Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Random Tater Pic of the Day #159

A vintage Jersey diner and a blast from the past - Ponzio's Diner in Brooklawn NJ from back in the day. I was only there once, back in the eighties, and I got, what else?, the favorite fried food.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Funeral Potatoes

This recipe comes from Oh Sweet Basil, by way of MasterCook, by way of the just-potatoes Yahoo! Group.

Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes, Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Ingredients: 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, 1 Medium yellow onion, chopped, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock, 1 3/4 Cup Hot Water, 1 Cup milk, 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce, 1 Dash Hot Sauce, 1 1/2 Teaspoon salt, 1/2 Teaspoon pepper, 2 cups shredded, Tillamook Extra sharp cheddar cheese, 26-ounce bag frozen shredded hash browns, 1/2 cup light sour cream, and for the Topping: 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted, 2 1/2 Cups, slightly crushed Corn Flakes.

Instructions: In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5-6 minutes.

Quickly whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute in order to cook out the flour taste. Combine the chicken stock and hot water and stir until the stock has melted out evenly. Add it to the milk in a liquid measure and slowly whisk into the butter and onion mixture. Add the salt, pepper, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and add the sour cream. Then stir in the cheese until smooth. Mix in the frozen hash browns, lifting and folding the mixture until well combined.

In a medium bowl, toss the lightly crushed cornflakes with the butter until evenly combined. Scoop out the potato mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish and top with the buttered cornflakes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly around the edges. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 10 min and then serve!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

French Fry Diary 608: The Competing Dogs at Cool Dog Café

While of course I'm rooting for The Bride's entry, Larry's South Philly Retro Dog to win Cool Dog Café's 3rd Annual Create-A-Dog Contest, it should be noted that there are some entries that may be of interest to readers of this blog.

Being voted on through this weekend are the Frenzy Fries Dog, which features crinkle cut French fries, hot sauce, cheese sauce, blue cheese dressing, and celery salt - and it's up against the Breakfast Dog which has pepper jelly, scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns.

Later in the month, the Snack Attack Dog with cheese sauce, crushed Cheetos, pretzels, and potato chips, faces off with the Stuffed Tater Dog with tater tots, sour cream, chives, and bacon. Wow, some interesting combinations there.

I'm still biased for Larry's South Philly Retro Dog, don't forget to come in and vote when it's time at the end of August!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

French Fry Diary 607: No More Satisfries

This has not been a good week for the favorite fried food. First I'm losing one of my favorite restaurants, Little Shanty, and now Burger King has announced they are discontinuing their Satisfries.

The Satisfries were a lower calorie alternative to the normally crappy and constantly changing regular fries at Burger King. These crinkle cuts were awesome when hot and even reheated, and quite frankly, a reason to actually go to Burger King rather than someplace else. After less than a year on the menu, BK has decided to pull the plug on these great fries because sales were apparently less than 'satisfrying.'

This coincides with Burger King's reintroduction of their Chicken Fries. BK claims they are back by popular demand and further says, "Get yours before they're gone!" perhaps implying that nothing on the BK menu is safe or permanent.

Chicken fries, meh, I'd rather have Satisfries. At least Burger King is consistent in their bad calls.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

French Fry Diary 606: Farewell to Little Shanty

There's nothing more heartbreaking for a foodie like me than when a favorite restaurant closes. It's even worse when it's someplace that you can't get to on a regular basis to support them if they're not doing well, because hell, you would be in there every day if you could. Such is the case with Little Shanty in Warren NJ.

I love this place. I've only been there three times, and I love this place. You want the best onion rings and some awesome fries? Here they are. Great burgers, shakes, desserts, and terrific service? It's all here. And sadly they will be closing this weekend.

We played hide and seek missing each other the first two times I had been to Little Shanty, but the third time was a charm and I finally met the owner, Jonathan Lidz. He's a great friendly guy, full of enthusiasm and has his heart in the right place - and knows his fries (a big plus as far as this blog is concerned), but he just couldn't make it work at that location. Jonathan has hopes to re-open at a new location. Let's hope it's closer than an hour and a half away.

If you want to stop by in the next few days and experience great food and service, please do while you can. Little Shanty cannot be beat. Please check out the website, the Facebook page, and the Twitter for re-opening news, and look back on my reviews of Little Shanty here, here and here. Thank you, Jonathan, and hoping for the best for you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Daym Drops on Lay's Do Us A Flavor

Here's what Daym Drops had to say about the Lay's Do Us A Flavor Potato Chips this year.

Obviously, on this, we differ in opinion. Daym Drops is still cool in my book, even if he likes some of these flavors.

Monday, August 11, 2014

French Fry Diary 605: Lay's Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Potato Chips

This has not been a good contest so far for Lay's Do Us A Flavor. The Cappuccino made me sick. The Wasabi Ginger was almost inedible, and while not bad, it would be sad if I had to vote for the Mango Salsa. That leaves only one more contender - the Lay's Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Flavored Potato Chips. Some might say this flavor is the safest bet, and the cop out, I guess we'll find out.

I had been making The Bride try the chips first this year, and even though mac and cheese is her favorite magic food, which she loves as much as I love French fries, this year's Do Us A Flavor contest had her shell shocked, and afraid to try these. See what you did, Lay's? After some coaxing (well, not much really) she tried one, and was disappointed. She tasted no cheese, only bacon, which was her fear in this chip in particular.

Now, bacon is bacon, and there's nothing wrong with a bacon potato chip, but when you put 'em in a yellow bag, and the descriptive words 'cheddar' and 'cheese' outnumber the word bacon, maybe they should taste a little cheesy, ya know? Bacon is good, but so is cheese. The Bride was disappointed. When I tried them, yeah, there was a bit of a cheese flavor, but wow, the smoky bacon flavor was just overpowering.

These chips aren't bad but they really aren't as advertised. I have been very disappointed in the selection of flavors this year. If I vote, and it's a big if, I'll go for the Mango Salsa. Maybe Lay's should've gone with my entry of Poutine, or the special GAR! Podcast flavor - Feet

Friday, August 08, 2014

French Fry Diary 604: Lay's Wavy Mango Salsa Potato Chips

Well, we're up to the third contender in Lay's 2014 Do Us A Flavor contest, and so far, no winners, hell, nothing I would vote for yet. Today I'm looking at Lay's Wavy Mango Salsa Flavored Potato Chips. It's intriguing that Lay's decided to make these Wavy, which is usually designed for dipping - because this flavor would actually make a good dip. Nice irony. Ironic or not, I just hope these taste better than the Cappuccino or the Wasabi Ginger chips.

The aroma I got when I opened the bag was interesting to say the least. Not unpleasant, but I couldn't really place it. I was expecting something a bit, oh I don't know, more citrusy. Having learned from the last two, I let The Bride try them first. She didn't spit them out or go pale, but her face said volumes. She didn't think they were as bad as the other two, and found the mango flavor disconcerting, "a potato chip shouldn't taste like that."

Again The Bride was on mark. These chips might not have smelled all that citrusy but man, did they taste like mango, and it's a fairly good taste. She compared it to Violet Beauregarde's final piece of gum in Willy Wonka. I think more in terms of Jelly Belly flavors like Buttered Popcorn or Toasted Marshmallow, where the taste feels wrong in this format. It's not bad really. This is the first bag that I've eaten more than a few chips from in this year's contest.

"Not as bad as the other two" is not a ringing endorsement, Lay's. I certainly hope the last flavor is something amazing because so far it's been nothing but disappointment.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

French Fry Diary 603: Lay's Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips

After yesterday's Do Us A Flavor taste test of *gasp* Lay's Cappuccino Flavored potato chips I needed something to get rid of that awful aftertaste. I thought Lay's Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Flavored Potato Chips might be a nice refresher. After all, if my friend and fellow writer Uriah Young digs them, how bad can they be, right?

Wasabi is not an unknown component in enjoyable potato accompaniments. Oh Yoko! in Cherry Hill rocks the wasabi fries, so this could be very good. It's notable that these are one of two of the four flavors that come in an extra special variation - in this case, kettle cooked. I'm not sure why that is in this case, as opposed to the other three flavors.

The image on the front of the bag had me a bit worried as the Cappuccino chips showed exactly what was going on taste wise. I had to wonder if these chips would taste like sushi. I hope not. A glance at the ingredients betrayed no fish, raw or otherwise, but did indicate a couple different kinds of wasabi seasonings, horseradish, and mystery spices. This could be good or bad.

I learned my lesson with the Cappuccino chips, I let The Bride try one first. One bite and she threw out the rest of the chip. Her words were "I like wasabi and I like ginger, but that just doesn't work." I got kinda a sour cream cream vibe with my first taste, and then a slow burn aftertaste that did not go away quickly at all. These weren't bad, and the kettle cook gave them a good crunch at least.

I think the problem is that unlike last year when I definitely would have not only have given Chicken & Waffles and Cheesy Garlic Bread second chances, I would have finished the whole bag - this year that ain't happening so far.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

French Fry Diary 602: Lay's Cappuccino Flavored Potato Chips

Having found all four flavors of this year's Lay's Do Us A Flavor contest fairly easily (after some initial panic), and all in one place (my friendly neighborhood Wawa), was a relief after last year's hunt and search. I decided to take on what some folks think are worst of the bunch first - the Cappuccino Flavored chips.

These chips are by far the most feared of the flavors this year. I'm not a coffee person, so I'm not expecting to like these at all. I don't even like coffee ice cream. Of course the word on the package 'flavored' is kinda key. As with many exotic potato chip flavors, this isn't actually what it says it is, but merely 'flavored' to taste that way.

The other thing on my mind is that I have heard others who have tried these say they are sweet. That's the last thing I would have thought. Sure enough, a look at the ingredients reveals not only cappuccino seasoning and coffee flavor, but also cinnamon (which I sometimes have an allergic reaction to), brown sugar, and even butter.

The aroma that rushed out when I opened the bag was that of coffee and cinnamon, enough cinnamon to activate my allergy to it. My eyes watered and I could feel myself breaking out. The smell is thick and strong. I was almost afraid to try one of the chips. Their weird dirty brown coloring didn't say appetizing. 

The Bride tried one first, and for the record, she's not a coffee person either. She did not like them, and described them as like having coffee with cinnamon in it, that someone happened to drop a potato chip into. That did not fill me with confidence. Still, looking at the front of the bag, it's truth in advertising at least.

As I inhaled more and more from the bag as I took pictures, I began to think that not only would I not be able to try even one, but that I might even get sick. But there's a reason I do these reviews. I do it so you won't have to. Thank me later. The Bride pretty much had it nailed with her description, that and an unpleasant cinnamon aftertaste. These Cappuccino Flavored Potato Chips are definitely not getting my vote. Thumbs down.