midnight showing of new Fright Night on the Disney Dream, The Bride and I were still up and a little hungry so we ordered up some room service. Just some comfort food - mac and cheese, a Florida version of a cheesesteak, and, of course, some French fries.

The Bride inhaled the mac and cheese, not only because she was hungry but also because she digs mac and cheese the way I do the favorite fried food. The fries were the same baked steak fries I had had elsewhere and earlier on the Disney boat. Hot and tasty, and perfect for a well-after-midnight snack.

The "cheesesteak" was a steak, yes, a real steak with a slice of cheese and an onion slice on it in a mini kaiser roll. Not quite a Philly cheesesteak, but still pretty good for a hungry late night snack. We split it, enjoying it, but still wishing for a real cheesesteak. I guess we'll have to hit Big John's, or Tony Luke's, or the big two - Geno's or Pat's when we get home. All around, it was a good and interesting late night snack, it definitely hit the spot.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

French Fry Diary 267: Animator's Palate, Disney Dream

Day three dinner on board the Disney Dream brought us to Animator's Palate. There are Animator's Palate restaurants on the other Disney Cruise Line ships but this one us supposed to be a little different. It us smaller and a bit more intimate. In the others, a black and white atmosphere surrounded by animated images turns fully color and animated as the evening goes on.

It is a similar experience on this version although as I said, it's more intimate. The setting is more like that of a real animator's studio and desk and shelves. The decor is reminiscent of when Disney used to have tours of their animation studios.

The floorshow is much the same but the animation is much more amazing. You get three dimensional entertainment featuring Crush the turtle and other Finding Nemo characters. Crush is interactive like Turtle Talk at Epcot.

I got brave again and this time ordered as an appetizer the bacon and cheddar baked potato soup. It's the same dish you could order at Le Cellier in Canada at the World Showcase in Epcot, according to my friend Dom. As you would guess being a catastrophically picky eater, soup is not in my wheelhouse. This was pretty good, sort of a very thin mashed potatoes with the bacon adding an extra tasty kick. Nice.

Dom and Cyndi's daughter ordered fries from the kids menu and she got fairly tasty looking natural cuts. But since they were hers I had to get my own. And she got the Mickey Mouse full of ketchup again.

For my potato selection, to go along with my angus beef tenderloins, was wasabi mashed potatoes. These were very good mashed potatoes. The wasabi had a bit of a slow burn to it but it was a good burn, quite good.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Random Tater Pic of the Day #14

This is the sign in front of the Tow Mater Grill at Flo's 8 Café. Ya just gotta love any sign that says "French Fries are always available upon request!"

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Friday, September 09, 2011

Paula Deen's Sweet Potato Home Fries

This past week or so here at French Fry Diary we have been talking a lot about breakfast potatoes, especially on board the Disney Dream. For Food Network Friday today, I thought I'd share the incomparable Paula Deen's take on breakfast potatoes, with a new twist, she's using sweet potatoes.

The video is courtesy of Food Network, the recipe can be found here, and it's from the "Gone Brunchin'" episode of "Paula's Best Dishes." Enjoy!

To quote Paula, "There's nothing like the sound of a fryer... especially if it's full of taters, y'all!" Indeed.

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

French Fry Diary 266: Flo's 8 Café

Up on open air deck 11 of the Disney Dream is a counter service area called Flo's 8 Cafe, themed from the Disney Pixar flick Cars. This was where we all got together for lunch on day three of our cruise. There are counters relating to different characters from the movies. I got my hot dog and fries from Tow Mater's Grill. There's also Luigi's Pizza and Fillmore's Favorites.

These fries are the typical Disney park natural cuts, not that there's anything wrong with that. They are reasonably good if you get them hot. Good side dish for a lazy lunch on a hot day. Food-wise and location-wise, this wasn't really anything special, but as far as company and conversation, this was one of the best lunches on board. We just hung out and chatted, it was fun.

And I also loved the sign at Tow Mater's Grill that says: "French fries are always available upon request."

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Kale Chips

A healthy substitute for potato chips, for those of us who are pregnant or not...

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

French Fry Diary 265: Royal Palace for Breakfast

For day three breakfast on board the Disney Dream I was alone. The Bride and the rest of the women of our party were at the 'princess gathering,' and the other men were smartly sleeping. I ventured into the ritzy Royal Palace for breakfast.

While there were very tempting huge breakfasts available like a pineapple French toast stack and a supposedly killer Eggs Benedict, I went off menu for ham, bacon, English muffin, and oh yeah, breakfast potatoes.

Now the grilled ham is a treat that the Disney boat always does well, and bacon is always good, in any capacity. The potatoes were much the same as the ones at Cabanas yesterday but without the onions and peppers. They did have a sharp seasoning to them though. And that's a good thing. But have a cold drink ready.

As I said I went off menu. They had those square hash browns and I didn't want those. When the roasted potatoes were brought to the table I was told they were from the Enchanted Garden so I guess that will be my next stop for breakfast.

I think this was the point in the trip where the waitstaff as a whole became wise to me. I was the guy taking pictures of potato products and taking notes on his phone as well. The next couple times I was at Cabanas, a waiter I did not know would approach me and direct me to the potato product for the meal, and tell me it was hot and tasty, try it.

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Sunday, September 04, 2011

French Fry Diary 264: Royal Palace, Disney Dream

Day two dinner of our cruise brought us to the Royal Palace. The ritziest of the three free restaurants on board the Disney Dream, the Royal Palace is Disney princess themed, mostly Cinderella but they are all included. It's also a French restaurant, as beaten into me by my friend Dom (who spent much of dinner doing French quotes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail), so I ordered - of course - French fries.

The catastrophically picky eater in me also got daring at this meal. I ordered an avocado citrus salad and wild boar tenderloins. Yeah, I went waaay out of my comfort zone. And the coolest part of the meal so far - our traveling companions Dom and Cindy's little girl got a kids meal with French fries, and a Mickey Mouse made of ketchup. Awesome.

The wild boar was very tender and delicious, much to my surprise. The favorite fried food was the same as last night - the baked steak fries. Wonderful. Again, as always, good company and good food, was topped off tonight by creme brûlée, Dom's favorite dessert.

Now I've mentioned how much I love the waitstaff on the Disney boat, and how they take care of you so well. Dom had mentioned loving the crème brulee on the last trip, and they remembered. He got it every night this time, and when I said I liked it as well, guess who got it every night thereafter on this trip? Yep, now that's cool.

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