Friday, October 30, 2015

Random Tater Pic of the Day #225

Always a highlight of the Disney Cruise, the breakfast potatoes, made with red potatoes, red and green peppers, and onions. Awesome, always the best.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Random Tater Pic of the Day #224

As a ten-time cruiser on the Disney Cruise Line, I know when and where to get the 'good fries' on board. To this end I have learned where and when to order fries with dinner. Animator's Palate, first night, you are sure to get hot awesome steak fries like these.

Notably on the Disney Magic in mid-October 2015, this was the best Animator's Palate show and meal I'd had in some time. Thumbs up, and props to our servers Brendon from South Africa and Andrene from Jamaica. Great fries, great everything!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

French Fry Diary 679: Hamburgers in Sausalito

Guest post by my big sister, Bobbie, one of the coolest ladies I know.

So on our recent trip to San Francisco we were on a tour that stopped in Sausalito. We were hungry and had about forty minutes before the ferry would take us across the Bay and back to Fisherman's Wharf. We saw a restaurant across from the ferry called Hamburgers and decided to give it a try.

The restaurant was about ten feet wide and thirty feet long. There were no tables everything was to go. As you entered there was a round iron grill going in round like a turntable and the chef was putting burgers (and chicken) on the grill as it spun. We ordered our burgers and of course fries. Then went outside until our number was called.

The burgers were juicy and spiced and the best I've had in a long time. But the fries were fantastic. They were crinkle cut, deep fried and then tossed in a bowl with salt and spice. The outside crispiness reminded me of those Potato Sticks that come in a can, but inside was soft potato goodness. I thought of my poor brother who was missing this wonderful treat and snapped pictures of the meal and restaurant.

And if you are a vegetarian their second restaurant in Sausalito is called Veggie Burger.

Thank you, Bobbie, you rock!

Monday, October 12, 2015

French Fry Diary 678: Smashburger 2015

I must confess I have not been impressed with Smashburger the last few times I'd been there, and although several have opened in my area recently, I have not really checked them out.

As our usual Sunday night take out dinner has been disrupted by Casa Carollo's becoming the much inferior Marlton 73, so we're taking suggestions and shopping around. Smashburger just opened up within throwing distance right around the corner, so it was in the running. Since we could order online and pick it up, we gave it a shot.

What a surprise! First the order was perfect and on time. We'd always eaten in so I've never seen their packaging. The fries and haystack onions came in cup-like holders that actually stand up on a flat surface, something most fry containers can't do, so props for that. Now the shake and burger were terrific, and I of course sandwiched the onions and fries. Mmmm... good stuff.

Now I have to mention the Smashfries were different. Rather than the usual frozen shoestrings, these were natural cuts smaller than shoestrings but not quite as thin as matchsticks. Quite good. Recommended, will definitely be going back more. Looks like I got my wish.

Friday, October 09, 2015

French Fry Diary 677: Carolina Blue Smokehouse and Taproom

Way off the beaten path, or at least my beaten path, is the Carolina Blue Smokehouse and Taproom, all the way in Pitman NJ. I went there for a surprise birthday party for good friend, author, and current president of the South Jersey Writers' Group, Amy Holiday, so it was worth it.

Despite the outside appearance of the restaurant as a barbeque place, the food's appearance has more of a very simple Californian cuisine vibe. I got my usual, a cute little burger that was delicious, moist, and incredibly filling. I felt so stuffed after this little morsel. As a side, and also as an appetizer for the whole table, were house cut chips. Very much like the crispy thin slices in an order of fried breakfast potatoes, these were chips with just the right crisp, very good. The appetizer came with melted blue cheese crumbles that everyone loved.

While I didn't have (I know, blasphemy) the regular fries, I did get a chance to try the sweet potato fries, stylized on their menu as "SWEET! Potato Fries," dusted with a cinnamon sugar and served with vanilla cheesecake dip. These were to die for, even cold. These quite possibly some of the best sweet potato fries I've had, and I'm really not all that fond of them.

All in all, it was a great night out with friends, good friends and good discussion, and Amy was surprised, so it was all good. Thumbs up for the Carolina Blue Smokehouse and Taproom.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

French Fry Diary 676: Cool Dog Cafe 2015

Friends came in for lunch from out of town, and looking for a great local place to eat, we of course thought of the Cool Dog Café, a favorite of friends and family. We hadn't been there in a while, but checking their website, I saw that one of the specials was the Cheese Fries Burger, I had to try it. I was happy to see they were doing a brisk business. Ira and the folks there are always nice, and customer service is the best.

The Bride got the Stuffed Tater Dog, with tater tots, bacon, sour cream, and scallions, which she really enjoyed, and why not, it had tater tots! Believe it or not, the dog had a real stuffed baked potato vibe. And we of course split an order of Cool Dog's famous fresh cut fries.

I got the burger of the week, which was the aforementioned Cheese Fries Burger. I have always loved Cool Dog's hand-formed Angus beef burgers, so this one with shoestring fries, bacon, and cheese sauce sounded good. I wasn't really in the mood for cheese so I got it sans cheese. Special orders are never a problem.

The burger had a nice thick roll, and the burger was great as always. The art of sandwiching is one I've talked about here before, and these guys do it right, and how can you go wrong with adding bacon?

The shoestrings were nice but I think I would have rather had yummy regular Cool Dog fries, and as a matter of fact, on my next visit to Cool Dog I did just that, sandwiched with those, awesome. Try it, you'll love it. As always, a great time at the Cool Dog Café, thumbs up.

Monday, October 05, 2015

French Fry Diary 675: The Pop Shop, Medford NJ

Divorce is a terrible thing, truly it's a tragedy, but sometimes, just sometimes, something good can come out of it. For the foodies of South Jersey, divorce in the family of one of my favorite restaurants - The Pop Shop - has resulted in two Pop Shops. This was my first visit to the new one in Medford. The building used to be an old bank, but the Pop Shop has really revamped it, but there's still a giant safe in the middle of the restaurant. Kinda cool, kinda kitschy, I like it.

The Bride and a friend visiting from out of town, Lisa, decided to go there for dinner on a recent weeknight. I was excited, as it had been almost four years since I had dinner or lunch there. Usually when we go to the Pop Shop, the agenda is breakfast, not that I mind breakfast (it's really great there, and served all day), but I prefer their lunch/dinner.

I like the new venue in Medford, an older two-story building that seems very open and welcoming. There's even an elevator and ramp for handicapped folks. I also liked the new Pop Shop shirts the employees were wearing that said either "fries with that shake?" or "got 08055?" Guess which one I liked best?

As I hadn't had it in a while, and it's what I wanted, I got the burger and fries. I was surprised by the small differences when my order arrived. I'm not sure if they're because of the time lapsed since last I visited or the different venue, but it was different. First off, the burger was big, juicy, and perfect, but not on a sesame seed bun as expected. No worries, it still rocked, and thankfully it made up for the fries.

More changes came with the fries. Rather than natural cut regular cuts, these Pop Fries were natural cut shoestrings. Ordinarily I would say that's a level up, as natural cut shoestrings are a rarity and hold a crisp very well, but that was not the case here at all. These fries were a little underdone and soggy, not good. Our friend Lisa had ordered the Parmesan Garlic Fries, simple and quite tasty, but they were done and crispy, nearly perfect. Based on the fries I saw on nearby tables, mine were sadly the exception - the other fries looked awesome.

For dessert (as always, with so much food, it's rare we order dessert at the Pop Shop) The Bride and I went decadent and split a Shakin' Bacon - a breakfast milkshake in a Mason jar with vanilla ice cream, pancake syrup, and crispy bacon. Pretty tasty, but it was a little weird having bits of bacon come up through the straw - still very good.

The power mysteriously flickered off and on a few times, but all in all it was a fun night out with friends. I look forward to visiting again to verify my faith in the Pop Fries. Highly recommended.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Random Tater Pic of the Day #223

Hey, it's the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, as a Mr. Potato Head, complete with fez and sonic screwdriver. Yeah, it's Doctor Who, for those not versed in the mythos, you can find out more here, and follow my reviews of the newest series on Biff Bam Pop! right here. And don't forget to have some fries while you watch and read...