Monday, January 20, 2014

French Fry Diary 554: Donkey's Onion Rings

Folks who read my first review of Donkey's Place knows I loved it. On my second visit, I got their huge unique cheesesteak with Whiz, plus an order of their onion rings so I could write about them here.

Wow. Like the sandwiches and the order of fries we got last time, they were huge. Big deep fried thick beer battered onion rings in an equally gigantic cup. The cup was roughly the size of a Super Big Gulp at 7-Eleven. Wow.

The sandwich was just as fantastic as the first time, and better with the Whiz, and the rings were among the best beer batter I've had in quite a while. Another terrific meal, I can't wait to go back!

Friday, January 17, 2014

French Fry Diary 553: Victory Beer Hall, Xfinity Live

I have been a Philadelphia Wings season ticket holder for nearly a quarter of a century. When I first started going to games, we had a fierce team that constantly won and took us to the championship several times. The last decade or so however has been lean, and I'm being kind.

The Bride renewed our season tickets this year automatically. Had it been up to me, I wouldn't have, or at the very least there would have been some discussion. With the lean years for the team, management has been less giving to the fans, and especially the faithful season ticket holders. For example, they threw us a party, where we had to pay outrageous stadium prices for the food. As if sixteen dollars per game to park wasn't enough. It goes up every year, soon it will be more to park than it is to buy a ticket.

Nevertheless, that's not what I'm here to talk about. The party, where we also got to meet the new players, and the remaining old players, as well as mascot Mad Dog, was at the Victory Beer Hall, inside the Xfinity Live sports bar complex at the center of the three stadiums in Philadelphia. Nice place for the most part, tables and benches, a stage, many big screen TVs, no complaints really.

The Bride ordered loaded fries with cheese, bacon, and scallions. These natural cuts came in a big portion and I thought they were pretty good. She said she thought they would have been better if they used Cheez Whiz instead of whipped cheddar. She is originally a Philly girl, so she does know her Whiz. I don't know though, I kinda liked them.

I got a burger with a side of homemade BBQ potato chips. The burger wasn't bad, but then again, I got it plain, so it wasn't as piled high as some we saw. It was good, but it wasn't ten dollars good, which is what they charged. The chips had a good big crunch, got cold quick and were a bit overseasoned, but
they had a good kick when I put them on the burger. That was great.

The portions were huge. Folks around us also ordered massive (4"x8") stuffed baked potatoes and a giant soft pretzel that filled a 12" plate. That was seriously big, and it fed a family of three, and they were so full they thought they would be sick.

The party had a good turn out despite my (and a lot of fans) being disenchanted with the team the past few years. The team was enthusiastic, and while they did not win their first home game last week, they gave a hell of an exciting game. Let's hope for the best for the rest of the season. Go Wings!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #128

The breast potato ever. No further comment needed.

From The Daily Mail, and brought to my attention by my friend Frank on the Facebook.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #127

Today's random pic comes to us from the other Mrs. Walker (no relation), who tipped me to these great French Fry Print leggings at the Deb Shops Online.

Deb Shops also has sushi and donut ones too, but I'll leave that for the folks with those blogs. ;-) Thanks, Jen!

Friday, January 10, 2014

All That and a Bag of Chips

Dom and Cindy are dear friends and loyal readers of this blog. You might know them as they accompanied The Bride and me on one of our Disney trips and cruises, and are both regular contributors here as well. This Christmas they gave me a very thoughtful and French Fry Diary centric gift.

Last Christmas The Bride got me a bag of rare chips from Anchor Food Finds. Dom and Cindy kinda did the same thing, but they did it in their own, seeking out the rare chips themselves from all over their local Maryland area. Dom took great delight in finding some real oddities.

So over the next few weeks and months, I will be featuring reviews from this terrific gift package that included some odd and arcane potato chip flavors and styles, as well as some potato chip candy bars. Thank you for the generous and thoughtful gift, Dom and Cindy!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

French Fry Diary 552: Dunkin' Donuts Hash Browns 2014

On a recent episode of The GAR! Podcast, my partner Ray Cornwall espoused the virtues of Dunkin' Donuts Hash Browns. You can hear that episode here. I knew I had reviewed them once, and talked about them again a year later, and was more than unimpressed. Ray raved about them, so I felt it might be time to try them again.

Despite Ray's description of them as UFOs and flat pancakes (not necessarily incorrect or accurate either), I knew as soon as I saw them, these were the same hash brown discs I had tried years ago. These hash browns are inch wide, quarter inch high discs of shaped potato bits, similar to the offerings at, as I've said before, Burger King and Chick-fil-A.

When I saw them pulled from a drawer where they had been kept since a first deep fry, then put into a quick bake oven, I shuddered. This was not going to be pretty. They put them in a bag this time rather than a cup, but they still stuck together in a nasty greasy way.

These hash brown-ettes do have an herbal spicy kick (I'm still betting on Mrs. Dash), but that's not enough to recommend them. I imagine they might be good if they were hot and not so greasy, but I get the feeling they cannot be found thus. Sounds like Ray might have found that one percent occurrence.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

French Fry Diary 551: Fried Rice Potatoes

I was in Shop-Rite picking up a few items for dinner and snacks while we were buried in one of the big snow storms a few days back, when something in the fresh and hot Chinese buffet section (Asian Chef by Mikado, according to the receipt attached) of the store caught my eye. Fried Rice Potatoes.

There, amongst a couple different varieties of chicken, was a serving pan of thick potato chunks cut crinkle cut style, looking similar to Nathan's fries, with pepper chips, sitting under a heat lamp and a sign that read 'Fried Rice Potatoes.' There was no rice involved, and neither the server nor Google were much help so I don't know where the name was derived from, or even if it was a typo.

So I scooped up some honey chicken, some teriyaki chicken, and a healthy portion of the fried rice potatoes and headed home, anxiously waiting to reheat and enjoy this treat for later.

When I got home I reheated two ways, microwave and baked in the oven. As might be expected, the baked food was better. The potatoes had a solid baked potato vibe plus a kick from whatever they were marinating in, very tasty. The chicken wasn't bad either. I will definitely be getting this again.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

French Fry Diary 550: Little Shanty 2014

No more Smashburger for New Year's Day, not since discovering Little Shanty in Warren NJ. Now we have a new tradition. I love this place. We arrived just after they opened at noon, and I was surprised and pleased to find them quite busy.

Our mission this time out was to try the homemade chips. I'm glad I brought my appetite because we ordered big - burgers, fries, a shake, sea salt and vinegar chips for The Bride and BBQ chips for me. We were both pretty psyched for the chips.

You know that sound a vinyl record used to make when you pulled the needle off of it suddenly? Yeah, that screeching brake sound. Just a moment after I typed that last part into my iPhone, we were informed by our server that they 'didn't have any chips made right now.' As substitute we got the fabulous onion rings and a side salad. I can't say I wasn't disappointed, but hey, what could I do?

The burgers were awesome, as were Grandma's Fries, natural cut shoestrings with deep fried onions. That combination is something else. These are formidable fries, among the best. And the onion rings, specifically Angus & Patty's Almost Famous Onion Rings, are also among the best.

Jonathan the owner came out, it was nice to put a face to the name. He was busy doing prep when we came in. He apologized about the chips, having had a couple employees call out. It was New Year's Day after all. Very nice man, we talked a bit about Pomme Frites in NYC and the demise of Olga's Diner down near me.

He even gave us dessert on the house, including the luscious and decadent deep fried Twinkie (they also have Oreos and Milky Way candy bars), that alone is worth the trip. The batter they use is perfect for this kind of dessert, rivaling similar treats at Cookes of Dublin and the British Chip Shop. Good stuff.

We didn't finish our lunch and had to take some home with us. A pleasure to walk out with Little Shanty bags of food for later (the burger and rings were still pretty awesome reheated at home). We will have to come here more often. Jonathan, good to finally meet you and thank you so much for taking care of us. Everyone else, you have to check this place out. Excellent food, excellent service, highly recommended.

You can find Little Shanty at their website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.