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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Krokke: Fried Mashed Potato Patties

When I was living in Tokyo, I had to take several different trains every day to get to school.  The trip took about an hour and a half each way because the school was so far outside of Tokyo.  As a growing teenager, I always got hungry at some point during the trip, and one of the things that I ate was a fried mashed potato patty that was sold by butcher shops in the city.  They were a japanized version of the french croquette, and were thus called "krokke" (properly pronounced "kah-row-kee").  They were awesome.  Mostly available during the colder months, they were crisp on the outside, savory on the inside, and served with katsu sauce.

I don't know what reminded me of them recently, but I had to make some cause technically they are fried potatoes and thus french fries.  I found a recipe online, but I quickly realized that these things are like hamburgers.  There are a ton of recipes, so approximating the ones I used to get in Japan was gonna be like stabbing in the dark.  Oh well, as Einstein said, "trial and error is the key when frying things".

You need panko crumbs.  Get real ones from the Asian market.

And while you're at the Asian market get some katsu sauce too.

Cut, boil, and mash some potatoes with garlic, butter, milk, salt, and pepper.  Then stick the pot in the fridge to cool for a while.

Set up your standard frying assembly line.  Flour, beaten egg, and the panko crumbs.  Resist the temptation to drink from each bowl (am I the only one that is tempted to do that?)

Form the potatoes into patties (or any shape you want) and dredge them through the flour, egg, and crumbs. The thinner the patties are the better they will cook.

Fry the patties in a pan.  This is better than the deep fryer cause you want that dark pan-fried chicken kind of crust on them.

It takes about 2 minutes per side in oil that is about 350 degrees.  Watch out for splatter!

You can pour katsu sauce directly on the krokke and eat it with a fork, but that's sissified nonsense!  I prefer to eat like a viking with dipping action.

Eat it!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Paul Summerlin is Good

Paul is one of the most amazing musicians on the planet (and maybe more amazing than the musicians on some other planets).  He creates insightful, intelligent, and hopeful music that makes me feel like there are still actually good people left in the world.  He is releasing an EP of original music soon.  I suggest you buy it.  I'm gonna.

Go here:

Grub's: The Current Leader

Grub's (which is located a block or so south of Dickson) is what I like to call a "mixed-use" establishment.  During the day, office types go there for lunch.  During the early evening, families and old people like me go there for dinner.  Past 9pm (my bedtime), college kids and the like go there to get hammered.  This makes for a varied experience depending on when you go there.  For instance, if you go there for lunch on a Sunday after a particularly raucous weekend, the whole place smells like rotten beer and vomit, but if you go there on a Wednesday, it smells like a regular restaurant.

Welcome babes?  They must have known I was coming...

Grub's has a 5-page menu full of stuff, and most of it is pretty good.

But you all know I don't care about anything but the fries.  When will everyone learn that fries should not be relegated to the "Side Items" section?  No respect...

An icy-cold Blue Moon while you wait sir?  Okay...

Ah, the fries at Grub's.  Mid-sized, just a hint of potato skin, crisp, hot, and that fry dip-the best in town.  Amy says the fry dip is just mayonnaise with dill in it but I know that it is a magical substance made with at least 247 ingredients.   Strange that the fry dip seemed to come in two different colors that day...

A thorough accounting of the fries revealed that there were 61 fries in our basket.  At $1.99, that comes to 3.262 cents per fry.  Considering that the fries are larger than your average fast food type fries, it's a good deal.

My rating: 10 out of 10.  A good amount of consistently hot and fresh fries that are tasty and attractively priced.  The fry dip is what puts Grub's over the top.  Grub's has the best sit-down restaurant fries in Fayetteville.  Will anyone knock them off the top of the mountain?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Z Goes 90s on The Grunion

Z: Hey!  That drumming you're doing reminds me of my favorite NWA song!  Keep going!

Z: Straight outta Compton!   A crazy mother-

GRUNION:  Whoa!  Did you learn that from Uncle The Beez?

Z:  Yeah.  Why did you stop playing?
GRUNION:  That's too hardcore.  And also too 90s.
Z: Okay, I'll do another one.  It's by Pantera. 
Z:   Re....spect!  Walk!  Are you talking to me?

GRUNION: That's it.  I'm outta here.  I'm not stickin around for this kinda trouble.

Z:  Re....spect!  Walk!  Are you talking to me?  Are you talking to me?
GRUNION:  Hello!  Warden?  Can I get free here?  Hello? 

Z:  Hey dude!  Come back!  We got a good jam goin here!
GRUNION:  Warden?  Mom?  Dad?  Hello?

Z:  My name is humpty, pronounced with an umpty...

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Grunion and Z Comparing Bottles

GRUNION: Man, these are some sweet bottles, huh?

Z:  Mine's great, but I can't believe you're drinking that nasty stuff.  It's made from dead bodies-like in that Charlton Heston movie Soylent Green.

GRUNION:  That is patently ridiculous, and I don't believe you.

Z:  (mocking)  That is patently ridiculous, and I blah blah blah!
GRUNION:  Stop mocking me!

Z: Look!  I can see some bone fragments right there near the tip!  

Z: Lemme have that!

Z: Uh-huh.  Just as I suspected.  Definitely made from dead bodies.
GRUNION: Give me back my bottle!

Z:  Ew!  I think this bottle was made out of an old lady.  I think I taste lavender!
GRUNION:  Give it back!

Z:  Here, have it back you big baby.  I'd rather drink mine anyway.

GRUNION:  What's in yours?

Z:  I'm not sure.  Hey Lily!  What's in my bottle?

LILY:  *slurp*  Nothing.  *burp*

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Grunion and Tom Talk Shop

GRUNION:  What's up T?
TOM: Nothing.  How are you?

GRUNION:  I need to discuss something, but first I'll need your glasses to chew on.

TOM:  Mmmkay...

GRUNION:  I'm trying to do a search on an entire directory, finding all the instances of the text "applicationX" and replacing all instances with the text "applicationY".  I created this:   following> to find all instances and print the files that contain the search text. But now I don't know how to replace the text.

TOM:  Hmm.

GRUNION: So what gives?

TOM:  Well, the grep -il statement finds all instances of Hello in files ending in txt (i = ignore case, , l = only list the filename). The file names are passed to sed, which runs a regular expression to change all instances of Hello to Goodbye. Since sed doesn't overwrite a file, you should redirect the output to a temp file and then rename it back to the original file name.

GRUNION:  Sweet.  Can I use your computer to hack into
TOM:  No.

GRUNION:   Dang.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Brenda's Bigger Burger Redemption

Went back to Brenda's Bigger Burger today to continue with the fry investigation.  You may recall that in an earlier post I rated their regular and waffle fries (in addition to the burger) with a "meh."  This time we ordered the rest of the stuff on the fry menu (minus the tater tots and onion rings cause I don't do onion rings and we figured the tater tots would be boring).  The chick who takes the orders thought I was a loon for ordering only fries (she didn't know I was a professional).

It should be noted that Brenda's loses some points cause their orders of fried things are $2.04.  Kinda steep for a what is essentially a fast food joint.While we waited, I saw some things at Brenda's that raised some questions.  For instance, they close at 3:30pm every day.  Why do they need lights on the outside of the building?  And why are they on in the middle of the day?

Also, customers who want to eat at Brenda's have to sit at table outside.  There used to be umbrellas-what happened to them?  Considering the heat around here some shade would be nice....

After about 5 minutes, we got the stuff.  The battered fries are good.  Not amazing, but so much better than the regular fries, Brenda should just scrap the regular fries and serve only these.  Crisp on the outside, flaky, steamy, and flavorful on the inside.  Just like a fry should be.  They only questionable element is that they aren't really that battered, but whatever.  I give them a 6 out of 10.

The tater babies  (or "arkies" as they are known round these parts) are good, but not great.  Definitely the second best fry offering. Also a 6 out of 10.

The curly fries are the best thing Brenda's has.  Crisp, seasoned ringlets of goodness that leave you wanting more.  These rate a 7 out of 10. 

I will say that Brenda's has redeemed itself in my eyes with the fry offerings, but barely.....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Grunion Plays Star Wars

GRUNION: Hey dad!  Remember that scene in Star Wars when they were trapped in the prison hallway and they had to go down into the trash compactor?
GIBBY: Um, yes...

GRUNION:  I can't hold them off forever!  There isn't any other way out!

GIBBY:  Um...when did you see Star Wars?

GRUNION:  This door is locked too!

GRUNION:  Looks like we only have one choice. 

GRUNION:  We gotta go down the garbage chute!

GIBBY:  The garbage chute?
GRUNION:  Someone has to save our skins!  Get in there you big furry oaf!  I don't care what you smell!

GIBBY:  Okay, you're going in the baby jail...
GRUNION:  AAAAHHH!  Something here in the trash compactor just moved past my leg!

GIBBY:  It was Elmo.