Monday, October 31, 2011

Sour Gummi Fries

These Sour Gummi Fries, from the Gummy Zone, might be something that ends up in your (or your kids') Trick or Treat bags today and tonight for Halloween.

That kinda leaves me sour myself. If you're going to give French fries out to the Treat-or-Treaters, give gift certificates to your favorite restaurant. Just a hunch, you probably won't get your windows soaped that way.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Random Tater Pic of the Day #23

These are so-called "Jo-Jo Potato" fries from Cheska's Deli at the Berlin Farmer's Market (known to the locals as the Berlin Auction). They appear to be batter-fried potato wedges with an option for cheese.

Cheska's Deli specializes in chicken and "bar b-q" ribs. Down the market from Cheska's Deli are two different Cheska's Snack Bars, which have deep-fried crinkle cut fries. I've never tried any of them, maybe someday, but for now, just not in the stars... or the fries.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

French Fry Diary 293: Bill's Bar & Burger, Harrah's, Atlantic City

I was intrigued when I heard that this place, Bill's Bar & Burger, was coming to Harrah's in Atlantic City. BB&B actually has a pretty interesting reputation up in New York, and I was looking forward to trying out their burgers, and especially their fries. Until, of course, I found out that that it would be replacing The Deli.

The Deli was a place I could almost twenty-four hours a day while The Bride was playing the slots. I could go, and get some lunch (or whatever meal), hang out, and write. If I got fries, it would come in an over-generous portion of terrific hot steak fries, less if I got a hot dog with it, even though I'd be charged the same price. It was a good deal, and a good place - and good fries. The Deli will be missed. But I'm open-minded, I'll give Bill a shot.

I hate to say it, but at first glance, I was unimpressed. Indicative of a restaurant in a casino, it looks nice but the food is not so hot, and crazy expensive - more expensive than The Deli. For example, the six-dollar milkshake came in a cup slightly bigger than a McDonald's small soft drink. And the sodas (notably all Pepsi products, rather than Coca-Cola) in the same size cup cost four dollars.

I ordered a burger (come on, guys, what else would I order?), and it was very good, very juicy on a soft sesame seed bun. All burgers come cooked medium, but you can get them done more if you desire. I'm not a big fan of rare, but it does kinda bug me when it's not an option. I understand not wanting to make anyone sick, but to me that sorta reflects a distrust of the cook by management, don't you think? Anyway, the burger was pricey, but definitely worth that price, and worth coming back for, I thought.

The fries however, were another story, and it should be noted that they came separate from the burger, not with it, an unusual practice. They were undercooked natural cut spicy potato wedges, some of them thinner than usual, but unusually not crispy. They were good, soft and hot on the inside, but without the crispy crunch most potato wedges have. They also came with cheddar whiz cheese, or as disco fries, but I didn't try them.

They weren't horrible, I ate them and enjoyed them, but didn't finish them. They were however disappointing, especially when compared to the gigantic portion size The Deli would have provided, and I would have eaten all of those delicious steak fries. Bill's also has beer battered onion rings, which were typical of beer battered - greasy. Sweet potato fries were also available as well, maybe next time, when I get another burger.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Guy Fieri's Beer Battered Onion Rings

For Food Network Fridays this time we have one of my favorite Food Network folks, Guy Fieri with his recipe for Beer Battered Onion Rings. Check it out!

This comes from the "Boardwalk Weiners" episode of "Guy's Big Bite." Check out the recipe here.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Random Tater Pic of the Day #22

This is the legendary Nathan's Famous without fries at the Thomas Edison Service Plaza on the New Jersey Turnpike. If you want the favorite fried food here, you have to go to Burger King or Popeye's. That's just wrong.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

French Fry Diary 292: Baked Lay's Potato Crisps

What is most interesting about this product is that it doesn't actually say potato chips on the bag. The front of the bag pretty much just reads "Baked!" and then under that the Lay's logo and below that "original" to indicate the flavor.

On the back of the bag we learn they are called Baked! Lay's Original Potato Crisps. Now while crisps in the UK would indicate potato chips, but here in the US it means made from dried potatoes, like Pringles. And that also explains the bland taste of these cardboard reasons I really don't care for baked potato chips.

For the healthy conscious folks out there (who I have no idea why you're reading this blog, but I thank you) these start with all natural ingredients, have 80% less fat, no transfats, no MSG, no preservatives, and are gluten free.

They might be good for dipping but not for flavor. Not recommended, unless you have nothing else to munch.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

French Fry Diary 291: Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries

I usually get the store brand of this variety of the favorite fried food as it's less expensive, but this was an impulse buy, so I gotta roll with the punches.

Surprisingly, on the package for Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries, other than that name, there is nothing that describes the product or explains why they are called that. Oh, it says they're made from Grade A potatoes and that they have zero grams of transfat, but nothing about the product itself.

Curiously the baking instructions are for a half a bag, and three quarters of a bag. This bothered me. What about instructions on how to cook the quarter bag that's left after you make the three quarter bag serving? I mean, come on, if you're doing instructions for dummies, be complete. So, ignore the instructions, they won't do you any good. My suggestion - twenty minutes at 450 degrees, stopping once halfway to turn.

The fries come out a bit crisp, as they do have a slight batter covering, but not enough to be offensive. They are excellent for dipping or dripping. The accompanying pic has them with Chick-fil-A Polynesian barbecue sauce. Yum. Not fantastic, and not exactly a good semblance of actual fast food fries (other than being shoestrings), but still very good.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

French Fry Diary 290: Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe

The Bride's work takes her all over the east coast, and sometimes to some pretty outrageous places - like Mars. No, not the planet Mars, but Mars, Pennsylvania, and that's where today's edition of Somebody Else's Fries comes from - the Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe.

The Bride says, "Dog was pretty good, the kraut was grilled. Fries were hot and fresh, good size but lacked seasoning." There you go. Thanks, Jenn!

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Friday, October 21, 2011

French Fry Diary 289: Lamb Fries

I was watching "Chopped" on the Food Network recently and one of the mystery ingredients was 'lamb fries.' Immediately my eyes and ears perked up. They were going to do fries on "Chopped." And then I was shocked to find out that lamb fries have nothing remotely to do with fries. They're more like the quizzically named 'sweet breads,' in other words, they're lamb testicles. Yep, serious serious ick.

This video clip from 1988's Funny Farm sheds a bit more light on the subject:

Remember, folks, lamb fries are NOT fries. This has been a public service announcement from French Fry Diary.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

French Fry Diary 288: Lay's Honey Barbecue Potato Chips

Some time ago I reviewed Lay's Tangy Carolina BBQ Potato Chips and while they were hot and sweet, one might find them a bit too hot. If that's the situation, then Lay's Honey Barbecue Potato Chips are for you.

The heat is subdued and the sweet is perfect on these regular chips, probably due to the brown sugar in the seasoning. Like the Tangy Carolinas, these are kinda hard to find in my area at least, which is a shame as these are probably my fave Lay's chips. But like most Lay's chips, they are a bit too thin, you can still dip them if you're careful.

I like these a lot, and just wish they were easier to find. Recommended.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

French Fry Diary 287: China 1

If your local Chinese food place has fries, get them, and if it doesn't find one that does. Usually French fries from a Chinese restaurant is a rare find, and a rare treat. When The Bride and I were still dating we frequented a wonderful little hole in the wall Chinese place in Blackwood, sadly since burned down, that had phenomenal shoestring fries, as well as a near-perfect sweet and sour sauce.

The secret is that in Chinese wok cooking, the wok is simply wiped out rather than actually cleaned. The food retains the flavor of all the food previously cooked in it. I know it sounds gross, but it works. And if French fries are cooked in a wok, yummm. It is so worth it. That's the way it was done at the place in Blackwood.

When I saw that China 1, not our regular Chinese restaurant, but one just a little further away, but one that had French fries, I knew we had to try it. The fries came in a little Styrofoam container, more familiar to diner food than Chinese food, and were simple crinkle cuts, probably frozen grocer fries that were deep-fried.

They were clearly not superior as that place in Blackwood or had any care taken with them other than a quick deep fry and dump in the Styrofoam box. It's a shame as they could have been so much better. We'll stick with our regular Chinese place, even though they don't have fries.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Random Tater Pic of the Day #21

These are toys, including plastic French fries, offered by Disney in their parks and elsewhere. Remember, kids, don't eat these fries.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

French Fry Diary 286: 365 Baked Potato Chips

On my latest trip to Whole Foods, I picked up a couple of their brand name, 365, baked style potato chips. I chose the Lightly Salted and Barbecue varieties.

The Lightly Salted Baked Potato Chips were kinda bland, with that same flat cardboard taste that I have always disliked about baked chips. Taste in baked chips is one department where Trader Joe's is the definite winner. It's almost as if these chips have no taste at all, close to, dare I say it, Communion wafers. They do have a cool uniform shape though - it's almost a Green Lantern symbol.

The Barbecue Baked Potato Chips do have some flavor, wholly due to seasoning, and also come in the weird Lantern shape. I wonder if it's a happy coincidence or a movie tie-in. The seasoning is not great barbecue seasoning but at least it is some flavor.

These are not great chips unless you are being health conscious and don't care about flavor. No transfats, and lots less fat than regular chips. Not for me, try at your own peril.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

French Fry Diary 285: Maternity Fries

This weekend the family is celebrating the birth of my new niece. We made the pilgrimage up to the hospital to see her in all her eight pound new born glory. Just for the record, she's absolutely adorable.

Now that's all good and everything, but you're probably wondering why I'm talking about this here. There is a point, and it starts with me happy to see the new addition to the family and continues with me thinking I was crazy.

I was enjoying the whole family groove thing, the awww factor, and everyone taking turns holding the baby - when it happened. I smelled French fries. At first I thought I was losing it, that this near decade of writing about French fries had finally addled my brain - now I'm daydreaming fries.

Thankfully I'm sane. Lunch had come, and hidden underneath a cloche were some hospital-made natural cut regular cuts. Dad finished them off with some ketchup. Mom and baby are doing great - and I'm not nuts.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

French Fry Diary 284: Dublin Square, Cherry Hill NJ

After my visit to Kelsey's Irish Pub in Maryland, I was wary of trying another so-called Irish Pub, but so many friends had hipped me to this new local place, and happily recommended them, I just had to try Dublin Square in Cherry Hill.

I stopped by alone in the late afternoon. The bar was full but the restaurant not so much. The waitress was very friendly, had quite a lot to tell me about the multitude of specials on deck. While she was wonderful and did a great job, I had to wonder if I would have gotten the same treatment if the restaurant had been packed.

On the table were Colman's Mustard, HP Sauce and Sarson's Malt Vinegar, all imported from England. So it seems like their heart is in the right place when it comes to authenticity. It was decorated in wood and green, and football (that's soccer to you and me) on the big screen TVs around the restaurant. And the Irish and/or seeming Irish music playing overhead was incessant.

The fries, I was told, were deep-fried and tossed in curry powder. Interesting. So I guess I should be expecting some heat. As I waited for them I looked at the specials listed at the table. I did notice that the fries are $4 in the afternoon but $3 at night. I wondered if there was a difference in portion size, or if I was a schmuck for going in the afternoon.

The fries arrived, and I could smell the heat even before I tasted them. They were natural cut steak fries, nothing special or even Irish about them at first glance. The curry powder was interesting but seemed to have more bark than bite, as they weren't necessarily all that hot. The fries themselves were only just warm - as in heat lamp warm, and in the middle of an empty afternoon, not a good sign.

These fries were really a bit of a disappointment. Well, at least they called them fries, steak cut fries, and not chips - that would just be an insult. Now I realize that I am a bit of a French fries nut, but if you are going to go to all the trouble to make an Irish pub franchise, why would you skimp on the fries? I mean, chips/fries are a primary Irish pub staple. Just my opinion.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

French Fry Diary 283: Kim's Magic Pop

I'm not really sure exactly what you would call these other than big flat rice cake things, but Kim's Magic Pop snack cake things are interesting.

Here's the good news: they are all natural, fat free, low calorie, and low sodium. These snack cakes come from South Korea and this "natural potato flavor" is made from whole wheat, potato and rice.

The serving and eating suggestions say they can go with soups, salads, with cheese or right out of the bag as a fun snack. I tried one with ice cream, which was messy but good, and one with peanut butter that brought out a Ritz cracker vibe.

Kim's Magic Pop comes in twelve unique flavors, and is an interesting, tasty and healthy snack - check it out.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

French Fry Diary 282: Lay's Light

The Bride picked these up just before hurricane Irene hit, as a snack that needed to neither be cooked nor refrigerated.

I was a bit hesitant about Lay's Light Potato Chips Original Flavor, and not because of their healthiness. Sure, they are fat free and have "1/2 the calories of regular potato chips," but they were also cooked with olestra, a fat substitute that has had a variety of not so nice side effects, not the least of which would be diarrhea and abdominal cramping. I know it never sits well with me. I'm actually surprised the Frito-Lay company is still using it.

But then again, part of this blog could be about me eating the dangerous stuff, so you don't have to. The chips themselves are very thin, like most Lay's but also kind of bland, also like Pringles. Not great, and I'm sure I'll pay for eating them later. Not recommended.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

French Fry Diary 281: Worst. McDonald's. Ever.

On a recent trip to North Jersey we stopped at the Vauxhall Plaza McDonald's in Union NJ on the Garden State Parkway. We were hungry, needed gas, and this was convenient. This was also a big mistake.

First, because I am currently addicted to Foursquare, I had to check in, and I was rather shocked at the comments about the place, especially bad were the ones about the drive-thru - which unfortunately we were already in line. Slow, rude, sassy and belligerent were the kindest of the descriptions for the drive-thru lady. I believe however more in actual experience over word of mouth - sometimes that doesn't work out for me.

After ordering, we slowly moved up to the pay window. There was a statue of Officer Big Mac, a forgotten McDonaldland character behind bars on the passenger side. On the driver side was what could only be the woman described in the Foursquare comments. She was yelling through our car at someone we assumed was her boyfriend a hundred feet away in the parking lot. She had quite a mouth on her, and I'm talking both volume and heat, good things there were no children in the car. Luckily she didn't hit us with any spit.

We paid and got away from her as quick as possible, and soon found that order accuracy was also one of her customer service skills. Although I'm sure the rest of the staff helped in the ineptitude. We got Chicken McNuggets in lieu of a cheeseburger, frozen chocolate milk, and the fries were especially crappy, seeming much smaller than usual as if they had been refried.

To their credit, they fixed the cheeseburger mix-up when The Bride went inside, and even gave us more of those crappy fries. Wow. Still, never again, no matter how hungry we are or how much gas we need. It's no wonder Officer Big Mac is in jail. He's ashamed.

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Justin Bieber Fries

Perhaps you have heard of the insidious and hilarious David Thorne and his personal mission to make life hell for a fellow office worker. If not, check out the details here.

One of my favorite of his stunts involved superimposing Justin Bieber's face onto a pic of the favorite fried food. That story can be found here.

Mmmm... Justin Bieber fries...

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

French Fry Diary 280: The Friar's Nook, Magic Kingdom

The Friar's Nook. This was actually where I wanted to go on the last night of my Disney World vacation, but ended up at Columbia Harbour House instead. I had gotten a very good recommendation for their homemade potato chips. They also have teriyaki chicken nuggets that sound good too, but I was mostly going for the chips.

Sudden downpours and storms shut a lot of the counter service places down in the Magic Kingdom earlier in the evening, and The Friar's Nook was one of them unfortunately. I'll get to it when I return in March. Looking forward to those chips. Keep your fingers crossed against rain.

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Friday, October 07, 2011

Thursday, October 06, 2011

French Fry Diary 279: Columbia Harbour House, Magic Kingdom

Any port in a storm, that's what they say, and it was a stormy night in Disney's Magic Kingdom, so after hitting the Hall of Presidents, we went to the nautical and colonial themed Columbia Harbour House for dinner. I loved the Hall of Presidents this time, by the way. There's nothing new really, short of an animatronic President Obama, but the host in the lobby was very well read, and he and I got into a great conversation about posse comitatus. However, The Bride is not the history nut I am, plus we also wanted to stay out of the rain.

At the Columbia Harbour House, I got fries of course, and as always in the parks, they were the Disney standard natural cuts. Remember what I said a few days ago about it being who's doing the cooking not how they're cooked? Well, these were very limp and greasy, not good fries at all. Ick. The Bride enjoyed her salad quite a bit though.

Now it should be noted that these are not the only kind of fries you can get here. As I noticed on the Disney Food Blog after I got home from vacation, sometimes they will serve meatier, and better looking regular cuts with the Fried Fish Basket. I wonder if I could request them next time I go?

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