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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fossil Cove/The Container Kitchen

Fossil Cove is a brewery in Fayetteville that has kick ass beers.  You should go there.  But you should especially go there on accounta they also have fries available from the non-food truck/trailer thing behind the brewery made out of a shipping container that serves food.

It's called The Container Kitchen BTW.

I ordered both the "regular" fries and the Rosemary and something fries.  I can't remember what the other something is on accounta there were beers-maybe it was Parmesan?  Mmmmm...beer.....

Then they delivered em to me right at the bar.  BAM!


Nice!

The fries are fresh cut, and seasoned just right.

The Rosemary ones are excellent and the dipping sauce is like crack.

And there were so many I shared em with pretty much everyone at the bar.

Fossil Cove and The Container Kitchen are a definite DO IT.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Parlor Pizza Bar in Chicago

Chicago has lots of joints with fries.  Probably on accounta it's such a big city and all.  And I've tried lots of em.  But this last trip, I found a real gem in the heart of the super-schmancy Wicker Park area.

Parlor Pizza is primarily a wood fire pizza place, but they also have fries which is kinda rare for a pizza joint.  I'm always suspicious when places have fries that shouldn't.  On this particular day, it was 89 degrees with 40% humidity so all the Chicagoans were melted and refused to sit in the massive outdoor area.  Wimps.  I refused as well, but only cause I am a huge bear and my thermostat was broken.

Their beer list is awesome.

Hand Cut Frites?  Fancy! 8 bucks?  Better be super-fancy...

Whoa!  This just got serious.

The fries came with ice-cold ketchup, jalapeno cream cheese sauce, and sriracha honey mustard-which I though would be gross but was really good.

I figured out after a few fries that what you should do is dip the fry in the sriracha sauce first and take a bite, and then while your mouth is burning dip the fry in the cream cheese dip and take a bite to cool off your mouth (for some reason the jalapeno was only present as a taste and not heat).  I repeated this step 42 times and found it to be solid science.  They also come with green stuff on them so they're basically a salad!

Fresh, crispy, hot, delicious.

The pictures may not do the amount of fries justice, but believe me it was plenty for the price (especially for this area of Chicago).  This is what was left that I couldn't finish.

Parlor Pizza Bar.  DO IT.

Also they have this cool cartoon bear mural on the side of the building.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Pizza Hut has French Fries?

A couple of nights ago the Grunion was driving us crazy for pizza and we were WAY TOO TIRED for that noise so we decided to get some delivered.  This is the first time in like 10 years we have ordered food to be delivered to the house (I have a paranoia/phobia-don't ask).

Anyhoo, Ace was looking through the options and it turns out that Pizza Hut was the closest/cheapest and ALSO THEY HAVE FRENCH FRIES!  Why didn't anyone tell me before now?  You all are slacking, seriously.  I ordered the "Cajun Style Seasoned Fries" just to be mysterious.

30 minutes or so later a kid's basketball sized weird plastic take out container was delivered. Never seen anything like it.  I guess it's what they put the wings in when people order them. Oh, and by the way Pizza Hut now has wings too, apparently-cause you know, pizza.

I was expecting these things to thoroughly suck.  In fact, before I even tried one I was thinking of all the words I was going to use to describe the suckage.  But....but....they are pretty good.

They were mostly crisp, and the seasoning (although it appears that there was way too much) was actually perfect.

I gotta say that Pizza Hut fries are a total yes.  Calculating an actual price is kinda hard on accounta there's a delivery fee and you gotta tip the driver but let's just say that even for a total of $5-$6 getting this amount of pretty good fries delivered to your lazy butt is a definite DO.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

El Pinto in Albuquerque NM

On a recent road trip, the Grunion demanded that we stop in Albuquerque on accounta he wanted to see if he could find Jessie from Breaking Bad.  We were tired anyway so we agreed.

We are in ABQ a few times a decade, and we ALWAYS stop at El Pinto when we're there.  It's an amazing tex-mex restaurant, and they have fries so they're fair game for a review.  It's located on a big chunk of land North of downtown.  It probably seemed like it was "way out there" some years ago, but ABQ has grown and now it seems like it's just in a suburb.


Over the years, it looks like it was built onto several times so it has that cool multiple dining room themes thing going on.  This is the bar.


This is what I call the flamingo dining room cause it's got tons of vegetation and a fireplace.


It even has a Titanic-like ceiling light.


This is a different dining area that I call "where the losers get seated".


Fries are $3.29 which is kinda steep. But the place is fairly fancy and you gotta figure they're mostly only there for kids and super old people anyway so the price is most likely designed to discourage ordering.


This is the order.  Decent amount for this type a place at this price.


Slightly battered (most likely frozen) but an overall good experience.


GRUNION:  Yo, these fries aren't Texan or Mexican at all!


GRUNION:  In fact, these are most likely descended from the original Belgian chips.


GRUNION: Pretty good, though.


If you are ever in ABQ, you should definitely stop by El Pinto.
They also have these red pepper rubbed ribs that are insane.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Red Robin VOODOO Fries

I've discussed Red Robin in the past.  Their fries are decent when combined with the fatty-fatty campfire sauce and are still "bottomless".  But there's something new brewing around the chain restaurant landscape-specialty fries.  Red Robin's stab at them is Voodoo Fries.


Whoa!  They've replaced the servers with table computers already?  This isn't even a higher minimum wage state!


Let's see....ah yes...bring me the ghost peppery goodness.


Red Robin still actually has servers.  They bring you drinks and food after you order it on the table computer.  Good thing too, cause you can't eat Red Robin fries without the added fatness of the super yummy campfire sauce (which is probably mayonnaise mixed with cayenne pepper, liquid smoke, bacon fat, and giggly snowflake kisses).  I realized on this trip that I've never bothered to try any of the other sauces.


This was delivered.  I love that it comes with A GIANT TUB OF RANCH DRESSING.  MERICA!


There'a a lot going on here.  Bacon, green stuff, batter-fried jalapeno slices, cheese "sauce".


They're quite good.  And plenty (even at 7 bucks).


Of course I ordered the bottomless fries and a giant cauldron of fatty campfire sauce to go with the voodoo fries.  Just as a quality check of course.


My (recently healthy-eating) buddy Jack was disgusted.  He ordered something called "hummus". Looked like cat puke to me.


Voodoo Fries at Red Robin are a definite do.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How to Make French Fries with Chef Matt Boring

HOWDY! I'm back from my sabbatical to resume your fry education, dear readers.  Over the last few months I have tried many places, and the national trend seems to be for "natural" style fries.  This was probably precipitated by the newer uber-burger chains (Five Guys, Shake Shack, etc.) making a big deal out of showing off real potatoes in their lobbies.

Hey, I'm all for fresh cut fries if they're cooked correctly, but the sad fact is that they usually aren't. And my buddy Chef Matt Boring is about to educate you why.  This is Chef Matt.  When it comes to the science of fries, he is my go-to guy.  I'm not gonna list his CV, but you should google him.


A while back we got together and he showed me how you make fries.  Specifically, he made his special truffle-Parmesan fries.  YUM.


A day or so before he was ready to cook, he cut the fries and soaked them in water overnight.  Then he drained the excess starchy water that had accumulated.  Next he dried and then dumped the fries into a fryer with oil at 325 degrees.  This is called "blanching"and it's a super-important part of the process.  During the blanching, oil gets into the fries and builds a layer of starch cells around the outside of the fry.  This outer layer protects the fry as it is fried again at a higher temperature so they cook through.  After a few minutes of blanching, he rested them for a few minutes, and then fried them in oil that's around 400 degrees.


Then he bounced the fries around in a bowl with some salt, truffle oil, and some green stuff and voila!


THEY.  WERE.  SO. GOOD.


Here's the thing: most restaurants (and certainly burger chains) don't have the space, the time, or the craps to give to have two different fryers going.  That's why the "natural" fries at most of these places are horribly inconsistent in texture, crispness, done-ness, and taste.  I have always maintained that whether they are frozen to begin with or fresh they have to be properly prepared.

So the next time you're at a restaurant that has fresh cut fries ask your server if the kitchen double cooks them.  My guess is the answer will be no.