Wednesday, June 29, 2016

French Fry Diary 707: Donkey's Place Too 2016

One of the places definitely on my South Jersey Farewell Tour was Donkey's Place. In Florida, it's doubtful I'll be able to get a proper cheesesteak, let alone the best and most unique cheesesteak in South Jersey, so before I move away I had to visit Donkey's again.

The Dark Crystal was in from San Francisco, and my GAR! Podcast partner Ray was also down from North Jersey, so, along with The Bride, it was time for another French Fry Diary road trip. Donkey's Place Too in Medford was crowded and hopping the Saturday afternoon we went, barely a place to sit and we briefly discussed finding somewhere outdoorsy to eat our lunch, when a table opened up.

We sat in the booth below the huge picture of the legendary Bob Lucas, who ran Donkey's Place in Camden. The Bride and I got our regular cheesesteaks with onions and cheddar, and introduced Ray to the same, while Crystal bucked tradition and got a chicken cheesesteak. We of course also got fries to share while waiting for our main course to arrive at the table.

I've talked about these seasoned regular cuts before. They are always especially good while hot and good with cheese on the side for dipping. The cheesesteak is fantastic, and unlike any other you'll find, and remember, I hipped you all to Donkey's long before Anthony Bourdain ever heard of it. I am really going to miss this place and this food. Donkey's is the best.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

French Fry Diary 706: Wai Lana Chips

These snack chips made from cassava rather than potato began to show up at local Wawas maybe a year or two ago, and yes, I'm just getting around to reviewing them now. Wai Lana the person is apparently the world's most famous yoga teacher, watched by millions worldwide on television. She's not just a teacher or media phenomenon, and it's not just a cassava chip, Wai Lana is a lifestyle.

All that said, on to the chips. Cassava is a root vegetable native to the South American tropics. According to the packaging, these cassava chips have 30% less fat than regular potato chips, and they're also gluten free with zero transfats. Furthermore they have no GMOs, cholesterol, artificial flavors or preservatives. They come in a dazzling variety of Asian inspired flavors including sweet & sour and Tai curry & lime, also lime chili, as well as more traditional ones like sea salt & vinegar and barbeque.

I chose three flavors to try - the Sweet & Sour, Thai Curry & Lime, and my favorite potato chip flavor, Barbeque. The chips actually look similar in size and shape to the various air popped chips out there.

I didn't really get a sweet and sour taste from the Sweet & Sour, not sure what the flavor was, but it wasn't bad. The Thai Curry & Lime had a tiny bit of a kick to them, with the lime really standing out. The Barbeque was very smoky but without the sweet vibe that flavor needs.

These weren't bad, and were certainly tastier and more flavorful than most healthy snacks, but I think I'll stick with more traditional potato chips myself.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Loaded Bloomin' Onion

The Outback Steakhouse's specialty is a caloric monstrosity called the Bloomin' Onion. It is absolutely terrible for you healthwise, but don't get me wrong, it is delicious, dangerously delicious. I love them.

Outback has made it worse, and that is to say, better. They now have a Loaded Bloomin' Onion. It's the standard Bloomin' Onion, but topped with the Outback's Aussie Fries

Friday, June 17, 2016

Random Tater Pic of the Day #242

Here's a shot from the photo shoot for the new album by The Hot Sardines, with lots of the favorite fried food, potato and onion varieties. Their album, wonderfully titled French Fries + Champagne releases today, June 17th. You can find them on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and their own website. You can order the new album, as well as lots of other cool swag here.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

French Fry Diary 705: McDonald's French Fry Snack Maker

This wonderful toy - the McDonald's French Fry Snack Maker from Mattel - was a thoughtful holiday gift from my dear friend Anne-Sophie years ago, and yes, I have only just now gotten around to writing about it.

For the folks who are always railing about how unhealthy McDonald's fries are or how they aren't really made of what they say they are - this toy should amuse no end. This French Fry Snack Maker is fully functional and does make fries (not cooked of course) but they're not made of potato. They made of bread. As it says on the box, "all you need is... bread, cinnamon, sugar" and "use other foods to make lots of different snacks!"

Bread is the big one though, it even comes with a coupon for fifty-five cents off two loaves of Wonder Bread. Two loaves? Wow, that's a lot of fries. And then there's also the cinnamon sugar mix you make yourself and use to fill the tiny plastic McDonald's 'salt' shaker. But fair warning, these easy to make non-potato snacks can be addictive, so eat responsibly.

Here's how it's done. You use the crust cutter to cut out a fair sized square of bread, then you feed it into the top of the machine. Turn the crank and the bread comes out the bottom in shoestring-sized strips. You take the 'fries' and put them in the little plastic McD's fry boxes and 'salt' them with your cinnamon sugar mixture. Enjoy!

The instruction booklet also comes with a page of other 'recipes' to try. These are much the same as the above but replacing the cinnamon sugar with vanilla instant pudding mix, or instant spiced cider powdered mix, or powdered cheese flavoring, or Nestle Quik chocolate drink mix, or just strawberry jelly. Fresh bread is always recommended, and while wheat bread can be used, don't try multi-grain.

At the same time this toy was available, Mattel also made a Hamburger Snack Maker, a Shake Maker, a Cookie Maker, and a Happy Meal Snack Maker, of which the Fry Maker was only one component. Hmmm... I'm probably better off not knowing what those burgers and shakes were really made of...

Despite how downright bizarre it sounds, I love this thing, it rocks, and I've enjoyed its odd and simple style of breadsticks, I mean fries many times. Thanks, Anne-Sophie!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

French Fry Diary 704: South Jersey Farewell Tour

As some of you may or may not know, The Bride and I are moving from the wonderful South Jersey/Philadelphia area to the Sunshine State of Florida. By the end of the summer we'll no longer be New Jersey residents. Before we go I will be eating and enjoying the last of such wonderful foods as cheesesteaks and soft pretzels for instance.

I have a number of places I want to visit one last time before we go, a farewell tour if you will. Favorites like The Pub, Donkey's Place, The Pop Shop, and Chickie's & Pete's are all on the list, but I want your input. If you were leaving this area, where would you want to go one last time? Let me know!

Thursday, June 02, 2016

The Potato Chip Lady on The Tonight Show

This clip is from the late eighties, and I remember watching it, and laughing hysterically. The clip was discussed this morning on OpieRadio via satellite radio, reminding me of it. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

McDonald's Gilroy Garlic Fries

Although still regional at the moment, McDonald's is test marketing a new fry item, something they don't do very often. Usually when there's a new Mickey D's product, it's a sandwich of some kind, but this time it's the fries.

Joining with the folks at Gilroy Garlic Fries from Gilroy California, the garlic capital of the world, McDonald's have introduced their new Gilroy Garlic Fries - their classic golden shoestring fries, tossed with a special mix of Parmesan cheese, parsley, olive oil, salt, and chopped Gilroy Garlic.

Gilroy Garlic Fries, sans McDonald's golden fries have been a favorite at ball parks in California for quite some time.

These fries proved so popular in the San Francisco and San Jose test areas that McDonald's restaurants ran out of the garlic mix. More on the story can be found here. I hope these new fries come to our area soon. How about you?

Special thanks to Peggy, Andrew, and the bro-in-law who were among the first to hip me to this ongoing fry situation.