Saturday, February 27, 2010

French Fry Diary 96: Route 11 Barbeque Potato Chips

Today on French Fry Diary, we’ll be looking at Route 11 Barbeque Potato Chips.

While not noted on the bag, these chips are kettle cooked. They are quite hot with a distinctive smoky yet sweet flavor. When I say hot, I mean hot - have a cool drink nearby.

Golden orange in color with their seasonings, they have that delightful twisted shape that comes with kettle cooking and makes dipping challenging and fun.

These are hot, but great. Heck, I’d get ‘em again.

And don't forget to check out their website, lotsa fun, especially their jingle!

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Guy Fieri’s Asian Street Fries

Guy Fieri is one of the more entertaining chefs/hosts on the Food Network. Recently on his "Guy’s Big Bite," on the episode titled "Flash in the Pan," he cooked up some of what he called Asian Street Fries.

For the video:

For the recipe:

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Don’t Take Chris Farley’s Fries

Classic 1980s “Saturday Night Live” with Chris Farley, David Spade and Adam Sandler having some fries. In drag. You didn’t get between Farley and his fries.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

French Fry Diary 95: Worst Fries in America

Friends Ray, Domenic, Joe and a host of other friends, acquaintances and strangers sent this link to me:

Thanks, folks!

The folks at Eat This, Not That are fond of putting down the favorite fried food as bad for you, in fact they’ve made quite a career of it.

What really amazes me is how they are quick to attack Arby’s Curly Fries, Jack in the Box’s Bacon Cheddar Wedges, and Five Guys’ Fries (!) among others, they follow it all up with recommending McDonald’s Fries as being the best fast food fries. Something seems askew here. They’re recommending Mickey D’s but then they leave In-N-Out Burger’s Animal Style Fries off their worst list? I mean, come on, guys, if you’re going to be Health Nazis, at least be consistent!

And for the record, I have nothing against McDonalds Fries, it’s just that I know there are better – including, most significantly, Five Guys’ Fries. And nothing against the Animal Style either, as I haven’t had the chance to try In-N-Out Burger yet, but I will as soon as they open one out here on the East Coast.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

French Fry Diary 94: Long John Silver’s

Fish and chips is a longtime combination in the fry game and cashing in on that concept is Long John Silver’s. They are similar to what I remember Arthur Treacher’s and Gulliver’s to have been back in the day, pretty much except for the fries.

The Long John Silver’s I visited shares space with a Taco Bell, as they are both part of the Yum super-corporation that also includes KFC, Wing Street, A&W and Pizza Hut among others. Yep, the Pepsi super-conglomerate, honestly Coke would take these places a step up for me.

The place is mostly Taco Bell as they were there first however, and the dual logos of the LJS fish and the TB bell next to one another is a bit unsettling as neither quite look like what they’re supposed to look like. To me at least, the bell kinda looks like a dragon or a crocodile eying up that fish for dinner. Yeah, it's more disturbing than it is unsettling.

I ordered the chicken and chips, my usually order there which includes two chicken planks (always very good unless someone screws up and I get fish), a generous helping of shoestring French fries, two ‘hush puppies’ (basically tasty deep fried breaded balls of mystery stuff), and an assortment of crumbs. No, I have no idea what the crumbs thing is about.

The fries are traditional shoestrings and always crispy. You gotta eat ‘em while they’re hot because they don’t stay hot for long, and sadly they don’t really nuke that well. You can reheat them in the oven when you get home but it’s dicey getting them just right without burning them or making them too crisp. Unless you live close, there’s not much of a take out option because of this.

The fries seem to have an Invisicoat texture but they don’t. If anything they are very lightly battered with something similar to the mystery crumbs. Sometimes the quality varies, but most of the time these are very good and quite addictive. If hot, highly recommended.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fry-Powered Lay-Up

The real reason LeBron James is such a great athlete... his lay-ups are powered and rewarded with fries! Mmmm... fries...

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Monday, February 15, 2010

French Fry Diary 93: Ore-Ida Easy Fries

Having mentioned these the other day, and frequently comparing them to Burger King’s new product, I figured it was about time I reviewed Ore-Ida’s Easy Fries. These Golden Crinkles come in their own trademarked Crisp & Serve Tray. They’re fun, quick and easy.

Like Burger King’s microwave fries, these cook right in the box in which you purchased them. The directions are very simple with one-word commands also similar to the BK variety. I have to wonder if the folks in charge of microwave fries think French fry lovers have a learning deficit.

Here are the directions you really need to know. Make sure the fries are flat in a single layer, and that the lid is touching them wherever possible. Microwave times and temperatures vary so experiment a bit. The box says four minutes but I have found three minutes and fifty seconds are best for me. And the box gets very hot while cooking and might stick to the bottom of the oven so use a paper plate underneath.

The whole thing remains very hot when they are done, so be careful, use a potholder if necessary. Shake the box onto a plate – you can even use the paper plate you rested the box on like I do. Season as desired, eat and enjoy.

The fries themselves are crinkle cuts (Easy Fries also come in a regular cut style), and if you’re lucky, they should come out just the right amount of hot, soft and crisp. There might be one or two that don’t make the cut – usually the thin or very small pieces – but for the most part, these are quick perfect fries.

Are you paying attention, Burger King?

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Sweet Potato Raisin Cookies

Valentine's Day Sweet Potato Raisin Cookies

Categories: Cookies

1 c Raisins
1/4 c Butter or margarine
1 c Sweet potatoes, cooked, mashed
1 Egg
1 ts Vanilla
2 c Flour, whole wheat
1/4 ts Allspice
1/2 ts Salt
1/2 ts Nutmeg
1/2 ts Baking soda
1 ts Cinnamon
1/4 c Walnuts, chopped
1/2 c Unprocessed bran flakes
Non stick vegetable cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Soak raisins in hot water to cover 5 minutes; drain.

Cream butter, then add sweet potato, egg, vanilla; beat until creamy.

Mix flour, allspice, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and
cinnamon. Add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Add raisins, nuts and bran flakes.

Drop onto cookie sheet sprayed with vegetable cooking spray.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

French Fry Diary 92: The Official Warning

I didn’t think I would ever have to do this, but here it comes – an official warning about the French Fry Diary blog.

Reading French Fry Diary could be hazardous to those currently on diets or watching their weight.

It happened like this. I’ve been getting a lot of buzz about FFD and family members had begun to take an interest and ask questions. We finally showed the site to my wonderful mom-in-law. Her first reaction was to say the pictures of fries were making her hungry. She disappeared for a few moments, only to re-appear with a plate of Ore-Ida Easy Fries. Her Jenny Craig forgotten and her diet ruined. I felt awful.

So again...

Reading French Fry Diary could be hazardous to those currently on diets or watching their weight.

You have been warned.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

French Fry Diary 91: 6ix A Bistro, Bally’s Atlantic City

The thing that I will never ever figure out about casinos is that they are, at least the gambling part, open 24/7, but the restaurants are only open for small windows here and there during the day. So when The Bride wants to hit the casinos, usually late at night, I, the non-gambler, am either left twiddling my thumbs for the night or eating at the last-choice-possible-café.

One such eating establishment, unless I wanted to walk the mile to the Boardwalk, is called, oddly I might add, 6ix A Bistro, and it’s at Bally’s. Like most sit-down restaurants at the casinos they strive to look a bit more upscale than your average diner yet barely manage to do so with their food. The potato and side selections relevant to this blog are no exceptions.

When the favorite fried food came to the table I was surprised by the presentation, but little else. The 6ix fries were natural cut shoestrings served in a wide paper cone. Portion size gets high points but the Invisicoat ruins the rest. They taste only meh and are suitably crispy but little else to talk about. These could have been really good were it not for the wretched Invisicoat. And the choice of Pepsi over Coke didn’t help.

Their onion rings were huge slices of onion, beer-battered and looking a tad greasy. But the truth was worse. They were much greasier than they looked and nowhere near as crispy as they looked. Another sad side serving at 6ix. The waiter who was incredulous at me for ordering both fries and rings might have gotten a bigger tip had he mentioned the portion size and asked if I was sure that’s what I wanted – but he didn’t. Maybe it was a bad night, or maybe he was just rude. Hope he enjoyed his appropriate tip.

A return visit in the morning hours (same problem as during the late night – how about a good twenty-four hour eatery at a twenty-four hour casino?) gave me a chance to sample their home fries, which actually looked quite good. They were scalloped potatoes sliced very thin, with some onion, scallion and bits of green.

I was delighted when these were served as they had the potential to be near-perfect breakfast potatoes. One forkful however was all it took to find the truth. They were soggy, undercooked and greasy. Had they been crispy, well done or even deep-fried they would have been perfect, but I was told they don’t do that. Well, I didn’t eat them. Shame.

Pretty much low marks all around for 6ix A Bistro at Bally’s. This is mediocre diner food at best, and just awful crap at worst. The appearance of the place is nice, but the food is just not good. Avoid at all costs.

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

French Fry Diary 90: The Thanksgiving Surprise

A recent invite to my aunt’s surprise 95th birthday party put this memory back in my mind. Perhaps it’s a tale of enabling, but in my book it’s a great memory of a wonderful aunt.

When I was eight years old my mom spent a Thanksgiving in the hospital. She was okay, just bad timing with stomach trouble, but my immediate family was left without a proper Thanksgiving dinner that year. My Aunt Hazel came to the rescue and invited us to her house for the holiday.

We had visited about a week before and at that time, knowing that even then I was a catastrophically picky eater, she pulled me aside and asked me what my favorite food was. Three guesses what my answer was, and the first two don’t count.

Imagine my surprise a week later when Thanksgiving dinner was served, and there with all the regular holiday dishes like turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc., was a bowl of crinkle cut French fries. Yeah, my aunt is one cool lady, happy birthday!

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

French Fry Diary 89: Bob Evans Home Fries

When we visit in-laws out in the wilds of Maryland, we usually will hit Bob Evans for breakfast one morning. It’s just about tradition. They always have good breakfast food – bacon, hotcakes, French toast, and breakfast potatoes. And of course, free refills on Coke.

Beside hotcakes and bacon (and Coke) I also ordered a side order of Bob Evans Golden Brown Home Fries. These diced and fried red potato chunks have been quite good on previous visits, but were only semi-warm this time. Still they were good. Someone else got them well done and they looked good (almost blackened, but not burnt) as well, and were reported as tasting that way too. Bob Evans knows how to do breakfast potatoes.

Based on previous trips to this Bob Evans I recommend the home fries, especially when they’re hot. Good stuff.

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Friday, February 05, 2010

French Fry Diary 88: Friendly’s Fry Flashback

This is actually a review from almost a decade ago when Friendly’s Family Restaurant had good fries. The concept for this blog has been on my mind for a long time and I’ve been writing these things for a while, and unfortunately sometimes they become outdated. But just because Friendly’s has horrible fries now doesn’t mean they always did, so let’s hop in the wayback machine and take a peek into the past…

Friendly Fries sneak up on you. You think they’re just a side dish but after three or four trips to Friendly’s –who just for the record have really good food and desserts- you’ll be going back just for the fries. And ordering the large order too, a big whopping plate piled with fries.

Friendly Fries, as they are called, from the Friendly’s Family Restaurant franchise, are regular cuts and sometimes quite long, always golden brown, never greasy and usually crispy. These are some of the best fries around. Recommended.

Ah, yeah, those were the good old days. For a look at the current state of Friendly Fries, click here. Officially un-recommended.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

McCain Introduces Masala Fries

One of the world's leading manufacturers of frozen French fries, McCain, is introducing a new product into some of its markets - Masala Fries.

From PotatoPro: "McCain Foods India Pvt Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of McCain Foods Ltd. Canada, has introduced a unique product - Masala Fries for the Institutional customers. The product has been introduced at Hosts 2010 being held in Mumbai annually. It is India’s first and largest hospitality tradeshow.

"McCain Masala Fries are SuperCrisp French Fries coated with a special Indian-style spicy seasoning. They are ideal for catering, fast food and restaurants as they deliver excellent hold time and perfect cost control.

"McCain Foods India Pvt. Ltd. currently offers wide variety of mouth-watering products, best suited for the Indian consumer, like Aloo Tikki, Tandoori Vege Nuggets and Vege Burgers apart from popular products like French Fries, Smiles, Savoury Potato Wedges, Hashbrowns etc."

Mmmm... Masala fries... Can't wait until they're available in the States, and to the public, they should go great with curry!

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

French Fry Diary 87: French Fry Gun

We don’t have Roy Rogers in South Jersey any more. Well, if you check the map, we do have a Roy Rogers in Cherry Hill, but you have to get on the turnpike to get there and then ride it out to the next exit to get back. A long trip and an annoying toll does not a quick lunch make, so Roy’s is a rare treat. Usually a trip down 95 and a rest stop is the only time I get to go to Roy Rogers.

The last time I went to Roy Rogers was on my recent trip to Baltimore for the Comic Con there with my friend Ray. While there, discussing the fries (what else?), the conversation went thusly...

Glenn: “What’s not to love? The fries come in a holster!”

Ray: “That’s why I’m surprised Roy Rogers never did well in the South. You could get a gun as a prize.”

Glenn: “Mmmm... Fry gun…”

Yeah, I’ve been doing this far too long.

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