Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Fast Food Strike

The big story today in the world of fast food, predominantly realm of the French fry, is the fast food strike.

Workers at many of the major fast food outlets - including McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, KFC, Taco Bell, and many others - are choosing to protest and/or walk out today as a measure to gain higher wages.

Fast food restaurants unfortunately are notorious for their minimum wages and low pay rates. Some workers cannot afford rent or to take care of themselves or their kids. Think about that next time you order fries at your favorite fast food place.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

French Fry Diary 514: Burger King's French Fry Burger

Burger King announced yesterday that they were coming out with a new burger next week, called the French Fry Burger, it's a burger, (you ready for this?) with French fries on it.

Perhaps Burger King thinks it's reinvented the wheel here, but really, putting French fries on your burger is as old as burgers and fries themselves. I've been doing it since I was a kid, and know dozens of other folks personally who do it. It's officially called planking (no, not that planking) or sandwiching, and I've talked about here on the blog many times before. What is ironic is that Burger King's new fries are as conducive to sandwiching as their older fries. Too little too late, BK.

Now there may some novelty in having someone else do it for you, but that doesn't work for everyone. A catastrophically picky eater would never be able to order this burger plain at Burger King. The clerk's head would explode. It's hard enough getting just a plain hamburger, I can't imagine trying to get one with fries on it…

And it's not just customers who have been doing the planking, some restaurants are also getting into the act besides BK. Rally's/Checkers have been doing it for a while with their Fry Lover's Burger, and fancier places have been doing onion rings and strings on burgers for decades. There's nothing new under the sun, or ahem, under the bun.

Special thanks to my GAR! Podcast partner Ray for hipping me to the BK news.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Random Tater Pic of the Day #114

This one was sent to me by friends Dom and Cindy and their family while on vacation in Walt Disney World. Coming soon, they also sent proof that Friar's Nook does in fact actually open sometimes. Look for it, and thanks, guys! :-)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Random Tater Pic of the Day #113

Both my friend Marni, and Patti O'Brien, sent this pic my way, the fanned baked potato.

It comes with a very simple recipe: peel the potato (or not), cut almost all the way through, drizzle with oil, butter, sea salt and pepper, then bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes. Enjoy.

Friday, August 23, 2013

French Fry Diary 513: On the Border

Mexican food is just not my thing. So when friends suggested we go to On the Border for a late meal, I was concerned. I didn't think I'd find anything to eat there, but I did, and that's not counting the French fries on the kids menu. I just wasn't in the mood for the reaction of the server if I ordered off the kids menu, so I adjusted.

There were Avocado Fries on the menu. Hmmm… not tonight. We did in fact get chips as a table appetizer, not of the potato variety. These corn (?) chips for salsa dipping were to start the meal off. The chips were warm, I liked that, but I didn't dip. Like I said, I'm not a Mexican food guy. I ended up getting a grilled chicken dish, minus the massive chunks of hot cheese. It came with some sort of potato product at least.

These red garlic potatoes, sliced and spiced, were served under a sizzling grilled chicken breast. It sizzled for a good couple minutes, awesome. The potatoes are quite crisp in places, very hot, in temperature and spiciness. I really wish there were more. If that's the worst complaint I have - that's not really a complaint, is it?

All in all, it was a very good dinner, and a fun night out with friends. Maybe next time I'll get those kids meal fries and see what they're like.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

French Fry Diary 512: Barcel Chips A la Diabla

I like spicy. I like barbecue. I like a bit of heat. Unless of course, it gets too hot. That's why I was afraid of these potato chips.

As is sometimes the case with potato chip products, it has a looong name. The full name of the item is Barcel Chips by Papas Toreadas A la Diabla Kettle Cooked Potato Chips. If subtitles count, and they do here because the words have so much power, they are 'Red Hot Pepper flavored.' Somehow I don't think they're talking about Anthony Kiedis or Flea. These are made in Mexico, where they know heat.

Despite the bag's visual and literal bravado however, chile is just one of several ingredients listed under flavoring. We'll see. Upon opening the bag, there was an aroma of heat, but nothing to knock anyone out. What struck me first was how dark the seasoning on the chips.

I let The Bride be my guinea pig and she took the first chip. I wasn't throwing in front of a bullet, mind you, she volunteered, and does have a higher tolerance for hear than I do. She didn't think they were that hot, but she did forbid me from giving any to my cat Spooky, so they had to have some kick. She compared the heat to chip dipped in heat rather than the heat actually being on the chip, if you know what I mean.

My turn. The Bride thought they might be too hot for me. They were very crunchy, and after the second chip, I thought maybe I was worrying about nothing. After the third however, the burning began. Again, by only eating one chip, The Bride proved her intellectual superiority over me. These are HOT.

These chips are very hot, so have something cold to drink nearby. That said, I think these would be great for dipping in ice cream or a milkshake. If you like heat, you will love Barcel's Chips A la Diabla.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

French Fry Diary 511: Nathan's Cheddar Cheese Crinkle Fries

These aren't the great French fries that Nathan's has at their restaurants (except for the one at the Moorestown Mall food court, which is inexplicably always staffed but never open when I've been there recently), these are corn meal snacks. I took a pic when I first saw them at Shop-Rite, and finally got around to buying a bag.

They also come in Honey Mustard and Chili Cheese, but I opted for the Cheddar Cheese Crunchy Crinkle Fries, mostly because those first two flavors really didn't grab me. The bag has both the great story and history of Nathan's as well as the ingredient list that verifies that potatoes had nothing to do with these fries.

Basically these are mediocre cheese curls but a lot of effort was put into making them look very close to how regular Nathan's French fries look. It works to a certain extent. The flavoring is uneven on the fries so you get a lot of cheesiness on some and hardly any on others. These are pretty good, but not great. If I want cheese curls, I think I might go for the real thing rather than these.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

French Fry Diary 510: Olive Garden Parmesan Potato Chips

On a recent dinner outing to Olive Garden, I found something really cool on the menu. Parmesan Potato Chips. Called a favorite in Italy, these are thin potato slices, lightly seasoned, with a creamy Italian cheese dip. The Bride, my cheese expert, proclaimed it tangy, pretty good, and offset the chips well.

I liked them, very tasty. They were thin enough to be chips and thick enough to have some potato meatiness to them. Near perfect chips. And as much as I like Olive Garden bread sticks, these chips were nowhere near as, as in not at all, as greasy as the sticks.

If I had any complaint it would be there wasn't enough. but this was a 'small plate,' they need to make it a large plate. These were really good, thumbs up.

Monday, August 19, 2013

National Potato Day 2013

August 19, 2013 is National Potato Day!

Potatoes have been popular parts of diets around the world for centuries.

Did you know that more than 45 billion pounds of potatoes are harvested in the U.S. each year?

We use them to make baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, home fries, French fries—the list is endless!

Potatoes are not only tasty - they’re good for you!

They contain high levels of important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium, and iron.

Today, enjoy potatoes prepared your favorite way to celebrate National Potato Day!

How will you be celebrating today?

Source: Reason To Celebrate Daily Mailer, and the Just Potatoes Yahoo! Group.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Random Tater Pic of the Day #112

Everyone loves French fries, even America's favorite serial killer. Dexter and date enjoy peanut butter and Nutella fries on the latest episode of the Showtime series.

Monday, August 05, 2013

French Fry Diary 509: Best Daym Takeout

Daymon Patterson, better known as Daym Drops, whose amazing 'soopa oh-ficial' restaurant reviews done from his car have made him a YouTube superstar, idol to millions, and a personal culinary hero of mine, has a new TV show on The Travel Channel. It's called "Best Daym Takeout" and the first two episodes debuted this past Wednesday.

First, I gotta say I love this guy. He wouldn't have to do much to impress me. He could've just broadcast his old YouTube reviews and I would have been glued to the TV, but he jumped in and gave us something new. The concept has him visited different cities and restaurants, followed by his trademark car seat review, all punctuated with his unique banter.

In the Chicago episode, he checks out Pequod's Pizza, Mr. Beef, and the Superdawg Drive-In. On that last one, he shows us how they make their fresh cut crinkle cut fries. He even gets to taste some raw potato. Just for the record, they know how to make fries at Superdawg, and they get Daym's approval as well.

The second episode explores New Orleans with the same charismatic manic intensity and enjoyment. I love it! I will be tuned in every Wednesday night for the next new "Best Daym Takeout." And Daym, my brother from another mother, more fries please!

Friday, August 02, 2013

French Fry Diary 508: The Crossroads at Garwood

While The Bride and I were attending The DIS Weekend Meet up in North Jersey, where we rarely go, we thought it might be cool to get together with good friends we don't see all that often. We had to pick a restaurant carefully, and not just because of my catastrophic picky eating this time, but also as one of our friends is vegetarian. We decided on the Crossroads at Garwood.

At first glance, this place is part New Orleans and part rock/jazz club. I loved it. While it was loud at points, I enjoyed the company, and the music. The one act taking the stage, that I absolutely loved, was the Garden State Saxophone Quartet. They did a killer "Sweet Child of Mine."

Now here's the crazy part, especially regarding me being a catastrophically picky eater. One of our party got, as an appetizer, grilled alligator tail, and believe it or not, I tried it. It tasted a little like slightly chewy chicken, and had a little bit of a zing in the aftertaste. It could have used a little barbeque sauce actually, but not bad.

All in all, the alligator was better than the fries. The burger I got was pretty good, but the fries that came on the side were disappointing. These were deep fried frozen regular cuts, and that's it, and not very good ones at that. For a rock club/restaurant that goes so far to have grilled alligator tail on the menu, they couldn't get just a little fancier with the fries? Loved the company, the music, and the night out, but the fries were disappointing.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

French Fry Diary 507: Texas Roadhouse 2013

The last time (and the first time) I went to the Texas Roadhouse, most of our party got sick. I'm usually willing to give a place a second chance though.

The Bride and I were in Maryland babysitting the nephew and we could not decide on where to go for dinner. There were a few things we were each in the mood for, but we couldn't decide, so we tried to be fair. All the restaurants in the unfamiliar (to us at least) area were put in a bowl, and the kid chose. Texas Roadhouse. It wasn't on the top of any of our lists, but it was fair, so off to Texas Roadhouse we went.

It should be noted it was a Saturday night at dinner. I guess I underestimated the incredible drawing power of the Texas Roadhouse. Not only was the parking lot completely filled but so were the two adjacent lots as well. I even watched one guy in a monster truck make his own parking spot on top of a grass island. The place was packed, and we were told we had over an hour wait. The kid wasn't taking it well, cranky, impatient, and we didn't go where he wanted. 'S all right, we love him.

We were committed though, so we waited it out, just a little under an hour. We got our appetizer right away - the Cactus Blossom, their onion appetizer. The covering is more of a hot chicken batter, almost like a tempura. I thought it was very very good this time. After the wait, we were very hungry, and this just about hit the spot. Sadly, we think maybe it made the kid a little sick. Maybe the place is cursed?

Extra points for them having Coke products, and being on top of refills when they were so crowded. We also got these great buttered rolls as we sat down. The same rolls were used for the kid's mini-cheeseburgers, which in hindsight would have been delicious, had I not gotten what I got.

In lieu of the chopped steak I ordered last time, I got the Grilled BBQ Chicken this time, a huge breast of chicken with terrific BBQ sauce, which was also great on the natural cut steak fries too. Best part of the meal was soaking up the sauce with the fries. The chicken was the best I had had in a while. I will definitely be back, to this location at least - well worth the wait. All in all, it was a terrific meal, and the kid recovered pretty quickly from his stomachache.