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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chicago Fry Tour

Went to  Chicago again recently to make sure their fries were holding up.  Our first stop was Bangers and Lace. Check out the gas faces on the bartender and the guy at the bar as I was taking this pic.

There are some things going on at B&L that I hadn't noticed (drunk) the other 5 or so times I have been there.  Like the strange stuffed creatures:

This deer giving us the double F-U:

And the fact that even though it was 100 degrees (and broad daylight) they still felt it was necessary to put lit candles on the tables.

Anyhoo, the fries were great, the dipping sauce was great, the price is aok, and the amount is acceptable.  A continued strong 7.

Extra points for the all black bathroom fixtures (no reason, I just thought they looked cool).

Next on the list was the Cheesecake Factory on Michigan Avenue. 

The restaurant is located under this famous building (didn't catch the name).

The decor is what I imagine it would look like if the Cirque du Soleil people opened a restaurant.  Weird.

Chachie got this order of fries with his burger.  I was pretty depressed until...

This is the order I got for $2.99.  Basically a large bowl full of fries.  Awesome!  Believe me, $2.99 for anything on Michigan Ave. in Chicago is a bargain.  Hot, good (but not great) flavor, and the amount vs. price was very good.  Overall, an 8 out of 10.

We stopped in at the Boundary for a surprise inspection as well.  Tots=still good.  Fries=still okay.  The star attraction at the Boundary is still the fried mac and cheese, though.

The next day we headed up to Evanston (30 or so minutes up the road) to check out a place called Edzo's. 

Famous for their burgers, the joint boasts no less than 11 different fry offerings!  Sweet!

I ordered the Garlic Fries, the Buffalo Fries, and the Old Fries.  NICE.

The Garlic Fries were a tad pricy at $3.99, but it was a "sharable" amount so I think it is okay.  Lots of garlic and Parmesan cheese (that seemed fresh) get these a rating of 9 out of 10.

The Buffalo Fries were astoundingly good, with curds of blue cheese and a tasty buffalo sauce. $4.69 freaked me out a bit at first, but after trying them I was cool with the price.  Also a 9 out of 10.

The Old Fries were basically just their fresh-cut fries blanched, drained, and re-fried so they were super crisp.  I think all fries should be like this, so I am not giving them any extra points.  That said, $3.50 for a batch of em is okay, but not great.  7 out of 10.

Our friend Shannon got the Truffle Fries (not pictured) which were really good, but not worth a staggering $5.49.  I would give those a 6 out of 10.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Byron's Hot Dogs

So we went to this street fair in Chicago recently. 

There are always tons of food booths, but this one struck me with its braggadocio.  "Served at the White House", eh?  Must be great!  A little sleuthing shows that sure enough, Byron (aka Mike Payne) did indeed serve stuff at the White House.

Anyhoo, I sauntered up and noticed that they had fries.  2 bucks? Okay, I'll try em.  While I waited I listened to Mike Payne (aka Byron) insult, ridicule and/or verbally berate no less than 6 customers.   And just in case you are wondering, it was not some schtick that the joint is known for.  Mike (aka Byron) is apparently just a dick.

A few minutes later I was presented with this mess.  Soggy, whiny, bitch fries.  Terrible.

Byron (aka Mike "the dick" Payne) may have served his crap at the White House, but he should be serving it to sewer rats.  1 out of 10.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Huddle House

Huddle House is kinda like Waffle House, except that you are supposed to huddle together and wonder why you are there instead of at a Waffle House. We stopped at this one right off the highway between Chicago and St. Louis.

The interior decor is very Waffle Housey. Except not yellow.

An order of fries was $1.59. This is what the order looked like. I included the fork to show scale (there were only 19 fries total).

Blech. Stale, boring, tasteless. Crapola. 5 out of 10.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Germany Has French Fries

Howdy, folks!  One of my international fry spies of intrigue has filed this report from across the pond.  Seems the Germans are into fries as well.  My editorial notes are in bold.

Greetings from Germany!
Hi folks – my name’s Erick and I’m a regular reader and longtime fan of GFFR.  My family and I are spending a couple months in Germany this summer, and with so much great food around, we couldn’t help but think of our fellow GFFR readers, so we asked Gibby if we could contribute a few guest posts and he graciously agreed!  A few days ago, we visited a very old college town in southern Germany called Tübingen.  FYI-the translation of “Tubingen” is “gin-filled tub college town” 

This place is literally just called “X”. The “Scwaben Braü” sign is a beer advertisement.  I guess X marks the spot!

Some local students in line before us show up for their daily fry fix. Hotties! The restaurant has some indoor accommodation, as well as the pick-up window. No one was sitting inside, so we figured the pick-up window is where the action is.  Unlike most establishments in the downtown area, there was quite a queue. “Queue” is a fancy word for “line you wait in to get stuff”.  Screwy euros!

All prices were in Euros, and were quite reasonable.  A small fry was only 1.50 Euro (about $1.80).  I asked the proprietor for a picture, but he politely begged off and hid behind the window – very humble.  He and his fellow kitchen staff appeared to be Turkish.

A helpful local who also speaks English made sure that our order was clearly understood in German:  Two small orders of fries and one “curry wurst” – a German favorite.  Not clear whether the woman or the baby helped with the English.

Here’s a close-up of the menu. My wife Tao and daughter Anya, reflected in the glass as they try to make some sense of the German words.

Is the Grunion one of their sponsors here? The Grunion has not been approached by X for any endorsement offers as of time of publication.

The goods delivered.  Total time from order to delivery was 3 or 4 minutes – very fast turnaround. Everything was hot and fresh. These are the “small” orders, so I give them good marks for quantity.

My son Jeremy: Waddaya mean I can’t eat yet because Dad has to take a picture?” 
Meanwhile my daughter Emily eyes the fries longingly.

Observe the fried goodness!  The fries were so yellow when they came out that they practically glowed in the dark.  NICE. The ketchup was also very nice – all tomato sauce and spices with no sugar added!  The curry wurst was very authentic and kicked everything up a notch.  They even give you this nice roll in case you want to make a curry wurst sandwich, or just mop up the excess curry.

Check out the little wooden forks they give you to keep your hands clean – neat, tidy, and environmentally friendly.  A nice German touch.

The fries were crisp and hot – they stood up to the ketchup without getting soggy too quickly. They were also big enough to retain some warm potato goodness in the center. I found them to be an ideal balance between McDonalds fries (too thin and salty for me) and Steak Fries (often too thick and cold in the center). I would have given them a perfect score if the kitchen staff were a bit more friendly. All in all, I give them a near perfect 9 out of 10 – strongly recommended!  Please note that fry spy ratings do not necessarily reflect actual Gibby ratings. See store for details. Limit one per customer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Naturals Ballpark

Went to Arvest Ballpark for a work thing the other night.  A bunch of people have told me that the fries there were good, so I was pretty excited.  The park has 3 or 4 of these booths with cute names.  Whatever.

Let's see...regular fries for $3.00 and garlic fries for $3.75.  Guess I'll have to try both.

I want to state at this point that as we were waiting for the fries, I noticed that a box-a regular old school- sized box of Cracker Jacks was priced at $2.50!  Thievery! So $3.00 for fries was pretty good for a ballpark.

Regular fries: hot, crispy 1/4" McDonald's-style.  Great amount for the price.  Gonna say 7 out of 10 cause they were kinda bland.

Garlic fries:  Laughable.  75 more cents for a handful of minced garlic straight out of the jar with some parsley added for color thrown on top of the regular fries.  Lots of liquid from the jar to boot, which made them soggy in like 5 seconds.  Tasted better than the regular fries, but stupid overall. 5 out of 10.

All in all, totally worth the trip.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Best Thing Ever II

A while back I posted a link to a video about how to spiral cut your hot dogs.  It looked so cool we decided to give it a try at our annual hot dog extravaganza/fiasco on the 4th of July.  See HERE and HERE.  Anyhoo, this year we decided to "only" grill 50 hot dogs since we couldn't light off fireworks due to the extreme crispiness of the landscape.  We figured if we could only have 1/2 the fun of the 4th, we were only gonna grill 1/2 the amount of dogs. 

I stuck the skewers through the dogs (so as not to handle the knife-see HERE).

Chachie spiral cut the dogs.

It took a while to get good at it...

But soon we had 50.  It took about 20 minutes to cut them all.

They were kind of a pain to pick up and move around on the grill, but I figured out halfway through cooking them that if you grab them with long flat tongs longways like this:

You can pick them up without breaking the thin parts of the spiral.

Looking good...

I thought for a while about how I would express how much better hot dogs are spiral cut and I decided that I would use just one word: Ridicubettertastic.

I can never go back to regular dogs.  Not after this Renaissance.  The condiments really do fit better down in the spirals and the extra meat that is exposed to the flame totally increases the flavor.

Spiral cut dogs = Epic.  Woulda been better with fries, though.