Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Gordon Ramsay's Fish Fingers and Chip Butty

From "Gordon's Ultimate Home Cooking" on YouTube, here Chef Gordon Ramsay gives us a quick lesson in a British classic - Homemade Fish Fingers with a Chip Butty. Fish fingers, obviously are what we might call fishsticks, although much bigger and seasoned here a little differently, more like tenders, or fingers, because of their size. The chip butty is actually a bit of a French fry sandwich, and it just doesn't get much better than that, does it?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #286

Today's Somebody Else's Fries comes from dear friend and frequent FFD contributor Robin Renee. Crinkle cut French fries with garlic powder, cayenne, and truffle salt (plus a tomato and peppers from the garden and volunteer dandelion greens).

Monday, September 18, 2017

McDonald's Bacon Potato Pie

There's been a lot of talk recently about whether or not McDonald's really has a secret menu, officially or unofficially, but here's something that we can't get here in America, secret menu or not - the Bacon Potato Pie. Only available in Japan, this is bacon and mashed potatoes inside a deep fried baked pie covering. Not sure if that would be good or not, worth a trip to Japan? Maybe, maybe not... what do you folks think?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

French Fry Diary 780: BurgerFi Appetizer

BurgerFi is one of those places I have been meaning to go to for quite some time. When I saw one nearby on a business roadtrip with The Bride, I had to stop in, while she did other important stuff.

The first thing that struck me about BurgerFi was the prices.  This place doesn't play, it's expensive, or at least more expensive than other comparable places. Any size single order of fries or onion rings border on around five bucks.  I was startled, only happening upon the place by chance and just wanting a snack.  This was an expensive snack.  I settled for the Cry + Fry, being a combo of fries and rings... at $5.47. 

I had been meaning to go to a BurgerFi for some time since one opened in the Philadelphia Convention Center but that never happened while I lived in New Jersey.  I was happy to find one here in Florida.  It was nice with an open-air patio, Coke Freestyle machines, and a pager to take to your table so they can bring your order out.  They also had Mexican Coke in bottles and Boylan Sodas as well. I thought the latter was a bit odd as it's a Pepsi product.

The Cry + Fry was almost exactly as advertised in the pictures in store and online - three gigantic onion rings atop an order of natural cut fries.  They came out fairly quickly and we're very hot, so probably cooked to order.  All things considered, the portion size was very generous so perhaps I shouldn't have bitched so loudly about price. 

The fries were on par with, if not better than, Five Guys, and yeah, that impressed me too.  They were more than a little addictive as I ate more than I intended without realizing it.  The rings were crunchy and juicy and battered with an orange color.  I was expecting a spicy kick based on the color but it wasn't there. 

Both the fries and rings were very good, thumbs up, I'll have come back when I'm hungry for a burger.  Until then, BurgerFi is highly recommended. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #285

I love when two things I love come together, as with this cartoon sent to me anonymously of the Legion of Super-Potatoes.

For those who know me, I'm a semi-regular writer over at the Legion of Super-Bloggers, dedicated to Legion of Super-Heroes fandom.  Links to some of my Legion reviews and articles can be found here, check them out.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

French Fry Diary 749: Bobby's Burger Palace 2017

We recently flew up to North Jersey for the wedding of a friend, and with time on our hands, and empty stomachs from the flight, we went in search of a quick snack. The intent was to find some place that we had not been before so I could write about it, and also some place not readily available in our new home in Florida, for much the same reason.

Our search was becoming fruitless (and fryless) between the time restraint getting tighter and not finding anything in the Bergen NJ area, when suddenly we came upon a strip mall with a Bobby's Burger Palace in it. It was getting late, and I had always intended to give the place a second chance and also try the onion rings, so we figured why not?

We wanted just a snack so The Bride ordered the bacon cheese fries with scallions, and I got the buttermilk onion rings. We also got shakes. They were thick and good and small, but while there were some very interesting flavors, we noticed there wasn't a chocolate or vanilla on the menu, so I got a black and white. They were small, but expensive, and had real whipped cream that really could have used a bit more whipping, but there you go.

I should note that the seating did not improve at this other location. Be forewarned, the booths are small and the counter seats are tight. Whether it's Cherry Hill or the Bergen, Bobby Flay does not like bigger folk, which based on the menu suggests there are not many return customers. I guess a lot of people must 'outgrow' this place.

Based on our order the girl at counter asked if we were getting any food. Even if that wasn't rude, it did not instill confidence in our sides for snacks since they weren't food. You can see into the kitchen through the pick-up window, it should be noted, and I could see our 'food' there for quite some time. When it was finally brought to us, we got a tutorial on sauces while our food got even colder. Not cool.

My order of onion rings was big, in a misshapen paper cone containing five rings total, but they were huuuge (as the big dumb Ooompa Loompa might say), big and thick, with a bit of a spicy kick to the batter. They had a big onion taste and were very good, but I wish they had been hotter - and they probably were, just not when they were in front of me.

The Bride's fries were just as warm, natural cut fries with bacon, cheese, and an awful lot of scallions - probably more scallions than bacon or cheese.  Maybe they should have been called scallion bacon cheese fries?  

This was not a bad snack, but it could have been so much better. I might try Bobby's Burger Palace again, but they should keep in mind, three strikes and that's an out.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #284

A shelf in a store in the path of Hurricane Harvey. What does this really say about how people feel about Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips?

Image sent from reader, but originally from Tyme Powell on Twitter.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #283

 From the June 2017 Disney Cruise on board the Dream, these are bacon roasted potatoes, with chicken schnitzel, and buttered green beans, from dinner at the Enchanted Garden.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

French Fry Diary 748: Cabanas, Disney Dream, June 2017

On the last day of our June 2017 Disney Cruise on the Dream I hit Cabanas for lunch. While it's not always my first choice, we were close and both The Bride and I were hungry. Cabanas, as you can see from this search of the blog, is primarily the best place for breakfast, and not necessarily for lunch… but I was in for a shocking surprise.

Expecting of the favorite fried food the usual fare of Disney natural cuts, as by the last day they are usually out of steak fries, I came upon a glorious oasis in the buffet line… perfect British chips, or perfect French fries, depending on your perception. These were ¾ inch thickness square, and three to four inches long. They had been under a heat lamp for a bit, but still hot and soft like baked potato inside, and crispy on the outside.

These French fries were perfect. I loved them. So if you're on the Disney Cruise, and on the top deck buffet, keep your eyes open, they were fantastic.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #282

This is Cabanas lunch from our June 2017 Disney Cruise on board the Dream. These steak fries were labeled as "steak frites," but were decidedly not that at all, still very very yummy though.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #281

Cabanas roasted red potatoes again, this time from day four of our June 2017 Disney Cruise, this time with red and green peppers added in. Mmmm... breakfast potatoes...

Friday, August 04, 2017

French Fry Diary 747: Borgata Breakfast Potatoes

Here's the first thing you need to know about the Borgata and room service. There are two hotels here in Atlantic City that most folks think are all the Borgata, and they are not the same. The Borgata is not the Water Club, and the Water Club is not the Borgata. Water Club has great breakfast potatoes, and the Borgata has crap. C-R-A-P. Crap.

This review is about the breakfast potatoes we got via room service at the Borgata, and the only reason we ordered them was because how fantastic they were at Water Club, but again, not the same place. We ordered bacon and potatoes, and what we got was two pieces of rawhide, crunchy dog chew toys, that they called 'bacon,' and this square thing they called potatoes.

This brownie-sized monstrosity was a big old square of shredded potatoes, nothing at all like what we got at Water Club. It was well done on the bottom, and on the top, but tasted rather processed and wet in between. Buttery, noodley, more like kugel than breakfast potatoes, and sadly disappointing. What a terrible breakfast. We went to McDonald's later if that tells you anything.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #280

This is from dinner at the Royal Palace on board the Disney Dream on our June 2017 cruise. Chateaubriand Roasted Filet Steak, with crushed new potatoes with shallots, buttered green beans, and red wine jus. Sooo good and delicious. Sometimes the French do know their potatoes...

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

French Fry Diary 746: Charlie's Family Restaurant

Once settling into Lakeland FL, I of course started scoping out places with good fries.  One place that had been mentioned was Charlie's Family Restaurant on Lakeland Hills Blvd.  My first attempt to try them was foiled by their hours - they close at two PM on weekdays.  They are open later on Fridays however for their famous all-you-can eat fish fry. 

Charlie's is a small place but with a remarkable amount of tables.  Needless to say, they were quite busy the Thursday I came by.  I loved the friendly atmosphere and how everyone seemed to know everyone.  I had had a late breakfast so I got right down to business and just ordered the fries. 

The fries were pretty standard regular cuts, frozen the deep fried, but they tasted great and came in a rather large portion, just $2.25.  They were as perfect as this type of fry could be - the right combination of hot and crisp, and not at all greasy.  This was a great call.  I can't wait to come back for a proper meal.  Recommended. 

I returned with The Bride a couple weeks later for breakfast on a Saturday. The place was packed, but the friendly atmosphere was intact. She got an omelet and the hash browns, which were perfectly browned shredded potatoes. I got home fries, which one might think are the same thing, but not at all. These were various-sized chunks of potato (skin-on baked potatoes chopped up), very spicy and very good with onions mixed in. Good and homemade.

Both visits were like taking a step back to the seventies and that's a good thing. Charlie's Restaurant is recommended.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #279

Cabanas breakfast on day three of our June 2017 Disney Cruise. On this morning, shredded and carmelized onions were added to the mix, tasty.

Friday, July 28, 2017

French Fry Diary 745: Mix and Match

At the recent journey to Whataburger, it was brought up in conversation that sometimes folks, in areas where fast food restaurants are prevalent, folks will mix and match foods from different places to create sort-of-patchwork meals by hitting multiple drive-thrus. 

Now back when we were dating, The Bride and I would sometimes mix Burger King and Taco Bell, mostly because at the time I liked Burger King and didn't like Taco Bell.  We'd go through the Burger King drive-thru for my meal then we'd eat it at the Taco Bell where she got hers.  That's not what we're talking about though, that's just two different meals at one place. 

I'm talking about when you want a Whopper but don't want BK's crappy new fries, so you go to McDonald's for their perfect golden fries.  Then you like to dip them in a Frosty, something you can't do any longer with Wendy's crappy new fries.  One meal, created from three drive-thru stops. 

I'm sure there are many other combinations.  Like for instance, wouldn't Chick-fil-A's waffle fries be awesome sandwiched in a burger?  Or does a Frosty have better dippibilty for burgers than Burger King shakes?  And does the fact Roy Rogers BBQ sauce would go well with anything count? 

What are your favorite mixes and matches?  Let us know! 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #278

In my last entry here I talked about how bad cruise fries can be sometimes, but they (potato products) can also be fabulous as well. Here's the soft potato gnocchi appetizer from Palo on board the Disney Dream from our June 2017 cruise. Very tasty. Palo remains the place to beat on board. They even brought me fries last time. Palo just rocks.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #277

Lunch on the first full day of our June 2017 Disney Cruise on the Dream, these are the standard Disney natural cuts from Cabanas.  You can see how tasty they were by how many I actually got.  Not many were eaten afterward either. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

French Fry Diary 744: Boulder Canyon Barbecue Potato Chips

Now I have reviewed Boulder Canyon potato chips here before, about five years back, and they looked quite different.  The packaging referred to natural rather than authentic and didn't make so much of the oil, as opposed to this current packaging which has 'Coconut Oil' taking up nearly a quarter of the bag front. 

These chips are again in the tradition of long-named potato snacks, properly titled Boulder Canyon Coconut Oil Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, Mesquite Barbecue Flavor - wow, that's a mouthful.  Hopefully it will be a good mouthful once I open the interesting new bag.

Previously Boulder Canyon made much of their healthy ingredients.  Their saying on the front, 'Live Better. Eat Boulder.' kinda still puts across the point in a clever way, and the chips are still gluten free, kosher, vegan, low sodium, with no GMO, MSG, transfats, or cholesterol, and are cooked in 100% coconut oil.  The problem with the chips I tried before was a lack of both salt and taste.  Hopefully now, especially with BBQ flavor, these'll be better. 

There's a nice mesquite aroma when the bag is opened, that's about where it ends.  The flavor is only okay with a sweetness so particular I had to check the ingredients for sugar. The chips are still a bit bland once you get past the BBQ. Disappointing.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #276

This one comes from friend Deb who saw these fries at the restaurant at Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. Thanks, Deb!

Friday, July 21, 2017

French Fry Diary 743: Wendy's Breakfast

Recently before getting on a plane to back to New Jersey (North Jersey, and those who know know that it matters) for a wedding, The Bride and I had some time, and the hungries for breakfast.  I carted our bags to the gate while The Bride searched for breakfast.  I was quite surprised when she joined me a bit later with a Wendy's bag. 

Honestly I was unaware that Wendy's did breakfast, but after a moment's thought, yeah, of course they did.  It had just never occurred to me to actually go there for breakfast.  And here at the busy Orlando International Airport, I suppose they must do a brisk breakfast business.  Notably breakfast is not listed on many of their websites.  They need to get the word out.

The Bride got an Artisan Egg Sandwich sans egg, essentially a grilled cheese with bacon, which she thought was just okay.  For me she got a biscuit, also just okay, nowhere near Bojangles or even KFC in quality.  The Bride also got breakfast potatoes, which were at the bottom of the bag.  I was both happy and wary. 

I was happy because, duh, I love the favorite fried food, and wary because many fast food breakfast potatoes are notoriously terrible, as is the case at Burger King, Chick-fil-A, and Roy Rogers.  I opened the bag and was pleasantly surprised.

At first glance, Wendy's Seasoned Homestyle Potatoes look similar to Roy's Home Taters.  Flat potato wedges, sometimes halved, and covered with a seasoned light batter, these were so much better that Roy's bland fare.  These were quite tasty and I wanted more when these were finished.  Definitely a thumbs up.  I'm going to have try more Wendy's Breakfast based on this experience. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #275

From Cabanas on the first morning of our June 2017 Disney Cruise, those fabulous roasted red breakfast potatoes, that morning with green peppers and onions.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Poll Reminder

For those of you who are unaware, to the left of this post, and all ongoing current posts is a special poll it might be fun to participate in.

The question of the moment regards Favorite Fast Food French Fries, specifically when you are on the road, and you get that craving for French fries, which drive-thru (or if necessary, go inside) is your destination?

Will you hit the first McDonald's you see, or will you go the extra mile for Chick-fil-A, or even do a bit of searching around for that elusive KFC or Checkers? What's your go-to Fast food stop for fries?

You can choose multiple choices if you want, but please vote, and let's see who comes out on top.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

French Fry Diary 742: Blue Apron

Now we had talked about Blue Apron before on The GAR! Podcast right here. My podcast partner Ray Cornwall had joined Blue Apron and gotten The Bride and me three free meals. As might be expected as I'm writing about it here, there were potatoes involved.

One of the dinners, the one we chose to make the first night, was Chile Butter Steaks with Parmesan Potatoes & Spinach. As a last-minute substitution, which happens sometimes to assure all the food is fresh, we got bok choy instead of spinach, and I was fiiine with that. Not a spinach fan, sorry, Popeye. As I mentioned, everything comes fresh, and everything you need -except the effort- comes in a box directly to your front door. To make the quartered potato chunks with Parmesan, in the box came three Yukon Gold potatoes, labeled and ready for action.

The potatoes get chunked, cut in half and then across into half-inch pieces, tossed in olive oil, notably not included, then put in the oven for about twenty minutes. Just before they were done, the instructions said to drizzle the Parmesan cheese over them then let them cook a few more minutes.

In the end, the steaks were good, the chile butter a little hot (and we didn't even use more than a third of the chile paste), the bok choy looked awful but tasted good, and the taters were pretty good too. I would have made some adjustments if we do this again. Not as much oil in the pan to cook the steaks, and I think I would have used some butter on the potatoes… but that's me.

We had a great meal, and decided to give Blue Apron another week. We'll see what happens, hey, maybe there'll be more potatoes…

Friday, July 14, 2017

French Fry Diary 741: Lay's Wavy Hickory BBQ Potato Chips

This one was written a while ago, but the chips still rock, so there you go...

I had picked these chips up for this year's Super Bowl, not realizing I hadn't written about them before.  Our Super Bowl celebration this year, our first in Florida, was just the two of us, and late in the evening.  Yes, it was quite a game, even though we watched most of it in fast forward, only hitting play for the mostly mediocre commercials, and of course the truly stunning and amazing halftime show. Lady Gaga definitely won this year's Super Bowl

Speaking of bowls, I got the Lay's Wavy Hickory BBQ Flavored Potato Chips mainly because the Lay's Wavy are thick and perfectly ruffled for dipping.  The dip in question was slightly melted vanilla ice cream, 'cause that's just how I roll. 

Unlike other Lay's BBQ chips, the Hickory flavor isn't overseasoned, doesn't burn, or have a hot after taste.  These are sweet and tangy to which the ice cream gives an excellent contrast.  Now that I have written about them, I'll remember how much I like them and get them again.  These are darned good BBQ chips. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

French Fry Diary 740: Swiss Chalet

The Bride and I went up to Toronto this past winter to visit my friend Andy for his birthday party. I didn't get to really try that many fries up there, managed to dodge the dreaded poutine, and remembered the hard way what winter is really all about after several months in Florida. It's damned cold up there, and forget Florida, it makes New Jersey look like a hothouse in the winter.

Anyway, while chatting music and movies, and books and toys, Andy ordered dinner for us from a place native to Canada called ironically enough Swiss Chalet. Knowing what a French fry guy I am, he also got their fries for me.

It's the thought that counts, but I have to say I was not all that impressed with their natural cut fries, and of course that may be because they were delivered, which always cuts down on quality and freshness. I bet they might have been better hot. The chicken however was very good, and they also have ribs and other stuff, including poutine, and any place that has Toblerone for dessert can't be all bad.

Still, as I said, it's the company that counts, and although we were only in Toronto for less than twenty-four hours, we had a great time meeting and hanging out with friends and family, and helping one of my best friends celebrate his birthday. Next time, poutine, and better fries, promise.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Marni Greene on Red Lobster's Potato Chip Shrimp

Here's a guest blog on Red Lobster's new Cape Cod Kettle Chip Crusted Shrimp from occasional FFD contributor Marni Greene, take it away, Marni, and thank you!

On Monday, my boyfriend and I got into our normal conversation about where to go to dinner.

“Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t care.  Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t have a preference.”

“Just drive me someplace with food because I am hungry.”

And this is how we ended up at Red Lobster.

A month ago, I had told Glenn about the new shrimp crusted with Cape Cod kettle chips and decided to go with a dish that had them.  The important thing to remember about me is that I have bad luck with my food at restaurants.  This time it was my skewer of red shrimp with BBQ sauce came out with raw middles so those had to go back.  Thankfully, the rest of my meal came out cooked so I ate that while I waited for my replacement.

The kettle chip shrimp came out not greasy and crunchy.  I don’t know why but it surprised me how much they tasted like potato chips.  I really did not think that it would have that much of a distinctive taste of the actual kettle chips.  I would love to see these as a regular menu item.  The shrimp came with a green onion dip that would probably taste really good for dipping plain potato chips in.  I went back and forth using this dip and cocktail sauce with lemon in it and they tasted great with both flavors.  I would definitely get these again.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

It's Pickle Season!

From dear friend and FFD contributor Robin, "I know it's not potatoes, but I am so psyched that one of my favorite snacks is back at Trader Joe's!! (And) Yes. It's delicious."

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

A Potato to the Rescue

This one comes from my friend and frequent FFD contributor Dom:

"Not a quintessential French Fry Diary-esque storyline, but, one day, it could be the fries that save humanity, and not the Avengers. Click here. It's just a shame they can't 'salt' themselves."

Cool, thanks, Dom!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #274

After meeting up with friends Anne-Sophie and her family in Norway at the World Showcase in EPCOT, The Bride and I stopped at Sunshine Seasons in The Land to split a quick breakfast. It had to be quick as we were on our way to the Disney Cruise next.

The Adult Breakfast included, obviously, breakfast potatoes with red and green peppers, eggs, overdone bacon (apparently that's the only way it comes at The Land), sausages, and delicious French toast bread pudding with a spicy kick of cinnamon. Yummy!