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.