Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #143

Ancient newspaper ad for local McDonald's...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

French Fry Diary 574: The Farm & Fisherman Tavern + Market

The Bride and I were having an impromptu date night, and were undecided on dinner. What we did decide was to try some place new. So rather than take advantage of old technology like the entertainment coupon book she had or the new tech of our phones and numerous apps, we drove around aimlessly. As we passed the former Cherry Hill landmark Andreotti's Viennese Cafe which has recently been replaced by The Farm & Fisherman Tavern + Market (just down the strip mall from my favorite Japanese restaurant Oh Yoko!), I asked, "how about here?" and we were in.

As it was a Saturday night, they were quite busy and crowded. We were told it would be over an hour wait for a table, but there was a full menu if we sat at the bar - so we settled onto tall chairs and sat there. The place was kinda dark, like Keg & Kitchen dark, but eventually the lights were finally turned on during the long wait for our entrees.

The bar staff was great, friendly, efficient - or at least some of the bartenders were. The one who took our order, and our money, ignored us for the most part. And I think we had more room at the bar than we would have had at the tables they had. The tall barstools did get kinda uncomfortable after a half hour or so, but the chairs were the same at the bar and the tables.

As an appetizer, so our wait was not felt for as long as it was, we got the ten dollar Crushed & Crispy NJ Spuds, with thick cut bacon, sour cream, and tarragon. This was a large plate of potatoes in a variety of types and cuts. There were natural cut fries, potato chunks, sweet potato slices, potato wedges, slices, fingerlings, and small very crisp potato chips - made from purple as well as white potatoes. And there was also a bad tasting sauce, perhaps the sour cream maybe? Whatever it was, I didn't like it. I wanted more of the various potatoes, but that sour cream sauce was very off-putting. Maybe if we come next time I'll order the appetizer without the sauce.

For my entrée, I went traditional Glenn, a plain hamburger, but this wasn't just any hamburger though. I ordered The Colonial Burger for sixteen dollars which was grass fed beef from Wryebrook Farm with a Heritage pork belly blend. This burger was awesome, like a sweet steak. Unfortunately while I was loving my burger, The Bride didn't care for her Reuben at all.

And now the reason you're reading this blog - for the fries. These French fries were great natural cuts, twice fried, crispy with a Spanish fries vibe (maybe cooked in olive oil?) and had parsley and tarragon sprinkled over them. They were very good, thumbs up, highly recommended.

All the food was farm fresh, and more importantly locally farm fresh, so despite the bar setting of the restaurant, there was an atmosphere of good local neighborship, you know? This was expressed in the market section on the other side of the bar, sort of a tiny one aisle supermarket featuring all local items. They had North Fork kettle potato chips, Pennsylvania Dutch birch beer (a piece of my childhood), and Mexican Coke (a little piece of heaven). Hmmm, one of these things just doesn't go with the others. How far is Mexico from New Jersey? That's cool, I looove Mexican Coke.

The Farm & Fisherman Tavern + Market was a bit pricey, and there was quite a wait, busy Saturday night or not. I liked it a lot, but we probably won't be back because of the high prices and the wait. The food, that I had at least, was great.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Shoo Fry

My friend and GAR! Podcast partner Ray Cornwall sent this one to me while he was waiting for his brakes to be fixed at the King of Prussia Mall.

Shoo Fry has since closed that location but plan to open a permanent restaurant in Center City Philadelphia in the Spring/Summer. You can check out their Facebook page here, and their official website here.

The place has quite a concept. You choose a choice of potato cut (classic, curly, wedge, ribbon), then choose a protein, and then any number of sauces, toppings, etc. They also have sliders and milkshakes as well. You can check out their intriguing menu here. I can't wait for their new location to open.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

French Fry Diary 573: Don Pablo's Mexican Kitchen

Don Pablo's is one of The Bride's favorite restaurants, but we don't go together that often because I'm not really much of a Mexican food guy. That said, the few times we've been to Don Pablo's I have been very happy. The chicken is quite good, and they have fries, so I'm happy.

The inside of Don Pablo's is like a Mexican town square... if a neon tequila bar exploded in it, that is. Dos Equis and Corona are kings here, there's a fountain in the middle and the constant overhead music is neon and appropriately flavorful too. None of these are bad things, I kinda like it, but I suppose if I was here for more than a few hours I might go insane. But for a dinner, it's cool.

We were started off with the corn chips and salsa that we always get as an opener. Again, I'm not a salsa guy but the corn chips were good and warm, could've had more seasoning, but I'm guessing that's the point of the salsa. Any chip that is warm is a plus, and these were, pardon the pun, double plussed.

I navigated the menu, which was worriedly different from the last time I was here and I found some mesquite chicken and got fries as well. The food came very quickly, crazy quick, standing applause for customer service quick.

The topping on chicken was hot, very hot, so I scraped it off (I am a picky eater still) but the chicken breast was very tender and good. The natural cut fries that came with were warm and good but surprisingly underseasoned for a Mexican restaurant. They were very good with the mesquite flavoring on the chicken though.

The Bride got something called El Matador, which seemed like it was a little bit of everything. It was a lot of food, for her, and even for me, and I ended up bringing mine home. It reheated well in both the nuke and the oven. Good meal, both at dinner and later. Thumbs up for Don Pablo's.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #141

Natural cut shoestrings from my last trip to the Zinc Café in Medford NJ, still one of my favorite restaurants.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

French Fry Diary 572: Simply Ruffles

I have had varying degrees of success and failure with potato products that start with the word 'simply.' That would be the only reason I was hesitant to try these new Simply Ruffles from Frito Lay.

I like Ruffles a lot, they are the go-to ripple chip for dipping, rippled and relatively thick, they rock. The trouble would be they get tend to get a little greasy if you're eating a lot at once. A healthier style would be great, and that's what Simply Ruffles is, the better alternative.

Simply Ruffles are just potatoes, expeller-pressed sunflower oil, and sea salt. 'Expeller-pressed'? That means the oil is extracted mechanically using high pressure. How that is better or worse, I don't know. These chips are also gluten free, with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Good chips, healthy chips, recommended.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Bacon & Onion Foil Packet Potatoes

Karen of The Pineland Players (as well as a half-dozen others, but she was first) hipped me to this cool built-for-camping recipe on the Facebook from the Spirit FM page.

Bacon & Onion Foil Packet Potatoes

Ingredients: 2 to 3 sheets of heavy-duty foil, 1 packet onion soup powder, 10-12 baby red potatoes, thinly sliced, 12 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon, 1 small onion thinly sliced and diced, 1 cup cheese (optional), salt and pepper to taste, 3 tablespoons butter, sour cream for serving (optional).

Spray each sheet of foil with cooking spray. Top each piece with equal portions of potatoes, bacon, 1 packet onion soup powder and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to each serving. Wrap securely.

Grill for 20 to 30 minutes. Or you can bake it in the oven, at 350° for about 35 minutes or till done. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve in foil, topped with sour cream if desired.

And don't forget, French Fry Diary is also on the Facebook, you can find us here.

Friday, April 04, 2014

French Fry Diary 571: Simply Potatoes Mashed Potatoes

Recently, The Bride got sick with a pretty bad stomach virus. After a harrowing night and day in the ER they let us go home. One of the provisos was a bland food diet for a few days. She expressed interest in mashed potatoes, and specifically requested the Simply Potatoes brand. I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone and review them for you.

We purchased the Diner's Choice Traditional Mashed Potatoes style, the ones thankfully 'made from fresh potatoes.' They are also available in Country Style, Garlic, Sour Cream & Chive, and also Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Simply Potatoes is usually a brand I like.

These gluten free potatoes come in a big plastic bowl for use in the microwave in four quick minutes, or to be transferred to other containers for oven or stovetop for a much longer cook. We went with the nuke for ease and brevity. They didn't look quite done after four minutes, so gave it a stir and another minute per the instructions. Not bad.

I kept them bland for The Bride, but it's notable that these mashed potatoes definitely do need some seasoning, especially butter. Once added, for me only, these were excellent. Even unseasoned The Bride, on her way to swift recovery agreed. Still not quite sure why these were a 'diner's choice' though.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

French Fry Diary 570: Herr's Baked Ripple Cut Potato Crisps

I like Herr's products a lot, but I don't think I've actually tried any of their baked chips. Oh, excuse me, crisps. It's notable that the words are very precise. Made from dried potatoes, vaguely hexagonal in shape, and baked, these are potato crisps, much like Pringles or Munchos.

And they have that same taste as well. Not to say that these crisps couldn't be better with some seasoning, barbecue maybe, but that's not really the selling points on these. Dipping, baby. The ripple cut makes these crisps perfect for dipping.

Of course that perfection only lasts as long as you have big full chips. The small pieces at the bottom of the bag are useless. This is a good dipping chip, not snacking chip. For the health folks, this is a good choice - no saturated fat, no transfats, no cholesterol, and gluten-free. Good stuff for the dippers and the health folks, and a good chip.