Friday, May 29, 2015

French Fry Diary 670: Landscape of Flavors, Breakfast 2015

As we headed to Landscape of Flavors that first breakfast at the Art of Animation resort on our most recent WDW stay, I was not looking forward to it. Honestly I was thinking of sneaking across the bridge to Pop Century for the better breakfast. Landscape of Flavors hasn’t been kind to me in the past, especially with breakfast, and I am sooo staying away from those tandoori potatoes.

As I was looking for some sort of potato-ey thing for breakfast I spied these big baked red potatoes. Despite the accompanying image, they looked so good, but wow, what a disappointment. They also looked (and look) seasoned but they were quite bland, seriously needing butter, salt, or even cheese… and if I'm asking for cheese on my potatoes, you know I'm desperate.

The great bacon boycott of WDW continues, as I was provided with two whole slices of bacon. Two whole slices of bacon!!! There is apparently some terrible bacon shortage that Villa Italian Kitchen at the Philadelphia Airport is blissfully unaware of. Two slices per customers is ridiculous!

For breakfast, I also had two pieces of semi-warm challah French toast from under a heat lamp and just enough syrup for one regular slice. Let me be clear, if you're not an egg guy, either in omelet or sandwich form, you are going to be screwed by breakfast at Landscape of Flavors.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

French Fry Diary 669: Tony Luke's Onion Rings

On a trip to the Borgata in Atlantic City some time ago, we visited The Cafeteria, basically a big food court in the bottom of the casino. While I was munching down on Fatburger (yum, I will post a proper review someday), The Bride went to Tony Luke's.

She got the prerequisite cheesesteak, and as part of the meal deal, she got a drink and fries. The Bride said that the battered natural cut fries didn't look so great, so she got onion rings instead. As you can see from the picture, they didn't look all that great either.

After a couple bites of these greasy looking beer battered babies, they didn't taste that great either. Nobody really wanted them and we ended up throwing them out. For the record though, the cheesesteak was great, but stay away from those rings.

Now this isn't anything against Tony Luke's. We've been there before, and love the cheesesteaks, but the onion rings are iffy at best - perhaps they should concentrate on what they're good at.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Random Tater Pic of the Day #197

After a quick run through the McDonald's drive-thru, I found this rare McDonald's Golden Fries mutant freak. Definitely potato, definitely edible, but very rare. Mmmm... freak fry...

Monday, May 18, 2015

Random Tater Pic of the Day #196

My friend Matt sent this one along, a snippet of a menu featuring something called "The Call of Cthulhu," that of course, comes with a side of fries. Mmmm... Lovecraftian horror...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

French Fry Diary 668: Chipos

There are holes in the Internet through which sometimes things slip through and vanish, except in our memories. I speak of things that not even Google can find. One we have previously talked about here at French Fry Diary is Tasti-Fries. I think I've found another - Chipos.

My recent affection for Herr's Lattice Cut potato chips brought this memory of my 1970s youth to light, as their very design is similar. Known as Chipos New Fashioned Potato Chips, they were, as described on the box, "fashioned from dried potato granules" and "flash fried." They had a criss-cross waffle pattern and texture and were relatively the same circular size.

If memory serves, this early seventies snack predated both the similar Munchos and the later Pringles, at least in my area, and memory. They came in a red and yellow box with a foil bag inside, just like Bugles do today. The back of the box detailed how they were made I recall, and I'm pretty sure they were made by Betty Crocker. Or was it General Mills? Or are they the same company?

Check out the video below for a TV commercial for Chipos, definitely from Betty Crocker.

They made a big deal of them having less grease than regular potato chips. Hmmm... So why aren't they still making them? The other thing I remember about them is that Chipos were delicious.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Random Tater Pic of the Day #195

This one is a little more unorthodox than most of our Random Tater Pics. This is from one of last year's Philadelphia Wings' games at the Whatever-They're-Calling-It-This-Week Center, that moment when Utz Potato Chips takes over the ads inside for a few seconds...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

French Fry Diary 667: The Marlton Diner

I have known this building for well over two decades. It used to be the Denny's where dear friend Anne-Sophie waitressed, and where our Rocky Horror group would go after shows. Good times, but long, long ago.

When Denny's pulled out of the South Jersey area, the restaurant was repurposed into the Marlton Diner. As the quality of the food and service at landmark Olga's Diner down the street was going downhill, it was easy for the new restaurant to claim the limelight. And when construction and removal of the Marlton Circle temporarily closed Olga's, perhaps it was the Marlton Diner that put the last nails in Olga's coffin, finally out-dinering the queen of Jersey diners.

When the Marlton Diner first opened, the food was very good, of special note for me the onion rings and milkshakes. Over the years however, and perhaps it's the lack of competition, but the food and service are not what they once were. The Bride and I stopped going altogether when she and her friends got paper sheets in their meat, after it was cooked, and management didn't care, and did nothing.

My friend Marni was having work done on her car at the Pep Boys next door, so, since I had never officially reviewed the Marlton Diner before, I figured I'd give them a second chance, and kill two birds with one stone. First thing I noticed, remembering the old Denny's, besides the slightly smaller seating area than that older restaurant, is the hideous chef statue as you enter. I am sure this thing has given many a child nightmares after eating here. Hideous, and so not appetizing.

The Marlton Diner was nearly abandoned when we went, save for the senior citizen crowd, one of whom was out in the lobby watching the TV both when we arrived, and when we left. Perhaps he was homeless? When we were seated, I found they had Pepsi not Coke, so not a good start. With no one to wait on, we listened the staff talk shop and how much they hate their jobs, and the customers. That's not quite the kind of pre-dinner entertainment I expected, but it passed the time.

I ordered my Medport Diner (the best diner in my area for my money) standby, breakfast potatoes (called home fries here) and onion rings, which in the past had been quite good. The home fries looked great, even the waitress commented so. They were however only semi-warm. And they tasted a bit off, as if they'd been sitting on the grill since the morning. They were very crispily done though. But that doesn't help if they make me sick, ya know? The French fries, which I spied at another table, were, I think, battered and regular cut. No matter, as I recall, the fries at the Marlton Diner were never very good.

The onion rings, which as I said, I remember as being really good, were also kind of meh. Only warm, they also had that vibe of sitting around for a while. Marni, because of her predilection for special ordering, got freshly made food, but it was also only okay. I took most of the home fries and the onion rings home for later. At the old Marlton, and current Medport, reheated potatoes and rings were always pretty good. Not this time. I ended up throwing it all out, as it all tasted off.

This is not high marks for this place. I have avoided the Marlton Diner for a while, and this encounter pretty much cements that I'll continue to do so. Shame.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Random Tater Pic of the Day #194

I don't remember who sent me this great pic, but these are Belgian fries from Petite Abeille in New York City. Mmmm... Belgian fries...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

French Fry Diary 666: Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips

Apples have for some time been considered a healthy alternative for the potato, fried or otherwise. Apple 'fries' are a popular substitute for real French fries at Burger King as well as other fast food chains.

The apple has also moved into the chip arena. Of the fruits and veggies traditionally dried, baked, or fried as a potato chip substitute (Brad's Raw Chips have a dazzling variety), the apple is by far the most popular. Case in point - Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips, which were brought to my attention by my friend Marni.

Bare Fruit Snacks make healthy snacks, including dried pears, mangoes, cherries, and of course apple chips. The chips, made in Washington state, are organic, kosher, gluten and fat free, with no sugar, preservatives, or additives.

Once opened, they smelled good, but quite honestly looked pretty ugly. Thick natural cuts, they might have good for dipping that they been actual potato chips. They were more dried apple than apple chips. Not a pleasant experience. Thanks, Marni, but next time I'll pass on these.

Monday, May 11, 2015

French Fry Diary 665: Pringles Rewind

The Bride recently picked up a can of Pringles Potato Crisps at the store and I noticed the can was a bit smaller than usual. On closer inspection I found the words 'rewind edition' on the can, and that it was a smaller can than usual, 4.41 oz. vs. the usual 5.96 oz. After a bit of internet research I'd found that the 'rewind edition' referred to both a return to the original logo but also the original size can.

Taking a closer look at the can and mentally putting three tennis balls in it, I thought, yeah, that's about right. I guess since I was a kid, Pringles cans had gotten bigger. Back in the mid-1970s, amongst Marathon Bars, Evel Knievel Stunt Sets, and Wacky Packs, potato chips in tennis cans showed up. Pringles called themselves the 'newfangled potato chip,' but that's what we all thought of them as, because the packaging was identical to the cans tennis balls came in.

The charm wore off rather quickly once we all figured out how bland Pringles tasted. I came back to them when they started adding flavors, mostly the BBQ, as you can see from my reviews here.

On closer examination of the rewind can, a thought occurred to me. They should go back to this size. One, the price would be lower, and two, you can reach the bottom of the can easier with these smaller cans. There's a comfort issue with the cans that Pringles should pounce on. This is a good thing.

Friday, May 08, 2015

French Fry Diary 664: Ore-Ida Bold & Crispy BBQ Oven Chips

Folks who are regular readers of FFD know that I'm a barbeque guy, both the grilling and the flavoring. If I find a new potato chip and BBQ is available I will always lean toward that flavor, so when I heard that Ore-Ida's new Bold & Crispy line had a BBQ French fry, I was all in.

When you open the bag there is a wonderful aroma, almost that of good barbeque potato chips. The 'fries' are rather thin for this type of disc-shaped fry, rippled like Ruffles, and heavily seasoned to a bright orange. They were not yet even cooked and I had very high hopes for these 'chips.'

Okay, first things first, the directions are more like suggestions. About half of what I got were cooked perfectly, and the rest were black burnt. So keep an eye on the oven while cooking and use your best guess. The burnt chips were inedible but the others were very good, like a very thick potato chip with a soft hot inside. There's a bit of heat, but it's good heat, and hot enough to have a beverage handy.

I liked these Oven Chips quite a bit, so far the best of the Bold & Crispy bunch, highly recommended.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Random Tater Pic of the Day #193

Even the Black Canary dips her French fries in her milkshake.

For more French fry/milkshake dipping, click here, for my review of the "Arrow" episode this image is from, click here, and for all of my reviews of the "Arrow" TV series, click here.

Don't forget, French Fry Diary is also on Pinterest, Facebook, and I also frequently post French fry-related content on my own Twitter as well. See you on the interwebs.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

French Fry Diary 663: Fries by State

Northern Spy Co. in New York
Flipboard is one of those apps that used to be cool, but then they upgraded, and shortly thereafter ceased to be useful. Sometimes new and improved is just not better. I rarely even use the app any more, and I'm unsure if it's even still on my iPhone, but I still do get occasional emails from them. The one that caught my eye yesterday was of course about the favorite fried food.

The article was about fries from every state, fifty-two pages of them, each with an image and a short blurb, compiled by Emmie Martin of Business Insider. Not that I don't love French fries, but wow, it must have been a slow news day for Business Insider. Either way, nice job, Ms. Martin.

Bourbon Steak in Florida
If nothing else, the list makes a good base for a French fries bucket list. I will definitely have to seek out the Burger Box food truck way up in North Jersey, which as I've pointed out before, is like a completely different state. I would say that Chickie & Pete's is definitely the best I know of in Pennsylvania, but I wonder if other fry places in Maryland and Idaho get tired of always hearing about Thrasher's and the Boise Fry Company?

I guess I will now update my recommendations and fry bucket lists. I especially look forward to trying Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wyoming - but specifically Blue Duck Tavern in Washington DC, Northern Spy Food Co. in New York, and Bourbon Steak in Florida.

Again, you can check out the article here. Mmmm... fries...

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

French Fry Diary 662: Nathan's Kettle Cooked Crinkle Cut Potato Chips

Now I've reviewed them before and I'm quite fond of Nathan's Potato Chips, the thick crinkle cut style. On a recent stop at the fryless Nathan's at the Thomas Edison rest stop on the NJ Turnpike, I saw these chips - kettle cooked crinkle cuts. I figured I'd give them a try.

First things first. The bag was so hard to open (I eventually gave up and just used a scissors) I thought perhaps I was mistaken and had actually bought it at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.

These are almost identical to the other chips in every way except for the kettle cooking. The chips are too crunchy and too greasy. It's almost as they were trying to ruin them. But I can't really say that. I don't like these, perhaps someone does.

Monday, May 04, 2015

French Fry Diary 661: Holy Land Pizza

Friends Judy and Marc insisted I try the fries at Holy Land Pizza in the Rhawnhurst area of Philadelphia. One of their favorite restaurants. And I trust them. They turned me on to Burger.Org and also New Harmony, a vegetarian Chinese restaurant, that believe or not, I actually enjoyed.

They have a rather large and varied ethnic menu online, but once there, we got a one sheet. That had this catastrophically picky eater worried, but it was cool, I just got the fries.

They were frozen fries, maybe freezer burned, deep fried. Not bad, but not great. The portion size is gigantic. Their small is considerably bigger than most pizza places' large orders. I gotta say though, I was not impressed. Sorry, Judy and Marc, I guess you can't win them all. The company was as always good however. You guys rock.