Wednesday, December 31, 2014
For the last day of the TCM Classic Cruise, at breakfast at Lumiere's, my luck finally ran out. We still got that terrific grilled ham, but they were all out of the roasted red breakfast potatoes. Here come those big ol' hash brown planks. It's cool, the ham was great, but I am sad the cruise is over. Maybe we'll do the next one...
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
More breakfast potatoes, these are from Cabanas, roasted redskin breakfast potatoes with crispy onions and peppers - from the TCM Classic Cruise on board the Disney Magic. Mmmmm...
Friday, December 26, 2014
Kettle Brand makes some incredible potato chips. Among my favorites are the Sweet & Salty, the Maple Bacon, and especially their wonderful baked Real Sliced Potatoes variety. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found out they were going into the French fries business.
Kettle Brand has entered the market, just the Whole Foods Market, in my area at least, with frozen potato wedges called oven fries. What's curious is I can't seem to find any info on them on their website. I know they are also available in Roasted Garlic, Salt + Fresh Ground Pepper, Sea Salt, and Rosemary + Garlic, but I couldn't find them any trace of them online. I even asked their usually very helpful Twitter account to no avail.
Out of the oven they were not quite what I expected. Soft and hot, but only but a little bit crispy. I guess I could have cooked them a bit longer but that wasn't the real problem. These wedges were pretty much flavorless and needed seasoning bad. Once I gave them a bit of a kick with some Mrs. Dash, and dipped them in barbeque sauce they were much better.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Past attempts have not gone well. Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes it's an epic fail.
This time I tried a new tact. Armed with my new waffle maker purchased earlier in the year that has become my favorite way to make tater tots, I tried to use it for potato latkes.
Taking a mixture of grated potatoes, chopped onions, an egg or two, and a variety of spices, I dropped it on the waffle maker and went to town. Not too shabby, The Bride gave them and me a letter grade of B+. Happy Hanukkah.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
this morning, well, the man at dinner tonight, who split up our service team, and make a spectacle of himself in front of the entire restaurant was something else altogether. Apparently he was someone special, or thought he was someone special. The rest of his party certainly didn't agree and looked very embarrassed.
He had insisted on an oval or round table in a restaurant that only had square and rectangle
Well, he put on quite a show for a few minutes before the dust settles. His new seating being across the room, our service team was split, but it was okay. Dinner was very good, some beef, green beans (haricots verts for the fancy set), and garlic mashed potatoes. I also got a side order of those terrific steak fries. A great dinner, and a show.
Monday, December 22, 2014
She was mad about the sun in her yes so they reseated her, then she was mad about the water. Not the water in her water glass, mind you, the water she could see through the windows. It was moving. This bugged her.
Really?? You're on the TCM Classic Cruise, on board the frigging Disney Magic, in the middle of the Caribbean. Are you kidding me? You could be in Afghanistan, get some perspective, you old bag. Rant over. I just couldn't believe it.
I, on the other hand, was very happy. The ham was perfect. And the breakfast potatoes were also perfect, more white potatoes than red. I suppose I could have complained about that, but I'm not that old woman. I don't think she could ever be happy. Still no one beats the old man we experienced at dinner that night. I'll tell you about him tomorrow.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
To make things even more difficult, I wanted ham for breakfast and The Bride had an excursion at 8:45. Lumiere's, the place for ham, didn't open until 8:00, so we had our "Mission: Impossible" for the morning. We arrived at Luminere's just before they opened, and while waiting, struck up a conversation with a nice couple from southern Florida. So animated was the discussion, the waiters thought we were together and seated us thusly. No problem, new friends were welcome.
With our need for speed, I got right to the point when ordering - a couple pieces of ham and some breakfast potatoes - hoping I got the awesome roasted redskin potatoes and not those hideous McDonald's hash brown planks. The clock started ticking. Our new friends' breakfasts arrived, then The Bride's. I began to think that maybe simple was not the way to go.
Then at 8:24 my breakfast arrived, and wow, was it worth it. Several pieces of ham and a copious serving of breakfast potatoes... only I had just a few minutes to eat it. I happily wolfed down what I could, and what I did have was perfect. I think we will be coming back to Luminere's for breakfast the next day, with more time on our hands.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
From the British Chip Shop in Haddonfield NJ, for only two dollars, big chunks of potato, hot and delicious, breakfast potatoes.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
TCM Cruise 2014 brought us back to Carioca's.
For an appetizer I got something called Chicken Bastela. According to the menu, that's Moroccan Spiced shredded Chicken wrapped in Phyllo-dough and sprinkled with Powdered Sugar and Cinnamon, with a Vegetable Almond Slaw. These I liked quite a bit, yum.
For my entrée I got the Grilled Grain-fed NY Strip steak that came with Cheddar Cheese and Onion Smashed Baked Potato, Roasted Green Asparagus and a Red Wine Jus. Yeah, that's also from the menu verbatim. The steak was good, very delicious, once I got around the fat. This catastrophically picky eater was not digging the asparagus and tomato flavored mashed potatoes. So far, this has not been a terrific cruise food-wise. I'm digging the breakfasts at least.
Friday, December 05, 2014
The Physics of the Perfect French Fry, hosted by Dr. Scott Paulson, a French fry enthusiast and physics and astronomy professor from James Madison University, this event will take place Monday evening at 6 PM at National Mechanics in Philadelphia. He'll be talking about all the ins and outs of fries, as well as the actual science behind it.
More details can be found here, let me know if you go, what you've learned, and most of all - how were the fries!
Thanks to Dom, Brian, and Carol for all hipping me to this one. You guys rock!
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Today's Somebody Else's Fries come from Pete's Boiler Bites, a new addition on board the Disney Magic, during the TCM Cruise 2014. Mickey Mouse's arch-foe Pete served The Bride up a fish sandwich and some natural cut French fries for lunch on the third day of the cruise. You can tell they're The Bride's from the cheese. ;-)
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
The waitstaff kept trying to hand us wet wipes for after we used spoons and tongs like perpetual motion machines, but still.
The great self-service buffet ban was over!
The potatoes were awesome, and this morning I was able to get some bacon done the way I liked it - and more than two pieces(!). The mood on this morning was considerably better. And not just for me, for everyone at Cabanas.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
These steak frites are from the Lucky Bones Backwater Grille in Cape May over the Thanksgiving weekend. This might have been my GAR! Podcast partner Ray's Thanksgiving dinner, but they saved this for Saturday night. Some folks are living the life, eh?
Monday, December 01, 2014
some really cool pics from my friend Robin Renee of her Homemade Vegan Sweet Potato Pies. A conversation via text later indicated that Robin didn't think they were technically sweet potatoes, but yams instead. This got me thinking about what the real difference between sweet potatoes and yams actually was… and therein I discovered quite the conspiracy.
It would seem that what we think of in America as yams are really just sweet potatoes, just another variety of them. We've been calling them the wrong name for years. It's just like those French taking credit for fries from the Belgians, we've been giving yummy sweet potatoes the name yams when they are not yams at all. You can read about what's really what in the world of yams and sweet potatoes here.
And while we're sort of on the subject of Robin Renee and the holidays, you might want to check out these two YouTube videos, "Hare Krishna Christmas" and "The Yule Song." Enjoy!
Friday, November 28, 2014
Homemade Vegan Sweet Potato Pies, a special pair of random holiday tater pics from my good friend and French Fry Diary contributor Robin Renee. Mmmmm...
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
If you're still wondering what you'll be making tomorrow for Thanksgiving beyond the turkey and the cranberry sauce, I might have something for you.
Click here for thirty-five amazing mashed potatoes recipes from the nice folks at The Cooking Channel. Enjoy!
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
TCM Classic Cruise on board the Disney Magic), both The Bride and I had the munchies, so we figured what better time to get room service, especially with the new limited hours of the restaurants and the no-go anti-self-service policy Disney had initiated on the cruise so far. If we wanted food or drinks, it was room service or we were out of luck.
I was hoping for steak fries but got natural cuts. That's okay, they were soft, hot, and good. While I had my usual room service fare of a hot dog, The Bride got her macaroni and cheese. The food came quickly, even by Disney Cruise standards, along with a fancy variety of condiments. We were pleased with out late night treat.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Parrot Cay, always one of my favorite restaurants on board with Carioca's. It has roughly the same flavor, only now with an animated mascot.
By name, Jose Carioca was one of the original Three Caballeros, with Donald Duck and Panchito, from the film of the same name, Saludos Amigos, and other features and shorts. Jose is unfortunately one of those characters forgotten to the mists of time, but thankfully, and hopefully on his way to a comeback. I'll miss Parrot Cay, but still this isn't bad.
There has been really only slight remodeling and repainting. They have added lots of Chinese lanterns a la Tangled hanging from the ceiling, but really not much else. The restaurant still a tropical flavor, all it's really had is a name change,
On the surface however, one thing that hasn't changed much is the menu. This may as well have been Parrot Cay. I got the Roasted Honey BBQ Chicken Breast, and it was very good, and the sauce was also very good. If there was any crushed sweet potato, as advertized, on the plate, I couldn't find it, or rather, taste it. I probably should have gotten a side order of fries like I did the previous night if I wanted to appease my tater jones.
Friday, November 21, 2014
This four foot tall Mr. Potato Head is in the Toy Story section of Disney's Oceaneer Club, the Disney Magic day care center. It also houses the non-potato-related Avengers Academy. But back on topic, just think how many French fries you could make out of this guy!
Thursday, November 20, 2014
an earlier post, you may no longer serve yourself. *
If say, a huge percentage of the reason you choose Cabanas is for the breakfast potatoes, you can only get a small serving of them. And if you ask nicely for more please, they will give you a proper non-verbal shaming before finally, after an appropriate pause, giving you another small serving.
The same goes for the wonderful breakfast potatoes on board. These are great chunked broiled, spiced, and marinated small red potatoes that are a number one reason to go to Cabanas for breakfast. Suppose you want them soft one day and crispy the next, the server will just plop a small spoonful on your plate willy-nilly, crispy or soft. The image you see is three servings by the way.
What I did get was very good, but you should never have to leave an all-you-can-eat buffet hungry, right? I did. And don't even get me started on asking for those tiny paper cartons of milk, especially if you want one for cereal and one or two to drink. Talk about a server stink-face! Perhaps it's not just health reasons, maybe Disney is running out of food…
* The situation did resolve itself, check here.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
TCM Classic Cruise, so many of the Disney aspects have been toned down. Such was the case with our first dinner of the cruise at Animator's Palate. We still got a bit of a show, animations on the walls, but nothing so spectacular as the Crush interactive show, or the animation show on the bigger boats, or the regular AP show on the Magic either. I'm not complaining, just saying.
here and here) I have ordered the same dish and each time it has not turned out to be what I wanted or liked. Sometimes I have liked it, and some times… well… However, enough time passes between cruises that I forget that I don't like that. Such is the case with the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup with Bacon Bits and Chives.
It's a trap, to quote Admiral Ackbar. It always looks good, and I always order it. And I usually am not so thrilled with it. This time, it was not good. It's a good thing I ordered a side of fries with dinner. Along with those great baked steak fries the Disney Cruise is famous for, I got the Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin, with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes with Bok Choy and a Tamarind-Barbecue Reduction. The entrée was just terrific, with the potatoes having just enough heat.
Dinner was very good, except for the soup. We made new friends with our table mates and had a pleasant time. I just have to remember no soup when we return to the Disney Cruise next year.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
TCM Classic Cruise on board the Disney Magic. It was my fiftieth birthday gift from The Bride.
After you board, you have time on your hands as your rooms take some time to get ready, and sometimes your luggage takes some time to arrive as well. The Disney Cruise lets you make the most of your wait time by opening their huge buffet up on the top deck, Cabanas. It's like a Florida tourism feeding frenzy.
First things first, buffets on the Disney Cruise work different than traditional buffets. They are station based as opposed to line based. If you want French fries, you go right to the French fries as opposed to waiting in a single line until you get to the French fries. Also, new on this trip, due to supposed health reasons, they have servers who get the food for you. You can't do it yourself any more. Not so happy about that, and I'll talk about it in another post. I get it, but it is what it is.
The fries were very good, but you can see how folks are being shamed into smaller portions by the powers that be. Happy, but not happy, if you know what I mean.
Monday, November 17, 2014
South Jersey Writers' Group member Jessica Walsh. What day do potatoes fear the most? Friday. Ba dum dum.
Jessica is the co-editor, along with Amy Holiday, of the new SJWG speculative fiction anthology Reading Glasses, and she also found us this great place for the aftermeetings of the SJWG - Dominic's Tavern.
What I usually get are these terrific big chicken tenders with a spicy kick. They're called jumbo tenders and they kinda remind me of the Cap'n Crunch Chicken that Planet Hollywood used to have back in the day. And the tenders come with large natural cut regular cut French fries on the side. They are a bit greasy but crisp on the outside, and hot and soft on the inside, the way a good fry should be.
Krista Magrowski, Amy Holiday, Mieke Zamora-Mackay, Janice Wilson, Karen Harbin, Mark Doenges, and others have had a great time at Dominic's in our aftermeetings, recommended. And (shameless plug) don't forget to click on their names to see the terrific work of these great local writers. Good food, good conversation, good friends, good times.
Friday, November 14, 2014
As usual I opted for the Barbecue Flavored variety of Wholesome Goodness Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips. They have no transfats, no MSG, no cholesterol, and even though they are cooked in vegetable oil (containing one or more of the following: canola, corn, or sunflower). They are also kosher, all natural, and have no preservatives.
True to their word however the hardest ingredients to pronounce are paprika and torula yeast. They seem to have a problem with many ingredients, and are quite proud to go so far as to ban one hundred and twenty-six ingredients used by other companies.
Upon opening the bag I was struck by a wonderful smokey barbecue aroma. The taste of the chips themselves did not disappoint either. The barbecue flavor is subtle and understated, it's nice with no burn. They have the twisted shapes promised by kettle cooking that is so perfect for dipping. These chips were really good.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Here's another courtesy of friend and sometime contributor Robin Renee. Wow, those lucky Stockton State College students!
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Much like chocolate, or the more illegal addictive substances, French fries have a particular effect on the human body.
And no, Health Nazis, I'm not talking about obesity or transfats.
Apparently, French fries can get you high.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I had the opportunity to go to T.G.I. Fridays this past weekend, and noticed a change in their fries. Whether it's a permanent change or perhaps they ran out that day, they had regular cuts rather than their usual natural cuts. Either way, they were still quite good dipped in that wonderful Jack Daniels sauce.
Monday, November 10, 2014
This lovely plate of fish and chips comes from the Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Orlando, courtesy of FFD friend and contributor Sarah Hawkins-Miduski. You can read the full blog entry here.
Thursday, November 06, 2014
Herr's Baby Back Rib Potato Chips, or pig chips as I like to call them, before. So when I saw these - Utz Wavy Baby Back Ribs flavored crisp all natural Potato Chips (another contender for longest chip name ever), I just had to get them.
I can only really compare them to the Herr's version. These chips are thinner, and their ridges are ever so slightly smaller. The thinness, usually a Lay's trait, makes them a little less functional as dipping chips.
I have to say the flavor isn't as strong as Herr's, but I think that's a good thing. The baby back ribs seasoning flavor is still there, just very subtle. I like it. So much so that if I have a choice between pig chips - Herr's or Utz, I think I'm going for the Utz.
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
This article indicates that potatoes, especially sweet potatoes, are pretty fierce disease fighters. Check it out here.
Thanks to friend Lisa on the Facebook for hipping me to this.
Monday, November 03, 2014
We've talked about Smith's Potato Crisps here before, but this isn't first opportunity to actually try one of their products. The bags are tiny, about the size you get cookies in at Wawa, holding 24 grams, which is roughly .8 ounces - not a lot. Airlines feed you better. The ingredients indicate bacon flavoring as opposed to bacon, and the packaging advises they be eaten immediately after opening, and that they're 'ideal with all types of drinks.' Well, color me intrigued.
again) said they tasted very artificial, but with a good crispy bacon taste. I didn't think they were that bad. I ate more than a few.
I can definitely say I get the crispy (extra crispy) vibe in the aftertaste. And the aftertaste is the problem. They kinda have that same thing going on that a lot of the 'meat chips' have, plus a little bit of the whole processed potato (although notably there's no potato here) taste in there as well. Good in small amounts.
Friday, October 31, 2014
This one comes from friend, musician, and writer Robin Renee (check out her new website and let her know what you think!) just in time for Halloween.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
If you go to Red Robin tomorrow for Halloween until 5 PM you'll be able to get $3 off your lunch if you upgrade to their New Garlic Herbed Fries. Restrictions apply, and at participating restaurants only.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
afterparties over at Biff Bam Pop!, ones that go horribly horribly wrong. This entry here is about one much less sinister, or depending on your health outlook, maybe just as bad. We are talking about French fries, after all.
The South Jersey Writers' Group has their official meeting once a month and afterward some of the members get together for an afterparty of sorts at a nearby bar or restaurant, more for pleasure than business, just to talk shop casually, or not. It's just fun, and we also wanted to celebrate a little, friend and Biff Bam Pop! colleague Marie Gilbert had just released her book, Roof Oasis. We had exhausted our welcome and our tolerance of the nearby Applebee's, and Rexy's Bar stopped serving food after a certain time, so we had been looking for somewhere new, and someone suggested the Phily Diner.
The Phily Diner is a cross between a loud sports bar and a typical Jersey diner, and no matter where you look, it's as if neon exploded in there. Sports bar and neon aside, there are still a few of those creepy life-size chef statues around the place to prove it's still a tacky Jersey diner. And remember those fresh off the mimeograph papers we had waaay back in grade school? We even had a couple menus like that.
The place was surprisingly crowded and loud for a Thursday night. But that being said, we had also retreated from Applebee's because it too was too noisy. One can only surmise that Thursday is party night in Bellmawr and Runnemede. Perhaps because of the crowd and the noise, the service was painfully slow. And when I say slow, I mean sloooooow.
Everyone wanted to help me write the review so potato products were gotten by almost all. Amy Holiday wanted to compare the Phily's Chesapeake fries to the Pop Shop's Louisiana fries. I didn't think there'd be any comparison, as the Pop Shop is the best. They were heavily seasoned waffle fries with white cheddar cheese on the side. A little greasy but very good hot and Amy said they were better with the cheese.
Janice Wilson got the potato skins, very tasty looking half-potatoes well cooked with generous bacon and orange cheddar cheese. They looked really good, but how could they not be, because bacon. Mieke Zamora-Mackay got the chip burger, a burger with, you got it, potato chips on it. She liked it, and it had some chili, sour cream, green onions, and of course potato chips on it. Authors Jennifer M. Eaton, Krista Magrowski, and Jim Knipp might have also gotten potato-ey goodness too, but they were down the other end of the table.
I just got the fries, and as everyone else's food arrived I began to see that everything was waffle fries. I was kinda disappointed as I was looking forward to the steak fries I had seen on the website, but was resigned to the cross-cross potato variety. Imagine my surprise when a plate full of regular cuts arrived in front of me. These were deep fried frozen fries with a wonderful crisp skin and hot soft inside. The chocolate shake I also got was thick and good.
While the food was very good, and the company was excellent, the customer service was not, and the wait was horrendous. It might be better at a different time, but for now, not a good time and we probably won't be returning. Don't forget to pick up Marie's book Roof Oasis and the new SJWG anthology Reading Glasses.