Friday, October 31, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #169

This one comes from friend, musician, and writer Robin Renee (check out her new website and let her know what you think!) just in time for Halloween.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fries for Keeping Away the Vampires

If you go to Red Robin tomorrow for Halloween until 5 PM you'll be able to get $3 off your lunch if you upgrade to their New Garlic Herbed Fries. Restrictions apply, and at participating restaurants only.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

French Fry Diary 621: Phily Diner

I recently talked about afterparties over at Biff Bam Pop!, ones that go horribly horribly wrong. This entry here is about one much less sinister, or depending on your health outlook, maybe just as bad. We are talking about French fries, after all.

The South Jersey Writers' Group has their official meeting once a month and afterward some of the members get together for an afterparty of sorts at a nearby bar or restaurant, more for pleasure than business, just to talk shop casually, or not. It's just fun, and we also wanted to celebrate a little, friend and Biff Bam Pop! colleague Marie Gilbert had just released her book, Roof Oasis. We had exhausted our welcome and our tolerance of the nearby Applebee's, and Rexy's Bar stopped serving food after a certain time, so we had been looking for somewhere new, and someone suggested the Phily Diner.

The Phily Diner is a cross between a loud sports bar and a typical Jersey diner, and no matter where you look, it's as if neon exploded in there. Sports bar and neon aside, there are still a few of those creepy life-size chef statues around the place to prove it's still a tacky Jersey diner. And remember those fresh off the mimeograph papers we had waaay back in grade school? We even had a couple menus like that. 

The place was surprisingly crowded and loud for a Thursday night. But that being said, we had also retreated from Applebee's because it too was too noisy. One can only surmise that Thursday is party night in Bellmawr and Runnemede. Perhaps because of the crowd and the noise, the service was painfully slow. And when I say slow, I mean sloooooow.

Everyone wanted to help me write the review so potato products were gotten by almost all. Amy Holiday wanted to compare the Phily's Chesapeake fries to the Pop Shop's Louisiana fries. I didn't think there'd be any comparison, as the Pop Shop is the best. They were heavily seasoned waffle fries with white cheddar cheese on the side. A little greasy but very good hot and Amy said they were better with the cheese.

Janice Wilson got the potato skins, very tasty looking half-potatoes well cooked with generous bacon and orange cheddar cheese. They looked really good, but how could they not be, because bacon. Mieke Zamora-Mackay got the chip burger, a burger with, you got it, potato chips on it. She liked it, and it had some chili, sour cream, green onions, and of course potato chips on it. Authors Jennifer M. Eaton, Krista Magrowski, and Jim Knipp might have also gotten potato-ey goodness too, but they were down the other end of the table.

I just got the fries, and as everyone else's food arrived I began to see that everything was waffle fries. I was kinda disappointed as I was looking forward to the steak fries I had seen on the website, but was resigned to the cross-cross potato variety. Imagine my surprise when a plate full of regular cuts arrived in front of me. These were deep fried frozen fries with a wonderful crisp skin and hot soft inside. The chocolate shake I also got was thick and good.

While the food was very good, and the company was excellent, the customer service was not, and the wait was horrendous. It might be better at a different time, but for now, not a good time and we probably won't be returning. Don't forget to pick up Marie's book Roof Oasis and the new SJWG anthology Reading Glasses.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wasabi Ginger Wins

While I was away, the Lay's Do Us a Flavor Contest was resolved, and a winner chosen.

The new Lay's flavor is Wasabi Ginger, and surprisingly the lady who suggested this wild flavor is actually local to me - Meneko Spigner McBeth of Westville NJ. Congratulations!

And special thanks go to Jen, and Ray, and all the other folks who hipped me to this. You all rock.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fries by Mail

Friend and frequent French Fry Diary contributor Cindy hipped me to this one. Pittsburgh based Primanti Bros. will soon be sending their food all over the country by mail.

Their specialty sandwiches that are stuffed with fries and cole slaw make eating one-handed, while you drive, or do whatever, much easier. They are also famous for their Smallman Street Fries. You can learn more here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Perfectly Baked Italian Herb French Fries

Perfectly Baked Italian Herb French Fries

Ingredients: 2 large Russet potatoes, with skin on, 1 1/2 teaspoon Italian Herb Seasoning, 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil (canola or vegetable oil will work fine), good pinch coarse salt and fresh ground pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Take your washed and dried potatoes and slice longways about 1" thick. Take those slices and cut into fries, keeping your size the same to ensure they cook up evenly.

Place cut fries into a pile on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and seasoning and toss. Spread potato fries evenly across baking sheet. Liberally sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.

Bake in 425 degrees oven for 25-30 minutes. At 20 minutes check your fries and toss if starting to brown. Let cook for additional 5-10 minutes until they are browned and crisp.

I came across this by way of the Just-Potatoes group over at Aggie's Kitchen. You can see the whole recipe with more delicious images and commentary here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #167

The infamous seafood flavors of Pringles potato crisps that were introduced briefly in Japan - Grilled Shrimp, Seaweed, and Soft-Shell Crab.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Random Tater Pic(s) of the Day #166

Not really potatoes, but still fun. These fried cinnamon apple rings come courtesy of Virgin Radio Toronto, via Marni on the Facebook.

The recipe: BATTER FRIED APPLE RINGS 1 c flour 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 2 tbsp. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 3/4 c. milk 1 egg 4 lg. apples Sugar and cinnamon Sift dry ingredients. Add milk and egg, beating well. Peel and core apples. Slice into 1/4 inch rings. Dip rings in batter and fry in 1/2 inch hot shortening until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture.


Friday, October 03, 2014

Wild West Wedges with Cranberry Catsup

I found this one on the Just-Potatoes Yahoo! Group, but it's originally from the Ocean Spray website.

Ingredients: 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch thick lengthwise wedges, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided, 3 teaspoon sea salt, divided, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 cup chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons chopped seeded jalapeno chiles, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 cup Ocean Spray Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, 3 tablespoons Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice, 1 teaspoon chipotle flavored hot sauce, 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place sweet potatoes on large baking sheet with sides. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the salt, the chili powder and onion powder. Toss to coat; spread on pan so potatoes aren’t touching. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until fork tender, turning once half way through cooking.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeno chiles; cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, allspice and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; cook for 1 minute. Stir in cranberries, cranberry juice, hot sauce and maple syrup. Cook until cranberries start to pop. Pour mixture into food processor bowl with metal blade. Process until smooth. Serve with sweet potato wedges.

Makes 4 servings

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #165

Today's Somebody Else's Fries is a bit different. My good friend, musician and writer Robin Renee, sent me her breakfast from a while back - potato tofu scramble w/ fresh garden herbs. Yum!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

French Fry Diary 620: Wild Ophelia BBQ Potato Chips Chocolate Bar

This was one of the treats I was looking forward to in my Christmas present from friends Dom and Cindy this year. As you might recall, they gave me the gift of some very odd potato chips variations. One I was eager to try was this - Wild Ophelia All Natural Smokehouse BBQ Potato Chips Dark Chocolate Bar.

There are a few companies involved here in this unusual flavor combination - Wild Ophelia, Vosges, and The Billy Goat Chip Company. Supposedly it's all about connecting American farmers with chocolate. To that end we have here 70% cacao dark chocolate and Russet Burbank Potatoes mixed up in this all natural, gluten free, with no preservatives, treat.

It came in a slim fancy hard paper sleeve and was sealed in foil inside. Once opened, there was an overwhelming but good dark chocolate aroma. It's a rich dark chocolate, perhaps too rich, and like most potato chip candy bars, the chips are crushed up into tiny pieces and mixed into the chocolate.

Quite honestly the chip to chocolate ratio is quite low, but when you do bite a crunch you do get that spicy slow burn smokehouse barbecue flavor. That said, I wish there was more chip, and quite possibly a milk chocolate instead. I think this dark stuff might be too rich for my blood.

This was a nice treat, not as good as others of this type I've had, but pretty good. I'd have this again. Thank you, Dom and Cindy!