Tuesday, May 24, 2016

French Fry Diary 703: Whole Cuts

This potato snack, Whole Cuts, comes from Calbee, the same notorious company that makes shrimp chips, seaweed chips, and yes, the infamous French fries in a can. At once I was wary, but as with many things on this blog - I try it so you won't have to.

"Cut like a fry, crisp like a chip." is what the hype says, and these gluten free snacks claim natural simplicity with no preservatives and no artificial flavors. The ingredients are just potatoes, oil, and salt.

After I got into the nearly unopenable package (so tough to open these could have been sold at Trader Joe's), the Whole Cuts had the look of natural cut shoestrings but felt dry and firm and more solid. These were very crunchy and have a thorough potato flavor with just the right amount of salt.

Not bad and quite the crunchy little snack, these were much better than I at first thought they would be. Granted, Whole Cuts wouldn't be my first choice as a snack, but these were quite good.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fries of New York

Fellow Biff Bam Popper, author, and musician, Luke Sneyd hipped me to this quite some time ago, in fact a while ago when the exhibition was still running back in November of 2012. Even though these things sometimes slip through the cracks of the internet, the exhibition is still cool, and findable on the webs.

Sponsored by Sir Kensington's, makers of cool spiced ketchups, the company put together this awesome pop-up attraction called "Fries of New York: An Uncommon Exhibit" at 168 Bowery in New York City. Eighty different French fries from various New York restaurants participated and no left hungry as cocoa and chili-dusted waffle fries were served. Man, I wish I could've been there.

An article about "Fries of New York" can be found here, along with images on Instagram here, and all the great stuff at the Sir Kensington's website too. Mmm… fries… And thanks, Luke!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

French Fry Diary 702: Wise Potato Chips

There was a time, decades ago in the late sixties and early seventies, with their see-through bags and friendly owl mascot, Peppy, when Wise potato chips were not so great. I recall them being too thin and just a bit greasy. The big exception was their BBQ chips, which were and are the best of that flavor and style. I've reviewed those right here.

In recent years it seems that Wise has improved their chips. They are thicker and nowhere near as greasy as I remember. They're quite good, almost as if they've switched places with Herr's, whose quality has dropped as Wise has gotten better. These days, if given a choice, in most cases if choose Wise.

Wise chips come in a variety of flavors, including the various BBQ that you already know about, Salt & Vinegar, and Onion & Garlic, another favorite. They also have Unsalted and Lightly Salted, Ridgies, Kettle, and Deli chips. Some of those are available in Reduced Fat as well.

I have tried tracking a few of them down using the 'Find a Store' function on their website, but so far it has not been accurate. Rather than waste more gas, I have just given up. Yes, I could try calling ahead, but I have found the customer service of some grocery stores even less accurate.

Either way, Wise makes darn good potato chips, and if I could ever find Barbecue Ridgies, I would not only buy them, I'd eat 'em and review 'em too. Thumbs up to Wise.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016

Sardines, Fries, and Champagne

The Hot Sardines are a very cool jazz band who have performed on the TCM Classic Cruise both years I've attended, they really rock. And that's great, you're wondering, but what's it got to do with the favorite fried food?

Their new album, titled French Fries + Champagne, comes out on June 17th, so I thought I'd give it a bit of promotion, after all, I like them almost as much as French fries…

You can find them on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and their own website. You can pre-order the new album, as well as lots of other cool swag here.

And just for the record (Heh, see what I did there?), champagne goes great with French fries…

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

French Fry Diary 701: Trader Joe's Ode to the Classic Potato Chip

Okay, I confess. I'm a victim of semi-clever marketing. The new issue of Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer arrived the other day, thankfully a booklet again rather than the ugly and unwieldy folded one-sheet it was for a while. On the front page, a ten ounce bag for only $1.99, was Trader Joe's Ode to the Classic Potato Chip potato chips.

Waxing poetic, like a J. Peterman catalog entry, the chips are described as plain and simple classic chips, made from chipping potatoes, sunflower oil, and salt. The ad
words maintain that if one remembers traditional potato chips from their childhood, these are those chips. Yeah, I fell for it. I couldn't wait to open them and see if I'd been tricked or not. I had my fingers crossed, but sadly it didn't help.

There was nothing really special about these chips other than the ad copy. They were neither spectacular nor nostalgic, and if I'm being honest, they were more than a little greasy. These were just okay potato chips, and I am just a sucker as a consumer. I'll remember not to fall for this trick again.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

French Fry Diary 700: Fatburger

According to their advertising, Fatburger is the last great hamburger stand. And they are. This stuff is addictive, and, important to note, all cooked to order. Started in the 1940s by Lovie Yancy. The original restaurant was in her garage, and it's been franchised since the 1980s. They have become well known for their progressively bigger and bigger burgers, but their French fries are just as famous.

Fatburger has steak fries (Fat Fries) and shoestrings (Skinny Fries), perfectly deep fried 'til crispy on the outside and soft and hot on the inside. And as I said, cooked to order - no heat lamp fries - they don't drop 'em until your burger's done and ready to go with 'em. The same goes with the Homemade Onion Rings. These thin crispy beauties are probably the best of the fast food onion rings, big and thin and crispy - yum!

The Skinny Fries are similar in look to McDonald's French fries, but that's where the similarity ends. These are significantly crispier, excellent dipping into one of Fatburger's awesome thick shakes. The Fat Fries however are the best, vastly superior to many of the standard steak fries out there, very recommended.

The burgers are good, made to order with a variety of ways and patties and toppings, including fried eggs. Always hand formed and cooked medium well at their open grill as you watch. Great burgers with only one complaint from this camp - a bit too much pepper, but you can always ask them to go light on it.

Either of the two kinds of fries, or the onion rings, are good for planking on the burger. And as I said, all of the above are good for dipping in the wonderfully thick shakes that Fatburger makes - also to order. A bonus order when I was there last was a fries and rings combo for half the price of a large order of either. And rumor has it they also have hash browns for morning breakfasts and brunches.

This all goes to show why Fatburger is so big and loved in some parts of the country. Despite there only being a few in this area (the one I frequent is in the Borgata Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, and is always the highlight of any trip to the place), it is still widely unknown around here. It's a secret well worth keeping, after we don't want everyone to know where the good stuff is, right?

The customer service is top notch at the Borgata Fatburger. Tenacity and friendliness of the counterstaff is a great shield against what one might suspect in a late night casino food court filled with possibly loud drunks. And then there's also those pesky rewards cards and discounts that casinos have. They handle it well, and with a smile.

Thumbs up all around for Fatburger, highly recommended.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Potato Chip Soda??

Yes, it's true, Potato Chip-Flavored Soda, but only in Japan of course. And they're manufactured by the Namco, yeah, the videogame company. You can read all about it here.

Somehow I think the Cola-Flavored Potato Chips might be tastier than the Potato Chip-Flavored Soda…