Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

French Fry Diary 18: The Pop Shop

Owned and run by friends of the family Stink Fisher and his wife Connie, The Pop Shop is the gem and highlight of the upper class Collingswood NJ neighborhood.

The Fishers set out to re-create a classic 1950s malt shop and succeeded many times over with this wonderful meeting place and restaurant. The Pop Shop is a destination for my family and friends on many occasions including weekend breakfasts when guests are in town and sometimes on regular Monday night trivia competitions that are always a blast.

Breakfast served all day and the ice cream and dessert menu, as well as the fantastic selection of grilled cheese sandwiches are the prizes of the food fare presented at the Pop Shop, as are the activities and events all week long, but for our purposes we’ll be concentrating on the favorite fried food.

French fries at the Pop Shop are something to behold. From their menu: Our fries are awesome! We make them ourselves - every single one. Home-made spicy ketchup available upon request or you can have Heinz, if you’re a purist.

So even the ketchup is special. The Pop Shop Fries are always natural cuts, made fresh and cooked to order. Always served hot and delicious, and in more than generous portions, if you get them plain, they will be the best part of your meal for the French fry aficionado, but that’s not all. There are several different variations at the Pop Shop.

You can get them with Old Bay seasoning, brown gravy, cheddar, mozzarella, Jack, tomato sauce, jalopeno peppers and onions, chili of the day, bacon, Cajun spices and also with a remoulade sauce. Each particular combination has its own name and hometown flavor. I told you these just aren’t any fries.

The Pop Shop Fries are highly recommended, as is the entire restaurant. Check them out here.


Monday, March 23, 2009

French Fry Diary 17: Funky Fries

Several years back, the fine folks at Ore-Ida sought to add a bit of pizzazz to the art and style of French fries. They had already had great success with adding color to the Heinz (who owns them) ketchups with new green and purple varieties. Working on the assumption that kids like their foods in fun colors, they made a similar jump with the favorite fried food – unfortunately it was disastrous.

Funky Fries made the scene in 2002 with five varieties, each with a different color, style and/or taste. They were as follows with my assessments of each:

Cinna-Stiks – While baking these cinnamon-covered crisper-style potatoes smelled wonderful (well, for those of us that are not allergic to cinnamon that is), and were rather tasty if overly sweet. Much like some of Jelly Belly’s most delicious flavors (like Buttered Popcorn and Bubble Gum) this was a flavor combination that just did not go well in this form. Too sweet and not edible unless in small portions, in the end these were more dessert than dinner.

Cocoa Crispers – Much like the ones above, while baking these chocolate French fries would fill your entire house with intoxicating smell of brownies. And as much as the thought of chocolate French fries sounds addictively delicious –and still might be if done right- these things tasted as bad as they smelled good. These crisper-style dark brown fries were one of those food items that would go into your mouth with a fork or fingers and come out in your napkin. Bleah.

Crunchy Rings – These were fun. I wouldn’t mind if these were revived. Imagine a tater tots with a hole drilled from the top through to the bottom. The Crunchy Rings were exactly what they sounded like they were and were quite tasty. In some cases I would prefer these over regular tater tots if cooked to the right golden brown-ness.

Kool Blue – Blue French fries. Wow. This was one that came directly from the market research folks who thought kids liked to eat and play with colorful food, and was probably designed for use with the various colored ketchups. These bluish-green crsipers tasted like regular fries, but come one, they’re blue, and as any potato person will tell you: a blue potato chip or French fry has usually gone bad. Don’t eat it. What were they thinking?

Sour Cream & Jive – Even though I’m not a sour cream guy, I still have to wonder why this didn’t work. It works for potato chips, and I know folks dip their fries in sour cream, so what happened? I have a theory about these crispers, it’s the same deal as the Cinna-Stiks and the Cocoa Crispers – this flavor combination feels unnatural in this form. And if the potato chip theory really held water, why aren’t there BBQ fries or vinegar fries? Sometimes you need the dip on the outside, not the inside.

For reasons that may seem fairly obvious, they didn’t last long. Even with some heavy marketing, the venture failed and kids were not charmed, nor were adults. I think Ore-Ida would like very much to forget these ever existed. Maybe someday it will be time for these bizarro French fries, but not yet... or ever...


Saturday, March 21, 2009

French Fries in Five Steps

Luis Ortiz of Expert Village shows us how to make homemade French fries in five easy steps and videos.

Easy, huh? Hmmm… for all that effort, and video, shouldn’t there not only be more fries, but tastier looking fries? To each their own, I guess. Luis should just hit the McDonald’s drive-thru in my opinion. It’s much quicker…

Friday, March 20, 2009


Bratkartoffeln (German Fries)

Makes eight 1-cup servings

5 lbs. unpeeled potatoes (don't use Baking Potatoes, as they are too flaky)
1 cup diced Schaller & Weber Double-smoked Bacon
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)


Boil potatoes in their skin until just tender, but still firm (Do Not Overcook).

Let cool, peel and dice (this step can be done a day in advance - keeping
potatoes refrigerated overnight.)

Dice and gently sauté bacon in a large frying pan until golden brown. Remove crisp bacon and set aside.

Add the diced onions to the bacon drippings in the pan. Sauté the onions until translucent, then remove the onions from the pan and set aside with the crisp bacon.

Do not drain any remaining bacon drippings in the pan.

Add the vegetable oil to the bacon drippings and heat over medium-high.

Add the cubed potatoes to the pan.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté the potatoes until they begin to get a golden

Return the crisp bacon and the translucent onions to the pan and toss gently with the potatoes.

Sauté for another 5 minutes.

Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.

Place into a serving bowl.

Garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot.

You may prepare the recipe a day ahead.

To reheat, we suggest you place the prepared recipe (less the parsley) in a covered ovenproof dish and reheat in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Garnish with parsley and serve.

Originally from and the FRIED-RECIPE Yahoo! Group.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Filta Group

Here’s a promotional, educational video about the Filta Group, a company that specializes in, among other things, the cleaning and maintenance of restaurant deep fryers – a very important, and unsung, part of any French fries made outside of the home.

Go Filta!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Twitter Fries

Burger Lounge in California is doing it again!

According to their Twitter:

11AM-9PM-Twitterers come into any location for free 1/2 fries, 1/2 onion rings today-mention you follow us on Twitter-would love to see pix!

So get out there, and get those fries and rings!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Irish Potato Pie

From Marla in Las Vegas at the Potato-Recipe group:

St. Patrick's Day Irish Potato Pie

6-8 potatoes, peeled
6 bacon, strips
4 green onions, sliced paper thin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
8 drops green food coloring

Preheat oven to 400°F

cook the potatoes in boiling water with the green food coloring added to the water, until tender and drain.

in a skillet, fry bacon until crisp and lay out on paper towels to drain.

trim onions so that you have the white part and about half of the green, wash well, and slice paper-thin.

add onions to skillet and sauté in bacon grease over medium heat until soft.

slice the boiled potatoes, and arrange half in the bottom of a pie plate.

season with salt and pepper, 1/2 the garlic and 1/2 the parsley.

layer with bacon, onion and one half of the cheese. cover with remaining potatoes and season again.

cover with remaining cheese.

bake for 30 minutes or until top is browned and cheese is melted.

you can also layer in 1/2 pound of browned ground meat on top of each potato layer, if cooking for someone who won't eat a meatless meal.

source is

God Bless, Marla


Friday, March 13, 2009

Potato King’s Hat Returned

Several months ago I reported on the death of Idaho potato king J.R. Simplot. What I didn’t talk about (or know about at the time) was that the man’s famous trademark hat had been stolen from his funeral.

Through the efforts of Tim Woodward of the Idaho Statesman, the hat has been returned. Rock on, Tim!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

French Fry Diary 16: Bella Italia

One of my major missions as a French fries aficionado while visiting London a couple years ago was to have 'real' chips. It was a must.

The first excursion into the land where chip shops and chip carts and lorries abound was an eye opener. They weren’t all they were cracked up to be in legend, at least not to this American. I was reminded of Chinese take-out places when we arrived at our first official chip shop. It was not at all what I expected. We saw nothing when it came to the cooking of the chips, but they were delivered to us over the counter in wax paper, so that part of the legend held up.

The chips themselves were not all that great, larger than steak cut potatoes, natural cut and very greasy. The only thing sadly that differentiated them from anything special or extraordinary was simply the fact that we were in London when we ate them. To say I was disappointed is a serious understatement.

Later during the trip, after meeting friends at London’s famous comic book shop of the gods, Forbidden Planet, we all wanted to go to lunch together and decided on a franchise place called Bella Italia. I had never heard of it before our trip but on our time in London and the vicinity had seen many of these. It’s typical Italian fare, and from what I heard from the rest of our party, the food was pretty good.

Me, being me, and a catastrophically fussy eater, I got a hamburger and fries. Great burger actually, and lo and behold, the 'fries' that came were really 'chips,' and the kind of chips I had heard whispered in legend as coming from the UK. They were thick cuts, like steak fries but wide on all sides, golden brown, crisp on the outside and soft and hot within. I couldn’t get enough but one serving was more than filling. These were truly the fries of the gods.

All that and good friends and good conversation made the trip to Bella Italia in London one of the highlights of my time in London. Real chips... mmmm...


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Obama Fries

Ray's Candy Store in Alphabet City, New York City, offers something called "Obama Fries."

These Belgian fries were only one dollar before the election but are now four dollars. Not really sure what that means, but there it is. The owner, an admitted supporter of President Obama, also offers "Obama Coffee."

Besides having "the best fresh cut fries in town", Ray's also serves soft serve ice-cream, frozen yogurt, hot dogs, sausages, coffee, milkshakes, and egg creams. Look them up next time you're in the east Village. And don't forget the fries... Mmmm... fries...

Friday, March 06, 2009

French Fry Diary 15: Pat’s Family Restaurant, Marlton NJ

You should not tempt someone like me in this manner. "Try our Fresh Fries!" Come on now, that’s just not fair.

Recently a Pat’s Family Restaurant opened locally. As with any new place nearby, we figured we would get there sooner or later – but when I passed by there and saw that sign… I knew it would be sooner.

We went there last night, and had a nice, if odd, dining experience. Seat yourselves, look at a menu, go up to the counter, order and reseat yourselves, and after a while, your food is brought out. Not streamlining at its best. I was also worried a bit about how well they were doing. It was an off night, but the employees to customers ratio was eight to two and didn’t change for the forty-five minutes we were there.

In what used to be the area’s best candy store before the fire, this Pat’s has an interesting décor – TVs on the walls, retro-future contour chairs and placemats recycled from shredded old magazines. Honestly I was reminded of a gimmicky dance club. And the music playing was quite eclectic too. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard Lily Allen’s "Knock ‘Em Out" outside of my iPod Shuffle.

But that’s not what you or I am here to talk about, what about the favorite fried food? My burger (yeah, so, what else would I get?) came with French fries, so I didn’t get the bowl with the piled-up fries as shown on the menu, and they didn’t exactly look like them either. The burger was very good, but the fries were just okay.

The fries were standard natural regular cuts and deep-fried, and possibly baked afterward but I couldn’t be sure. The batch I got was pretty good, crunchy on the outside and sometimes hot and soft on the inside. If anything they reminded me a bit of the fries at Five Guys, but nowhere near as good as those. Good fries, but not worthy of bragging about – take the sign down.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Twitter Fries

Burger Lounge, a healthy burger place with three locations in California, is taking advantage of the promotional technology of the internet, and offering free fries today for the followers of their Twitter account.

From their Twitter: "Come in to any BL location tomorrow from 2-5 pm and receive a FREE order of fries! Just mention that you follow us on Twitter!"

And when they say 'tomorrow,' they mean today - Thursday, March 5th, so if you're in the area, go get some free fries.

Mmmm... Twitter fries...

911 for McNuggets


Hey, I love French fries, but they are no emergency, and they are certainly not a 911 emergency. What a nutjob…

But then again, it's nothing new...

Do people know that 911 is for emergencies only?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Do Fries Go with That Shake?

Here’s the undisputed king of funk, George Clinton, with a blast from the past – “Do Fries Go with That Shake?” from 1986...

Mmmm... fries...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

French Fry Diary 14: McLoone’s Pier House, Long Branch NJ

I visited a great restaurant today for a surprise party for my sister-in-law - McLoone’s Pier House. It’s an upscale place specializing in mostly seafood, with a terrific view of the ocean, and was the first restaurant in New Jersey to be Certified Green by the Green Restaurant Association.

Now you’re wondering what all this has to do with the favorite fried food, right? You knew I would get to it eventually. They have fantastic fries, traditional steak-cut fries, done a perfect golden brown crisp on the outside and soft and hot on the inside. I got them as a side with my burger and another diner as part of her fish and chips. That would have been enough, but then someone ordered an extra order of French fries – and it came in a paper cone.

Like I said, it would have been enough just having great fries, but presentation counts. The traditional way to serve British chips, the paper cone is a sign of class especially in the better restaurants. These folks even had the metal holder to sit the cone upright on the table. The Pier House in Long Branch NJ – great food, great fries and an A+ for presentation.

Thanks, Dan, for hipping me to this place, and a happy birthday to Tish too!