Thursday, June 14, 2012

French Fry Diary 383: Paul's Idaho Potatoes

Sometimes you want and you want, and you get what you want, and sometimes you just get disappointed. Such is the case with Paul's Idaho Potatoes. The Flutter Fries I had waited so long for were just not good. And it wasn't because Ken and I had already had a terrific lunch at European Republic either, it was just an all around bad experience at Paul's.

To be fair, Paul Idaho Potatoes, or Paul's Idaho Fries, has a long history down the shore, specifically in Wildwood. They've been doing their fresh cut, natural cut boardwalk fries cooked in peanut oil down there for well over three decades. I've had them, once upon a time, before I started doing French Fry Diary, and they were pretty good.

I have to say however, their South Street Philadelphia location was a bit of a disappointment on all points. First, they didn't take credit cards, which really wasn't a problem, but we had to hunt down an ATM before we could partake. The man behind the counter at Paul's was not the most friendly or helpful sort it should be noted. We were left to find an ATM on our own in a neighborhood I would guess he knew better that we did. Have I mentioned South Street isn't as pleasant as it once was? Yeah, that's the kind of place where we found an ATM. On a side note, Paul's is actually pretty pricey for what they serve - they should accept credit cards. Five for Flutter Fries and four for lemonade just for example.

On the plus side, once we had cold hard cash in our hands, it was fun to watch Mr. Congeniality make the Flutter Fries. A whole (Russet, I think) potato is fed into something like an apple-coring device, and from there the potato is cut into one continuous flat spiral slice. From there, it's dumped into hot oil, I'm assuming peanut oil, for a few moments. Then Mr. Friendly puts them on a paper plate and with a shove pushes them over the counter to us.

There's a lot here on the plate as you can see from the images. They were not good. They were as appetizing as they looked, and for the record, looked nothing like the pictures up on the walls. The Flutter Fries were crispy like potato chips, but also very greasy having just come out of the oil. If they were shaken out, it wasn't done well. As chips, had they not been so oily, they might have been good to take home and use as dipping chips. The Flutter Fries, more chips than fries, really, also needed a lot of seasoning. The salt worked okay, but the ketchup available there was kinda iffy. Bottom line, we didn't finish them, and left most of them on the tiny counter at Paul's.

After waiting so long to try these, the afternoon (not counting lunch at European Republic and chilling with my buddy Ken) was just one big disappointment. I don't think I'll be coming back to Paul's, even for the regular fries. That's how bad this experience was. Shame.

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