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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mews Tavern - Wakefield RI

Mews Tavern (aka "The Mews") has been around since 1947 when it started out as a bar for fishermen.  It's kinda become a hybrid old person early/college kid late kinda joint now, and they have fries.

It's been built onto so many times it has a Swiss Family Robinson kinda feel to it, with lots of different levels and rooms.  If you've ever been to the Rainbow in L.A. you know what it's like.

The menu is crazy.  They have everything.  Fries?
GIBBY:  We'll have a basket of the regular, a basket of the Rosemary-Parmesan, and-
WAITRESS:  Whoa...sir...*condescending chuckle...the baskets here are like, really big and they'll feed like 4 or 5 people so...
GIBBY:  *long pause....*stern look...We'll have a basket of the Regular, a basket of the Rosemary-Parmesan, and a basket of the Curly Fries.
GRUNION:  And a grilled cheese sandwich WITH FRIES!

The "regulars".  Pretty tame.  Couldn't tell what brand they were, but they were the faux-skin-on frozen baggers.  Not too bad, not too good.

The curly fries were curly and fried.  Better than average, but not by much.

Uncle Ducky was perplexed by their spurious nature because apparently he has never had them before.
UNCLE DUCKY:  What are these?  Onion rings or fries?  Trickery!

The Grunion rejected the curly fries as well.

The Rosemary Paremesan fries are a joke.  And by "joke" I mean a terrible travesty.  They are just the regular fries with some lame shaker tube Parmesan cheese mixed with a microscopic amount of rosemary dumped on them.  Boo.

Overall, the fries at the Mews are meh.
  Regular: 6 out of 10
  Curly Fries: 6 out of 10
  R/P Fries: 2 out of 10 for trickery

But they get extra points for the cool "got beer/need beer" signs that the wait staff see like a hawk when you are running low.   Go to the Mews if you get the chance, but just get one basket of the regular fries.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Airport Fries - A Tale of Two Frittes

I don't fly much (but boy when I do my arms sure get tired - you're welcome Beez), so when we had to spend a bunch of time in airports last week I realized that the whole airport fry scene is seriously under-reported.

Our first 3-hour sit down was in Atlanta courtesy of Delta Airlines' trickery with respect to what the pilot called a "minor anomaly" with the plane.  Heh.  We chose Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint cause it was close to (what later turn out not to be) our next departure gate.

I think everyone expects to pay a bunch for stuff at airports, but $5.00 still seemed a bit high for fries.  But then again, they are "steak fries".

Steak fries delivered.

They were hot and fat.

The Grunion wolfed them down while he checked his stocks.

He gave them a "sideways" thumb and then released a thunderous burp that got him in trouble with his mom.  I guess that means they rate about a 6 out of 10.

Our next 3-hour sit down was courtesy of me being paranoid about getting to the airport in time on accounta we had to return a rental car and go through security and all that.  Turns out that the Hartford, CT airport is pretty fast with that stuff so we chose Locks Landing (the only non-chain joint).

Steak fries again?  Is this an airport thing?  And why is Hartsford $1.25 cheaper than Atlanta?

Whoa!  Look at that photo on the table tent!  Those look fabulous what with the greenery and all!  Fancy!

Steak fries delivered.

I thought they were cooked in one of those hot air tornado ovens cause they were really crispy and had no oil taste, but the waitress said they were in fact deep fried.

The Grunion was super busy with a lego airplane, but he gave them a thumbs up.

The clear winner is Hartford.  8 out of 10.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Smitty's Garage

Ok, so here's the thing: you can waste time reading this review, but you should IMMEDIATELY GO TO SMITTY'S GARAGE AND GET THUNDER FRIES RIGHT NOW!

Smitty's Garage is in the space that used to be Louie's.  It's a chain, but there are only 5 or so (mostly in Oklahoma).

The place has a (surprise) old-timey car/service center stuff vibe.  Visually noisy, but cool.

There was a huge line to order so we sat at the bar with no waiting.

"Thunder Fries"?  Yes please.  Also, some regular ones as a control for you, know our experimentationalistical (new word I made up) purposes.

While I waited I noticed two cool things:  they have skee ball machines.

And a sweet poster in the bathroom of the O.C.A.

The regular fries came out first.

Good amount for $1.99.  Hot, fresh cut, and crispy/non slimy.  Seasoning was tasteful and savory without being overbearing.  These fries indicate a strong understanding of the complicated process of creating excellent fried potatoes from fresh potatoes via hot oil.  Very good.  10 out of 10.

My buddy Ed ordered the "Tijuana Fries" which are the regular fries with onions (yuck) and jalapenos (yum) on em.  They were pretty good, but not amazing.  I give those a 7 out of 10 cause they ruin em with slimy onions.

But then came the Thunder.  Oh my.

Bacon, blue cheese, and Sriracha aoili make these my new top pick in Fayetteville.  Totally off the charts good.

The waitress messed up and only charged me $2.99 for em (which I didn't figure out until after I left) but they are a bargain even at $4.99.


P.S.  They have an incredible beer selection as well if you're into that sort of thing.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Puzzle Tots

Hold on to your booties, folks, cause this one is a doozy!  Last week I saw a picture of these "puzzle potatoes" on the web and I thought two things:
1) Why couldn't they get the Tetris people on board?
2) How fast can I find/eat some?

Still waiting on word from the Tetris camp, but thanks to David from The Rail I got hooked up on Friday!

Ah yes...delicious "Papas Rompecabezas"!  Right now they're only available from foodservice giant Monarch, so I am "stuck" with 30 pounds of them.  hee hee.

Another question:  Why only the 3 shapes?  They're missing the block and the long one (the one that always saved your butt).  Maybe tot physics don't allow for blocks and long ones, but they were able to make the "L" one?  Strange.

I bet everyone does this first.

These things are meant to be deep fried, but I was lazy and decided to use the oven instead.  But as an expert fried potato consultantist (new made up word), I know you can't really cook them all bunched up like that on accounta the heat not getting to the sides, etc.  This is how you actually cook them.

20 minutes later.

They are the best thing ever.  I don't know if it's because they're flat that they get super-crunchy or what, but they are AWESOME even from the oven.  I can't wait to deep fry some.

The Grunion was on hand (cause Puckett says he needs to be in every post) to give his thoughts.
GRUNION:  Tasty.  Righteous.  Crunchablicious (he's making up words now too).

In fact, the Grunion stole nearly all of the first batch and ran off with them.

JD was also on hand (cause JD says he needs to be in every post) to offer his thoughts.
JD:  Delicious-even without any salt or anything.  Totally Crunchablicious.
GIBBY:  Where did you hear that word?
JD:  Wikipedia.

These things are a 10 out of 10.  Start lobbying your local restaurant to start carrying them immediately.  And by the way, The Rail has the best wings EVAR!

Friday, July 25, 2014

JJ's on the Lake

JJ's has a bunch of locations around the state, and the one on Beaver Lake is kinda new.  Since we were on the lake last weekend, I asked Captain Chachi if he would swing us by to check it out.  It's in this big marina thing.

I had been in the sun for a few hours at this point, and as everybody who has taken 7th grade biology knows, vitamin D overload produces hormones that compel the body to seek fried potatoes.

The place is actually floating, but since you're not supposed to make big waves with your vroom vroom boats around the marina the thing barely moves.  Probably better for eating anyway (seasickness).  It looked cozy.

Let's see...let's do the hand cut fries, homemade tater chips....

And even though I don't normally do this...the cheeze(sic) fries!  The vitamin D made me do it!  Also, it was REALLY HARD not to order the Buffalo Chicken Cheeze(sic) Balls.

The hand cut fries. 

I think they were $1.99.  Fairly good amount, but they lacked a certain something.  Not sure exactly what, but some kind of spice or something would have really helped.  They were good.

The chips were silly.

The cheeze(sic) fries were pretty epic (even with the $7.29 price tag).

The Grunion approved of the fries and chips, but shunned the cheeze(sic) fries.

Everything was going great until JD realized that they have Ozark Beer Company's Pale Ale in cans AND THEN HE WENT CRAZY on them.  He even built a beer can pyramid on the table like a high school kid.  We were sooooo embarrassed.

AMY:  OMG!  That beer can pyramid is sooo tacky.
GIBBY:  Wait.  What's that you're drinking?
AMY:  Nothing.  No pictures!

All things considered, JJ's on the lake is totally worth a visit.  And make sure you have some OBC APAs while you are there!
  Hand Cut Fries: 9 out of 10
  Homemade Tater Chips:  8.5 out of 10
  Ceeze(sic) Fries: 9 out of 10

I spent the rest of the cruise contemplating my time in the ranks of the merchant marine, riding abeam midship on the mighty waterous plain.

Until the Grunion started screaming that we needed to abandon ship in a lame attempt to trick us into going swimming again.

His plan totally worked cause he's a cute 4-year old.