Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #180

For the last day of the TCM Classic Cruise, at breakfast at Lumiere's, my luck finally ran out. We still got that terrific grilled ham, but they were all out of the roasted red breakfast potatoes. Here come those big ol' hash brown planks. It's cool, the ham was great, but I am sad the cruise is over. Maybe we'll do the next one...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #179

More breakfast potatoes, these are from Cabanas, roasted redskin breakfast potatoes with crispy onions and peppers - from the TCM Classic Cruise on board the Disney Magic. Mmmmm...

Friday, December 26, 2014

French Fry Diary 638: Kettle Brand Oven Fries

Kettle Brand makes some incredible potato chips. Among my favorites are the Sweet & Salty, the Maple Bacon, and especially their wonderful baked Real Sliced Potatoes variety. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found out they were going into the French fries business.

Kettle Brand has entered the market, just the Whole Foods Market, in my area at least, with frozen potato wedges called oven fries. What's curious is I can't seem to find any info on them on their website. I know they are also available in Roasted Garlic, Salt + Fresh Ground Pepper, Sea Salt, and Rosemary + Garlic, but I couldn't find them any trace of them online. I even asked their usually very helpful Twitter account to no avail.

I tried the Sea Salt variety. As with most Kettle Brand products, these frozen natural cut potato wedges are gluten free, all natural, no preservatives, no transfats, no GMO, no nothing but potatoes, and some other stuff, but nothing that sounds harmful. Unlike most potato wedges however, they seem to be unbattered, we'll see how that works out.

Out of the oven they were not quite what I expected. Soft and hot, but only but a little bit crispy. I guess I could have cooked them a bit longer but that wasn't the real problem. These wedges were pretty much flavorless and needed seasoning bad. Once I gave them a bit of a kick with some Mrs. Dash, and dipped them in barbeque sauce they were much better.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

French Fry Diary 637: Hanukkah Latkes 2014

For several years now this well meaning Episcopal husband has tried to make potato latkes for his Jewish wife once a year for Hanukkah. Past attempts have not gone well. Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes it's an epic fail.

This time I tried a new tact. Armed with my new waffle maker purchased earlier in the year that has become my favorite way to make tater tots, I tried to use it for potato latkes.

Taking a mixture of grated potatoes, chopped onions, an egg or two, and a variety of spices, I dropped it on the waffle maker and went to town. Not too shabby, The Bride gave them and me a letter grade of B+. Happy Hanukkah.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

French Fry Diary 636: Lumiere's Dinner - TCM Cruise Day Five

What is it about people complaining? I told you about the woman at breakfast this morning, well, the man at dinner tonight, who split up our service team, and make a spectacle of himself in front of the entire restaurant was something else altogether. Apparently he was someone special, or thought he was someone special. The rest of his party certainly didn't agree and looked very embarrassed.

He had insisted on an oval or round table in a restaurant that only had square and rectangle
tables. I'm not sure how that can be rectified. He was also very unhappy that his party was in the corner - a nice private corner that I would have been very happy with. He was obviously not, and told anyone within yelling distance.

Well, he put on quite a show for a few minutes before the dust settles. His new seating being across the room, our service team was split, but it was okay. Dinner was very good, some beef, green beans (haricots verts for the fancy set), and garlic mashed potatoes. I also got a side order of those terrific steak fries. A great dinner, and a show.

Monday, December 22, 2014

French Fry Diary 635: Lumiere's Breakfast - TCM Cruise Day Five

With no distractions today, we were up bright and early for breakfast at Lumiere's for that terrific grilled ham and even better roasted red breakfast potatoes. What greeted us at the doorway to the restaurant was a bit more than the usual happy 'good morning,' smiles, and wet wipes. There was a woman ahead of us who was angry and bitching to whoever would listen to her.

She was mad about the sun in her yes so they reseated her, then she was mad about the water. Not the water in her water glass, mind you, the water she could see through the windows. It was moving. This bugged her.

Really?? You're on the TCM Classic Cruise, on board the frigging Disney Magic, in the middle of the Caribbean. Are you kidding me? You could be in Afghanistan, get some perspective, you old bag. Rant over. I just couldn't believe it.

I, on the other hand, was very happy. The ham was perfect. And the breakfast potatoes were also perfect, more white potatoes than red. I suppose I could have complained about that, but I'm not that old woman. I don't think she could ever be happy. Still no one beats the old man we experienced at dinner that night. I'll tell you about him tomorrow.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

French Fry Diary 634: Lumiere's Breakfast - TCM Cruise Day Four

On this morning the TCM Cruise on board the Disney Cruise docked at Key West. Upon re-entering the United States there was a whole immigration thing that had to be done, so we had to be at a certain place at a certain time with our passports, 8:30AM to be exact. A bit of a hassle and we never had to do it before, but there you go.

To make things even more difficult, I wanted ham for breakfast and The Bride had an excursion at 8:45. Lumiere's, the place for ham, didn't open until 8:00, so we had our "Mission: Impossible" for the morning. We arrived at Luminere's just before they opened, and while waiting, struck up a conversation with a nice couple from southern Florida. So animated was the discussion, the waiters thought we were together and seated us thusly. No problem, new friends were welcome.

With our need for speed, I got right to the point when ordering - a couple pieces of ham and some breakfast potatoes - hoping I got the awesome roasted redskin potatoes and not those hideous McDonald's hash brown planks. The clock started ticking. Our new friends' breakfasts arrived, then The Bride's. I began to think that maybe simple was not the way to go.

Then at 8:24 my breakfast arrived, and wow, was it worth it. Several pieces of ham and a copious serving of breakfast potatoes... only I had just a few minutes to eat it. I happily wolfed down what I could, and what I did have was perfect. I think we will be coming back to Luminere's for breakfast the next day, with more time on our hands.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

French Fry Diary 633: Carioca's - TCM Cruise Day Three

The dinner on the third day on board the Disney Magic during the TCM Cruise 2014 brought us back to Carioca's.

For an appetizer I got something called Chicken Bastela. According to the menu, that's Moroccan Spiced shredded Chicken wrapped in Phyllo-dough and sprinkled with Powdered Sugar and Cinnamon, with a Vegetable Almond Slaw. These I liked quite a bit, yum.

For my entrée I got the Grilled Grain-fed NY Strip steak that came with Cheddar Cheese and Onion Smashed Baked Potato, Roasted Green Asparagus and a Red Wine Jus. Yeah, that's also from the menu verbatim. The steak was good, very delicious, once I got around the fat. This catastrophically picky eater was not digging the asparagus and tomato flavored mashed potatoes. So far, this has not been a terrific cruise food-wise. I'm digging the breakfasts at least.

Friday, December 05, 2014

The Physics of the Perfect French Fry

Sadly, I won't be able to attend this event, but maybe some of you out there will.

The Physics of the Perfect French Fry, hosted by Dr. Scott Paulson, a French fry enthusiast and physics and astronomy professor from James Madison University, this event will take place Monday evening at 6 PM at National Mechanics in Philadelphia. He'll be talking about all the ins and outs of fries, as well as the actual science behind it.

More details can be found here, let me know if you go, what you've learned, and most of all - how were the fries!

Thanks to Dom, Brian, and Carol for all hipping me to this one. You guys rock!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #177

Today's Somebody Else's Fries come from Pete's Boiler Bites, a new addition on board the Disney Magic, during the TCM Cruise 2014. Mickey Mouse's arch-foe Pete served The Bride up a fish sandwich and some natural cut French fries for lunch on the third day of the cruise. You can tell they're The Bride's from the cheese. ;-)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

French Fry Diary 632: Cabanas - TCM Cruise Day Three

We had a surprise this morning. Either someone complained, the staff was needed elsewhere, or they decided we didn't have Ebola and we're capable of serving ourselves - but today we were allowed to serve ourselves.

The waitstaff kept trying to hand us wet wipes for after we used spoons and tongs like perpetual motion machines, but still.

The great self-service buffet ban was over!

The potatoes were awesome, and this morning I was able to get some bacon done the way I liked it - and more than two pieces(!). The mood on this morning was considerably better. And not just for me, for everyone at Cabanas.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #176

These steak frites are from the Lucky Bones Backwater Grille in Cape May over the Thanksgiving weekend. This might have been my GAR! Podcast partner Ray's Thanksgiving dinner, but they saved this for Saturday night. Some folks are living the life, eh?

Monday, December 01, 2014

French Fry Diary 631: Sweet Potatoes Vs. Yams

Last week I posted some really cool pics from my friend Robin Renee of her Homemade Vegan Sweet Potato Pies. A conversation via text later indicated that Robin didn't think they were technically sweet potatoes, but yams instead. This got me thinking about what the real difference between sweet potatoes and yams actually was… and therein I discovered quite the conspiracy.

It would seem that what we think of in America as yams are really just sweet potatoes, just another variety of them. We've been calling them the wrong name for years. It's just like those French taking credit for fries from the Belgians, we've been giving yummy sweet potatoes the name yams when they are not yams at all. You can read about what's really what in the world of yams and sweet potatoes here.

And while we're sort of on the subject of Robin Renee and the holidays, you might want to check out these two YouTube videos, "Hare Krishna Christmas" and "The Yule Song." Enjoy!