Thursday, July 24, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #158



The cover of Nova #21 from Marvel Comics, due out in September. Special thanks to my friend and podcast partner Ray for hunting the image down for me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Hunt Is On


Okay, so far the search has been fruitless (or is that chip-less?). I haven't been able to locate any of the new Lay's Do Us A Flavor potato chips this year. So I'm reaching out to you folks.

If you're in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, and you've seen the Mango Salsa, the Cappuccino, the Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, or the Wasabi Ginger, please let me know where… so I can write about them here. Thanks in advance!

Friday, July 18, 2014

French Fry Diary 599: Rutt's Hut, Clifton NJ


Rutt's Hut. I had seen this place dozens of times on Food Network shows, spotlighted as the place to get hot dogs, and not just hot dogs, but those fabled deep-fried hot dogs called 'rippers.' I had always dreamed of going there, but never thought it possible until recently when I found out that it actually was in New Jersey.

On a recent trip to see friends in North Jersey, it was early evening and we were kinda hungry, I noted that we were not that far from where I'd heard Rutt's Hut was. We loaded the address from their website into the GPS and we were off. We started driving through a wooded industrial park with hardly any lights, and the GPS startled us when it said we had reached our destination. Um, there was nothing there.

The Bride was sure we were lost, and that our TomTom was a DumDum (it wouldn't be the first time, remind me to tell you about the time in Baltimore it kept telling me to drive into the harbor). That's when I saw the silhouette of the building I recognized from all those Food Network appearances. There was no signage, and it vaguely looks like a biker bar, transformed from a small factory. I don't think we'll be trying to find it after dark again.

There were two doors. One led to a very small restaurant area - two tables and a counter, not counting the Attack from Mars pinball machine and Big Buck Hunter video game, and the other led to the taproom/bar. Neither of us are drinkers so we went to the restaurant.

We both ordered hot dogs (rippers of course), then saw the sign that said cash only. We're card people for the most part, so that cut us short and made us scramble suddenly. We had to be selective in what we ordered next. We shared a Pepsi, and ordered fries, that's all we could afford, but still that was a lot for $8.55.

We sacrificed the onion rings, as we couldn't afford them. I have also gotten strong recommendations for these rings as well as the dogs and the fries. The other people who were there had them on their plates. They looked a bit limp but were crispy-looking and thinly sliced. Ah well, next time we will bring cash.

When I ordered the fries the man behind the counter yelled to the back, "One Frenchie!" just as he had "Two rippers!" Yeah, I loved that. The service - just one guy at the counter, and at least one in the kitchen - was incredibly quick, efficient, and friendly. Our order was ready in minutes, and when I expressed disbelief, I was told if I ordered it again, I could come back and watch.

The rippers were true to their reputation, the absolute best - big dogs on soft buns, full of hot deep-fried goodness. The fries were frozen regular cuts, also full of hot, deep-fried deliciousness. They were not greasy, had a baked texture, lightly salted and peppered, and were the hottest fries I have had in recent memory.

The Bride thought they could have used salt, but what does she know? (kidding, kidding) She also loved her ripper, which she drowned in molten perfect orange cheese, and also used as a dip for her fries. For the price, this was a huge portion serving, and very filling. Good stuff here, we would definitely go back. Next time, we'll have cash, get more dogs, more fries, and try those famous rings. Serious thumbs up for Rutt's.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

French Fry Diary 598: Casa Carollo Bar & Grille


We haven't been to Casa Carollo Bar & Grille in quite some time outside of going to the Comedy Cabaret there. And I'm not sure if that counts because it includes a limited menu for those events. Looking for something different one night when we wanted something delivered, we checked them out.

There is definitely something to be said for portion size. They make 'em big at Casa Carollo. The Bride got chicken Parmesan that was at least three servings, maybe more. That would be lunch for a couple days that week, and the same for my steak sandwich. It was easily more full than any other local steak, and also easily at least two meals. Plus they gave us rolls and garlic knots. This was a haul at a very inexpensive price compared to other places locally for the same stuff.

And you guessed it, I also got fries, else I wouldn't be writing about it here, right? Casa Carollo offers something called Italian Fries. On the menu, these are described as crispy thin fries with Italian herbs. What we got were seasoned regular cuts. I recognized Old Bay, maybe rosemary, but there was definitely more. They were neither crispy nor thin, actually they were kinda soggy, but they were perfection when heated up a bit in the oven.

All in all, we were very pleased with what we got and ordered again the next week. This time I got the onion rings, big thick panko breaded rings, equally good reheated later. I think we've definitely found a new place to go in the area.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Do Us A Flavor 2014


It's that time again, time to vote for the next flavor of potato chips from Lay's in their Do Us A Flavor Contest. The final flavors have been announced, and they are a bit different. Here are the finalists - Wavy Mango Salsa, Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger, and Cappuccino. Wow.

These are nowhere near the insanity of some Japanese and Filipino flavored potato chips I've seen, but they are a bit off the beaten track. Which one will you be voting for? You have between July 28th until October 18th to vote.

Head over to DoUsAFlavor to vote for your favorite, or vote via Twitter, Instagram and/or Vine using the hashtags #SaveCappuccino, #SaveBaconMac, #SaveWasabi or #SaveMango; and/or via text message by texting "Cappuccino," "Bacon Mac," "Wasabi" or "Mango" to 24477 (CHIPS).

And now my search for these chips begins...


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Can You Create a New Hot Dog and Win?


One of the best places locally for fries, and a friend of the site, Cool Dog Café in Cherry Hill NJ is having a contest. It's Cool Dog's 3rd Annual Create-A-Dog Contest! I'll let them take it from here…

"This is it... our 3rd Annual Create-A-Dog Contest! Have you ever watched the Food Network shows and thought, "I could do better than that."? Well now it's your chance to prove it. We're taking entries through July 24 and would love to see what YOU can come up with. So start those creative juices flowing.

Here’s how it all works:

- Design up to 3 Hot Dogs. Ingredients must be easily accessible and priced within our normal price range.


- 8 Hot Dogs will be chosen from all the entries. The 8 finalists will be chosen by a consensus of over twenty chefs, cooks and restaurateurs who volunteered to help.

- Starting Aug. 4th, 2 different finalists will be the Cool Dog Specials each week for four weeks.

- At the end of the four weeks, customers will have a chance to vote for their favorite.

- The winner will be determined by BOTH the votes it gets AND its sales volume for the week.


Drop off entries at Cool Dog Café or email them here. Entries should have the name of your dog, ingredients for your creation, then your name, phone number and email. Entries must be received by July 24, 2014. Limit 3 per person. We're looking forward to getting your entries... and trying them! Good luck!!"


Wow, sounds like it's going to be a great summer at Cool Dog, and while you're there, don't forget to get some of those great fries!

Friday, July 11, 2014

National French Fries Day 2014


Petite Abeille's Belgian Fries
This Sunday, July 13th is National French Fries Day. The best, and the easiest, way to celebrate Fry Day is to of course enjoy some French fries on Sunday. There are other ideas however.

Heinz Ketchup for instance is offering up recipes for Seasoned Ketchup and Idaho Fry Sauce.

If you're in New York City, there's a special deal going on at Petite Abeille with Sir Kensington's spiced ketchups. Petite Abeille is offering $4 cones of their Belgian Fries plus a choice of Sir Kensington's specialty condiments (Classic Mayo, Chipotle Mayo, Spiced Ketchup and Classic Ketchup). Wow, I wish I lived closer to one of their three NYC locations.

What will I be doing? I think I might try to visit one of my favorite local haunts for fries. I'm looking for the best, so it'll probably be the British Chip Shop or Cool Dog Café or the Pop Shop. Who knows, maybe I'll see you there. Happy National French Fries Day!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

McDonald's Seasonings


Although it's business as usual in the rest of the world, McDonald's is bringing seasonings to some of their fries in the United States. The good news (or bad?) is that they will be pushing more traditional flavors here in the States, like Garlic Parmesan, Zesty Ranch and Spicy Buffalo. These will be done shaker style, as in you do it yourself.

So if you're looking for seaweed, curry, or something more exotic, you'll have to go to a McDonald's on the Asian continent or somewhere in the Pacific. In the meantime, check your local Mickey D's to see if they have them yet, or if they are participating, as it's only in certain areas.