Friday, July 28, 2017

French Fry Diary 745: Mix and Match

At the recent journey to Whataburger, it was brought up in conversation that sometimes folks, in areas where fast food restaurants are prevalent, folks will mix and match foods from different places to create sort-of-patchwork meals by hitting multiple drive-thrus. 

Now back when we were dating, The Bride and I would sometimes mix Burger King and Taco Bell, mostly because at the time I liked Burger King and didn't like Taco Bell.  We'd go through the Burger King drive-thru for my meal then we'd eat it at the Taco Bell where she got hers.  That's not what we're talking about though, that's just two different meals at one place. 

I'm talking about when you want a Whopper but don't want BK's crappy new fries, so you go to McDonald's for their perfect golden fries.  Then you like to dip them in a Frosty, something you can't do any longer with Wendy's crappy new fries.  One meal, created from three drive-thru stops. 

I'm sure there are many other combinations.  Like for instance, wouldn't Chick-fil-A's waffle fries be awesome sandwiched in a burger?  Or does a Frosty have better dippibilty for burgers than Burger King shakes?  And does the fact Roy Rogers BBQ sauce would go well with anything count? 

What are your favorite mixes and matches?  Let us know! 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #278

In my last entry here I talked about how bad cruise fries can be sometimes, but they (potato products) can also be fabulous as well. Here's the soft potato gnocchi appetizer from Palo on board the Disney Dream from our June 2017 cruise. Very tasty. Palo remains the place to beat on board. They even brought me fries last time. Palo just rocks.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #277

Lunch on the first full day of our June 2017 Disney Cruise on the Dream, these are the standard Disney natural cuts from Cabanas.  You can see how tasty they were by how many I actually got.  Not many were eaten afterward either. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

French Fry Diary 744: Boulder Canyon Barbecue Potato Chips

Now I have reviewed Boulder Canyon potato chips here before, about five years back, and they looked quite different.  The packaging referred to natural rather than authentic and didn't make so much of the oil, as opposed to this current packaging which has 'Coconut Oil' taking up nearly a quarter of the bag front. 

These chips are again in the tradition of long-named potato snacks, properly titled Boulder Canyon Coconut Oil Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, Mesquite Barbecue Flavor - wow, that's a mouthful.  Hopefully it will be a good mouthful once I open the interesting new bag.

Previously Boulder Canyon made much of their healthy ingredients.  Their saying on the front, 'Live Better. Eat Boulder.' kinda still puts across the point in a clever way, and the chips are still gluten free, kosher, vegan, low sodium, with no GMO, MSG, transfats, or cholesterol, and are cooked in 100% coconut oil.  The problem with the chips I tried before was a lack of both salt and taste.  Hopefully now, especially with BBQ flavor, these'll be better. 

There's a nice mesquite aroma when the bag is opened, that's about where it ends.  The flavor is only okay with a sweetness so particular I had to check the ingredients for sugar. The chips are still a bit bland once you get past the BBQ. Disappointing.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #276

This one comes from friend Deb who saw these fries at the restaurant at Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. Thanks, Deb!

Friday, July 21, 2017

French Fry Diary 743: Wendy's Breakfast

Recently before getting on a plane to back to New Jersey (North Jersey, and those who know know that it matters) for a wedding, The Bride and I had some time, and the hungries for breakfast.  I carted our bags to the gate while The Bride searched for breakfast.  I was quite surprised when she joined me a bit later with a Wendy's bag. 

Honestly I was unaware that Wendy's did breakfast, but after a moment's thought, yeah, of course they did.  It had just never occurred to me to actually go there for breakfast.  And here at the busy Orlando International Airport, I suppose they must do a brisk breakfast business.  Notably breakfast is not listed on many of their websites.  They need to get the word out.

The Bride got an Artisan Egg Sandwich sans egg, essentially a grilled cheese with bacon, which she thought was just okay.  For me she got a biscuit, also just okay, nowhere near Bojangles or even KFC in quality.  The Bride also got breakfast potatoes, which were at the bottom of the bag.  I was both happy and wary. 

I was happy because, duh, I love the favorite fried food, and wary because many fast food breakfast potatoes are notoriously terrible, as is the case at Burger King, Chick-fil-A, and Roy Rogers.  I opened the bag and was pleasantly surprised.

At first glance, Wendy's Seasoned Homestyle Potatoes look similar to Roy's Home Taters.  Flat potato wedges, sometimes halved, and covered with a seasoned light batter, these were so much better that Roy's bland fare.  These were quite tasty and I wanted more when these were finished.  Definitely a thumbs up.  I'm going to have try more Wendy's Breakfast based on this experience. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #275

From Cabanas on the first morning of our June 2017 Disney Cruise, those fabulous roasted red breakfast potatoes, that morning with green peppers and onions.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Poll Reminder

For those of you who are unaware, to the left of this post, and all ongoing current posts is a special poll it might be fun to participate in.

The question of the moment regards Favorite Fast Food French Fries, specifically when you are on the road, and you get that craving for French fries, which drive-thru (or if necessary, go inside) is your destination?

Will you hit the first McDonald's you see, or will you go the extra mile for Chick-fil-A, or even do a bit of searching around for that elusive KFC or Checkers? What's your go-to Fast food stop for fries?

You can choose multiple choices if you want, but please vote, and let's see who comes out on top.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

French Fry Diary 742: Blue Apron

Now we had talked about Blue Apron before on The GAR! Podcast right here. My podcast partner Ray Cornwall had joined Blue Apron and gotten The Bride and me three free meals. As might be expected as I'm writing about it here, there were potatoes involved.

One of the dinners, the one we chose to make the first night, was Chile Butter Steaks with Parmesan Potatoes & Spinach. As a last-minute substitution, which happens sometimes to assure all the food is fresh, we got bok choy instead of spinach, and I was fiiine with that. Not a spinach fan, sorry, Popeye. As I mentioned, everything comes fresh, and everything you need -except the effort- comes in a box directly to your front door. To make the quartered potato chunks with Parmesan, in the box came three Yukon Gold potatoes, labeled and ready for action.

The potatoes get chunked, cut in half and then across into half-inch pieces, tossed in olive oil, notably not included, then put in the oven for about twenty minutes. Just before they were done, the instructions said to drizzle the Parmesan cheese over them then let them cook a few more minutes.

In the end, the steaks were good, the chile butter a little hot (and we didn't even use more than a third of the chile paste), the bok choy looked awful but tasted good, and the taters were pretty good too. I would have made some adjustments if we do this again. Not as much oil in the pan to cook the steaks, and I think I would have used some butter on the potatoes… but that's me.

We had a great meal, and decided to give Blue Apron another week. We'll see what happens, hey, maybe there'll be more potatoes…

Friday, July 14, 2017

French Fry Diary 741: Lay's Wavy Hickory BBQ Potato Chips

This one was written a while ago, but the chips still rock, so there you go...

I had picked these chips up for this year's Super Bowl, not realizing I hadn't written about them before.  Our Super Bowl celebration this year, our first in Florida, was just the two of us, and late in the evening.  Yes, it was quite a game, even though we watched most of it in fast forward, only hitting play for the mostly mediocre commercials, and of course the truly stunning and amazing halftime show. Lady Gaga definitely won this year's Super Bowl

Speaking of bowls, I got the Lay's Wavy Hickory BBQ Flavored Potato Chips mainly because the Lay's Wavy are thick and perfectly ruffled for dipping.  The dip in question was slightly melted vanilla ice cream, 'cause that's just how I roll. 

Unlike other Lay's BBQ chips, the Hickory flavor isn't overseasoned, doesn't burn, or have a hot after taste.  These are sweet and tangy to which the ice cream gives an excellent contrast.  Now that I have written about them, I'll remember how much I like them and get them again.  These are darned good BBQ chips. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

French Fry Diary 740: Swiss Chalet

The Bride and I went up to Toronto this past winter to visit my friend Andy for his birthday party. I didn't get to really try that many fries up there, managed to dodge the dreaded poutine, and remembered the hard way what winter is really all about after several months in Florida. It's damned cold up there, and forget Florida, it makes New Jersey look like a hothouse in the winter.

Anyway, while chatting music and movies, and books and toys, Andy ordered dinner for us from a place native to Canada called ironically enough Swiss Chalet. Knowing what a French fry guy I am, he also got their fries for me.

It's the thought that counts, but I have to say I was not all that impressed with their natural cut fries, and of course that may be because they were delivered, which always cuts down on quality and freshness. I bet they might have been better hot. The chicken however was very good, and they also have ribs and other stuff, including poutine, and any place that has Toblerone for dessert can't be all bad.

Still, as I said, it's the company that counts, and although we were only in Toronto for less than twenty-four hours, we had a great time meeting and hanging out with friends and family, and helping one of my best friends celebrate his birthday. Next time, poutine, and better fries, promise.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Marni Greene on Red Lobster's Potato Chip Shrimp

Here's a guest blog on Red Lobster's new Cape Cod Kettle Chip Crusted Shrimp from occasional FFD contributor Marni Greene, take it away, Marni, and thank you!

On Monday, my boyfriend and I got into our normal conversation about where to go to dinner.

“Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t care.  Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t have a preference.”

“Just drive me someplace with food because I am hungry.”

And this is how we ended up at Red Lobster.

A month ago, I had told Glenn about the new shrimp crusted with Cape Cod kettle chips and decided to go with a dish that had them.  The important thing to remember about me is that I have bad luck with my food at restaurants.  This time it was my skewer of red shrimp with BBQ sauce came out with raw middles so those had to go back.  Thankfully, the rest of my meal came out cooked so I ate that while I waited for my replacement.

The kettle chip shrimp came out not greasy and crunchy.  I don’t know why but it surprised me how much they tasted like potato chips.  I really did not think that it would have that much of a distinctive taste of the actual kettle chips.  I would love to see these as a regular menu item.  The shrimp came with a green onion dip that would probably taste really good for dipping plain potato chips in.  I went back and forth using this dip and cocktail sauce with lemon in it and they tasted great with both flavors.  I would definitely get these again.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

It's Pickle Season!

From dear friend and FFD contributor Robin, "I know it's not potatoes, but I am so psyched that one of my favorite snacks is back at Trader Joe's!! (And) Yes. It's delicious."

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

A Potato to the Rescue

This one comes from my friend and frequent FFD contributor Dom:

"Not a quintessential French Fry Diary-esque storyline, but, one day, it could be the fries that save humanity, and not the Avengers. Click here. It's just a shame they can't 'salt' themselves."

Cool, thanks, Dom!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #274

After meeting up with friends Anne-Sophie and her family in Norway at the World Showcase in EPCOT, The Bride and I stopped at Sunshine Seasons in The Land to split a quick breakfast. It had to be quick as we were on our way to the Disney Cruise next.

The Adult Breakfast included, obviously, breakfast potatoes with red and green peppers, eggs, overdone bacon (apparently that's the only way it comes at The Land), sausages, and delicious French toast bread pudding with a spicy kick of cinnamon. Yummy!

Monday, July 03, 2017

French Fry Diary 739: Whataburger

After over a decade of French Fry Diary, and literally over a hundred requests and recommendations for Whataburger, certainly the chain is on my French Fry bucket list. So when we made the move from New Jersey to Florida, and Jacksonville was on our route, we definitely had to stop at the Whataburger there and try it out.

Whataburger was started in 1950 by entrepreneur Harmon Dobson, whose idea "to serve a burger so big that it took two hands to hold, and so good that after a single bite customers couldn't help but exclaim, "What a burger!"" Starting in Corpus Christi, TX, the chain expanded to nearly 800 restaurants across the country, mostly in the south, but pretty much except for the northeast where I formerly resided.

The GPS was a bit wonky finding Jacksonville's Whataburger, but eventually our caravan found it. Besides The Bride and myself, we also had along friends David and Johnny, who were helping us drive our cars to our new home in Florida. Snowy the cat sat in his box in the car while we had burgers and fries, but don't worry, the windows were inched open, and I brought him some burger afterward to munch on. Snowy is a tough bruiser of a cat, and well loved and cared for - if he ate fries, I would have gotten him those too.

We ordered - burgers, fries, and onion rings - and got a number for the table just like Chick-fil-A also does these days. We got our sodas (Coca-Cola products) and they brought our food to us. I got a plain burger as I usually do, and was impressed that there were code words - 'plain and dry' - for the special order. Places where there are such names (like off the grill for Krystal, natural for Red Robin, or plain jane at the old Burger Chef, etc.) have lesser chance of screwing it up, which I like. The burger was also quite big, and very good. I was impressed.

The fries were shoestrings similar to McDonald's with a good crisp to them. They came in standard paper sleeves, and if you 'Whatasized' your meal, you got a box similar to a popcorn box full of fries. The onion rings looked beer battered, but they probably weren't - sweet but a little greasy, but not as greasy as they looked. I wanted to try the root beer milkshake they were advertising, but I was too full.

I suppose we could go back, but Jacksonville is far enough away at this point to warrant an airplane flight so maybe not. At least I got there once, but if it was closer, I'd definitely go more often. And I get to cross Whataburger off my bucket list now.