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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kooky Canuck - Memphis, TN

Got waylaid in Memphis on accounta a bad car engine thing and had to spend the night unexpectedly.  We decided to turn those lemons into french fries and started with this joint called Kooky Canuck.

The place hangs its Canadian hat on one of those huge burger challenges where if you eat it in an hour without barfing you get a free turtle, blah, blah, blah.  I did one of those once.  But they also have fries so yippie!.  The decor is lodgey.

With lots of dead (Canadian?) animals on the walls.

I expected poutine but I'm not a huge fan of it (too much going on that hides the fry experience) so I ordered a regular batch for appraisal.  They always say "Hand Cut".  Who's working at these places- Edward Scissorhands?  Also sweet potato fries =yuck.

While we waited, the Grunion gazed wistfully upon the boulevard and pined for his younger days as a wandering blues man.  Strumming out the pain of generations of migrant Pokemon hunters scarred by the battles they waged and the rare ones that got away.

$2.99 for this.


Real potatoes cut up and fried.  Couldn't tell if they were blanched first, but I doubt it.  Good though.  Not many limp ones.

All things considered, definitely a great fry experience for downtown Memphis.  Big dead moose head says DO IT.

But don't do this.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

P.Terry's - Austin TX

I guess P.Terry's is a big deal in Austin.  It's one of those Five Guys type places that's supposed to have incredible burgers.  There seem to be 3 or 4 of these chains now.  You know, the ones that store boxes of potatoes in the front dining area so you can see that they use actual potatoes to make the fries that they are necessarily famous for.  I wasn't expecting much from the fries, but I endure this torture for you, dear reader.

Here's the boxes of potatoes.  Sheesh.

$1.75 ain't bad.

It took a seriously long time to get the fries.  Like 10 minutes.  It was not packed so I don't know what was up.

Whoa.  Did not expect 1/4 inchers.

Very nice.  Not slimy or under cooked.

I was impressed.  Definitely worth it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Valhalla - Austin TX

After years of being a scuzzy rock band person, you gain the innate ability to find the "off the beaten path" places. The cooler dives and joints that locals frequent and tourists know nothing about.  Valhalla is one of those places, even though it's smack dab in the middle of downtown Austin.  As luck would have it, Valhalla had just started serving food.  Lucky me!

The layout of this joint is ridiculous.  The whole front room is bisected by a round kinda tiki bar looking thing.  To get from one side to the other you have to go all the way around back through a scary tunnel.  More on that later.

Pinball machines and video games.  Nice.

Lots of cool mafia style tables.

And albums on the walls.


I asked the bartender (the only person working in the whole place) for some fries.  This is what he told me:
BARTENDER:  Okay, cool.  What you need to do is go down the back hallway around to the other side, find the staircase that curves up to the left, go to the top of the stairs and look for a small service window in the loft.  Tell the dude at the window I sent you.

WHA?  So I went down the scary tunnel....

Up the staircase....

Found the window....

And told the dude I wanted some fries.  There were actually two dudes on the kitchen, and they both looked pretty stoned.  I handed them my money.  He asked my name.  I told him Gibby.   Totally felt like a drug deal.

Back at the table, the ketchup provided did not instill confidence.

About 10 minutes later, a booming voice came over the sound system:

At no time was I told that I would need to return back to the scary window to retrieve my fries.  Crazy!  Anyhoo, these are the fries.

And they were......really good!

Crisp, hot, tasty.  I'll tell you what, some stoner metal guys know fries, yo!

Even with all the ordering/pick up weirdness the fries are totally worth it at Valhalla.  DO IT.

P.S.  Jack at most of them on accounta he said that was the only way to "get into Valhalla".

Thursday, April 6, 2017

SPECIAL EDITION - 10lb.Paint Can Nachos - The Local Post Pub, Austin TX

My buddy Jamey is the kind of buddy that everyone should have at least one of.  He keeps you weird and checks you when you are getting too "corporate", too "square".  For an old alt musician turned corporate puke like me he is an essential grounding mechanism.  Behold Jamey.

Recently in Austin he blew my mind again with the crazy nachos at one of his local hangs called The Local Post Pub.  Before you get out your torches and pitchforks, I know that nachos are not fries, but I think after you see what's going on there you'll agree that you needed to see this.  Anyway you have 3 choices of 10lb. can nachos.  Jamey suggested the "Fritas Pie".  I concurred.

So here's the deal.  They take a paint can, fill it with chips, cheese, and all the other stuff and then stick the can in the oven for a while.  Then they bring the can to the table, and pour an additional soup size can of cheese all over the top so it cascades down through.  MADNESS!  When the can is lifted off the plate you are presented with A NACHO TOWER!  I had to video the process.

I was dumbstruck.  This is genius on a whole other level.  Thank you once again, Jamey for bringing me back from the banal.  10lb. can nachos at the Local Post Pub--DO IT!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Chi'Lantro Food Truck - Austin TX

Every once in a while I stumble upon greatness.  Behold the Chi'lantro food truck.  Home of the "original" Kimchi Fries?  Okay I'll give em a whirl.

Gotta say that $10.50 might be the most I ever paid for some fries so they better be stellar.  Silly SXSW hipsters!


Incredible.  Kimchi, spicy pork, Sriracha, cheese sauce, onions, peppers, green stuff, some kinda seeds.

The fries themselves were pretty standard but the overall combination is superb.

If you ever have a chance to get some of these, DO IT.  Absolutely 10 out of 10 and worth every penny.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Bonneville - Austin TX

Got the opportunity to dine with some great agriculture leaders in Austin a while back at a joint called the Bonneville.  It's a fancy joint so I was lucky not to get kicked out immediately.  That's our host Mark in front of the joint.  He's a dude.

The menu didn't include fries that night, but after our table started talking about fries we asked if the chef would make us some.  He obliged.

They were superb.  Fresh cut quarters of potatoes fried on canola oil with salt, pepper, rosemary, and perhaps some truffle oil I think.

Awesome, and the chef was super nice for making them for us.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Half Wall Port Orange

Sports bars are hit or miss with food which is kinda surprising if you think about it.  People who watch sports in bars generally fall into the "I like to eat unhealthy garbage" category and that style of food is easy to make (fry).  Half Wall (weird name) seems to have it together though.

The joint is one giant open room.  Probably designed that way so you can see all 87 of the TVs showing every sport known to humanity.  Pretty sure there were 3 CRICKET games being shown while I was there.  Wonder why it was so empty.  Maybe cause it was 2pm on a Tuesday....

The lights behind the taps fade between different colors.  I thought it was cool for a while, then it kinda made me a little seasick.

Spicy Fries?  Bring em on!

While we waited, we ordered this tiny pretzel.  I think it was off the kid's menu.  It was okay.

The spicy fries arrived.  Nice.

Cooked very well.  Not fresh cut but it didn't matter on accounta the sauce was so good.  Fair amount for $5.50 as well.


This place is legit.  We watched a foosball game on 6 of the TVs and I ordered two more rounds of these.  Half Wall = stupid name but DO IT!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Daytona Taproom

Daytona Beach is a weird place.  It's a touristy nightmare for sure, but not completely.  If you travel off the beaten path there are places that are just as quirky and cool as anywhere else.  Such is the case with the Daytona Taproom.

The first thing I noticed was that there were two cops having lunch there.  That's a good sign.  Cops know what's up.  The place is basically a beer bar that serves food (as opposed to an actual restaurant) and the decor/music/atmosphere is alt-hipster.  Stuff is cooked behind the bar on a huge flat top with some fryers next to it.  There's a vent hood, but these places never seem to turn it on so you leave reeking of burger and oil.  The tatted up waitress yelled at us from across the room to "sit wherever the hell we wanted".  Lots of beers on tap.

The menu was surprisingly extensive.  As an appetizer I settled on the "Big Richard" burger.  Heh.  Not sure what a penis joke has to do with mac and cheese but whatever.

This was the burger.  Big, but forgettable.

The fries are a different story.  I ordered the Drunken, Bacon Bleu, and Gravy ones.
GIBBY:  I'll have a disgusting amount of fries, please.
WAITRESS:  Yo, like, each order of these fries is enough to feed the fattest of the fat.
GIBBY: If you need to see it, I have a notarized letter from my physician that states that I am to consume no less than 670 grams of carbohydrates per hour due to a systolic regeneration inhibitor dislocation of my aperatic function.
WAITRESS:  Really?
GIBBY: No.  Just bring me the fries please.

The Bacon Bleu Fries.  Very nice.  Sriracha, big crumbles of cheese, and bacon.

They were exquisite.

The Gravy fries were okay, but kind of underwhelming after the greatness of the first ones.

Canadians are weird.

The Drunken fries were awesome too on accounta you can pretty much never go wrong with beer cheese.

The only problem is that the beer cheese always runs to the bottom of the stack and you have to smear the fries along the bottom of the basket to get more cheese on em.  Why aren't the people at NASA working on a solution for this?

Overall, the DT is a must visit in the Daytona area. The only strike is that they had a crappy coin-op pool table in the back.  I hate that.