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Gravy on French Fries

chef chicklet Dec 20, 2006 11:01 PM

When I was 18 I spent the best summer of my entire life in New York. Peekskill NY, but me and my crazy cousins ventured into the city and wow did we have a ball!
I think that is when my adventure with food began, they treated me to a more than a few dinners that were outstanding but at that young age these are the most that stick in my mind.

One was a steak that was grain fed? Am I dreaming about this? It was so GOOD!
And the other was french fries with gravy. OH MY GAWD!

Are the french fries and gravy a figment of my imagination or can you still get them. And it was brown gravy by the way....

  1. g
    garrypacman Apr 12, 2007 02:39 PM

    I am from Poughkeepsie, NY and for lunch every day when I was in High School we all went to the nearest diner and had french fries and gravy and some added ketchup with salt and pepper. MMMMMM soooo good! Everyone here in texas thinks I am crazy and don't like it. Guess you have to be a blood yankee. :} I love em and crave for them and make them for myself.

    1. j
      jujuthomas Jan 31, 2007 05:46 AM

      Loooove FF with Gravy! Beef gravy - one time I ordered it and they came with chicken gravy. yuck! I had them last month at a diner near my home, and I know by BIL gets them all the time back home in upstate NY.. for sure diner food, at least as far as I've seen.
      When my DH and I were in London a couple years ago I made him go to the bar and order me some! LOL!!! They looked at him like he had sprouted and extra head! it was hilarious, and they tasted so good - he still hasn't forgiven me though! :)

      1. l
        Lucia Jan 29, 2007 08:21 AM

        I've definitely had them--a little bit of poutine and a lot of "disco fries" still exist in NYC. I'm not a big fan. I prefer to dip my fries so they don't get too soggy.

        1. p
          Pampatz Jan 28, 2007 01:16 PM

          Growing up in Texas, it was thin sliced fried with white sausage biscuits and biscuits.
          In Colorado, green chile cheese fries.
          In Mexico, McCains Super Crispers with pesto mayo.
          Love them all.

          1. septocaine_queen Jan 27, 2007 11:49 PM

            Being from Southern California I have natural guilt eating any french fries that aren't baked. Sad isn't it.

            When my mom and stepdad lived in Montreal, I would always step up to the trough and eat poutine at any chance especially in the winter, where you could hide behind layers of clothes. I can't here where it averages 72 year around. The real guilty pleasure is, I like the poutine at Mcdonalds the best.

            1. NovoCuisine Jan 27, 2007 11:20 AM

              Strange, I thought fries and gravy was a pretty normal thing.

              When I visited Ottawa last, I ordered fries/gravy at a few places and they spike their gravy with curry - it is soooo good.

              I like gravy on the side. Poutine is awesome, but I only usually end up eating 1/4 of what I order because of the soggy fries. Dipping a crisp fry into a side of gravy is the best.

              1. hitachino Jan 27, 2007 10:24 AM

                irish pubs that have food usually will serve up a mean brown gravy that you can use for your fries. but nothing beats some crispy potato wedges smothered in cheddar, bacon, sour cream and chives. (which, coincidently, you can also get at most irish pubs)

                i remember seeing poutine all over the place in montreal -- even on the menu at a burger king. i wasn't brave enough to try it then, but now i wish i would have. the other thing that was all over the place up there that i'd never heard of was "loose meat".

                i kept asking people what kind of meat it was but everyone just looked at me like i was nuts.

                2 Replies
                1. re: hitachino
                  revsharkie Jan 27, 2007 11:09 AM

                  If loose meat is there like it is in the midwestern U.S., it's seasoned ground beef, sort of like a sloppy joe but without the BBQ/tomato/whatever sauce. A sandwich made with it goes by different names in different places: in Iowa it's Maid-Rite, in Wichita Nu-Way, or maybe a generic Beef Burger like we used to serve at the municipal golf course where I used to work in Wichita.

                  1. re: hitachino
                    C70 Jan 31, 2007 03:43 AM

                    I've never seen loose meat in Canada, and I'm a Montrealer. Are you sure you don't mean "smoke meat" (AKA smoked meat)

                  2. Carmelizedbunions Jan 27, 2007 09:39 AM

                    Primanti Bros, got it, I had pastrami and i'll never forget that sandwich.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Carmelizedbunions
                      Kelli2006 Jan 27, 2007 10:49 AM

                      Carmelizedbunions, the sandwiches with slaw and fries at primanti are great, but I think that the fries at the "Dirty O" are better. My favorite Primanti sandwich was the steak or pastrami.

                      I went to U-Pitt and we used to get a small order of fries and top them with gravy and malt vinegar and plenty of salt. It has been a few years since I have been to Quebec, but the food that is available there is amazing.

                    2. iL Divo Jan 27, 2007 09:11 AM

                      a hearty yahoooooooooooooooooooo regarding poutine. You really must go north just to get some. My personal vote is for Jamie Kennedy's Wine bar in Toronto. His poutine is very fancy and a bit over the top which to me, added to it's fabulousness............ < is that a word?

                      Primanti Bros in the Berg. Oh my heavens, that is one sandwich that is worth making a trip for. I ate the whole thing, while sitting at the bar, and then told the maker of my masterpiece, that I didn't like it and wanted a refund. He saw my empty napkin and paper plate, and laughed. I hugged him when I left, point being, I adored it.

                      1. Carmelizedbunions Jan 27, 2007 08:58 AM

                        Anyone been to Permani Brothers in Pittsburg, deli sandwiches with fresh cut fries and slaw right on it, open 24-7. Ever been to Salt Lake City, the normal condiment there is "fry sauce" mayo and ketchup i assume cause its pink, and sometimes spiced up. I try to stay away but the chili cheese frys at Sonic are ridiculous. I always like to mix malt vinegar with my ketchup.

                        1. c
                          camp1980 Jan 2, 2007 06:07 PM

                          Wow I am completely surprised after reading this that most people don't eat gravy or vinegar on their fries or that some people have never even heard of it.

                          My favorite is fries, gravy, cheese and vinegar, lots and lots of vinegar (white or malt).

                          Was in Buffalo for a couple of days and ate at the hotel restaurant the whole time. Every meal (including breakfast) I would ask for vinegar. They always delivered apple cider vinegar to the table. Then on the last morning I asked for vinegar and the server asked if we wanted white. I couldn't beleive that for the entire weekend the restaurant had white vinegar and we were using the apple cider.

                          As for poutine I agree that the best poutine is done with cheese curds, but here in Southern Ontario it is not easy to come by fresh cheese curds. Most restaurants here refer to poutine as fries, cheese and gravy.

                          Oh and the gravy is brown, usually beef gravy but not always. Never would I eat my fries with white gravy or a cream gravy.

                          Fries with curry also really good, but I only ate that when I lived in Scotland.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: camp1980
                            sierramum Jan 3, 2007 08:17 PM

                            "Oh and the gravy is brown, usually beef gravy but not always. Never would I eat my fries with white gravy or a cream gravy."

                            I'm with your there, camp1980!

                            And I've never had fries with curry but it sounds intriguing. Do they only serve fries like that in Scotland/Britain?

                            1. re: sierramum
                              C70 Jan 3, 2007 09:21 PM

                              a British pub I worked at served curry & chips. it was curry sauce over crisp, british skin-on fries.

                              1. re: sierramum
                                camp1980 Jan 6, 2007 11:31 AM

                                I have seen fries with curry in a few pubs but to me it just wouldn't be the same. THe Scots do curry really well and I can't seem to find it as good at home so I have given up my search of a good curry.

                            2. QueenB Dec 30, 2006 12:46 AM

                              I'm so basic.

                              I like one of three things on my fries:

                              Cheese Wiz (I should be shot for this)
                              Malt Vinegar (on the thick-cut fries)

                              I've had gravy fries, and just didn't care for them.

                              1. ElsieDee Dec 29, 2006 10:13 PM

                                The Canadian Cafe in Monrovia, California, advertises something called: Canadian Fries (with gravy made with ground beef and mushrooms -- fondly called "wet fries").


                                2 Replies
                                1. re: ElsieDee
                                  sierramum Dec 30, 2006 12:23 AM

                                  Wow. I've never heard of "Canadian Fries". I've never had fries with gravy that's made with ground beef and mushrooms. And I'm certainly not familiar with the term "wet fries", fondly or not. Is there any information on whether these fries come from the Maritimes? Because I've been everywhere west of Quebec/Ontario and have never run across anything remotely like that. (And if I ever did, I have to admit that I'd be a little repulsed.)

                                  1. re: sierramum
                                    piccola Dec 30, 2006 10:50 AM

                                    I've never heard of them either. Sounds like a bastard cousin of the dreaded "Italian poutine" made with bolognese and mozzarella.

                                2. m
                                  meatpieking Dec 29, 2006 02:54 AM

                                  I enjoy chips and gravy or chips and curry.

                                  Also dipped in honey mustard is good as well.

                                  1. m
                                    munch_kin Dec 28, 2006 02:59 AM

                                    They got 'em in Philly. After twenty years of living in the area, I have yet to get up enough nerve to try some!

                                    1. r
                                      rtmonty Dec 28, 2006 01:46 AM

                                      Fries and grave are fine as long as it's CREAM gravy, notihing dark. In Texas it's a somewhat common dish, especially with CFS (chicken fried steak.) Love it.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: rtmonty
                                        janbrady Dec 29, 2006 10:02 PM

                                        CREAM gravy, no way! Cream on biscuits. Dark gravy on fries. Just a Baltimorean talking, though.

                                        1. re: janbrady
                                          piccola Dec 29, 2006 11:42 PM

                                          please excuse my ignorance - what's cream gravy? is it just regular gravy with cream in it, or something else altogether?

                                          1. re: piccola
                                            QueenB Dec 30, 2006 12:45 AM

                                            Cream gravy is made from an oil and flour roux, then milk is added until gravy consistency. Then, you add salt and a ton of black pepper.

                                            1. re: QueenB
                                              piccola Dec 30, 2006 10:48 AM

                                              oh... isn't that a white sauce? granted, it's made with oil instead of butter...

                                              and that would be totally gross on fries, by the way.

                                              1. re: piccola
                                                QueenB Dec 30, 2006 11:07 PM

                                                Yes, it is very similar to a bechamel or white sauce. And I can't imagine it being good on fries at all.

                                                1. re: QueenB
                                                  Davwud Jan 27, 2007 08:42 AM

                                                  It's essentially a bechamel made from sausage and sausage fat.
                                                  From what I can assertain, the difference between bechemel and gravy is that gravy MUST contain meat drippings. Otherwise it's a sauce.


                                      2. s
                                        SuzyInChains Dec 27, 2006 03:14 AM

                                        We've had fries with gravy as far back as I can remember here in Maryland. It was always good bar food with pitchers of beer in high school... um, I mean college! Yeah, when we turned 21 and not a day earlier!

                                        1. d
                                          divachloe Dec 26, 2006 06:27 PM

                                          I love french fries with gravy myself!!!!!!!

                                          1. Quine Dec 25, 2006 03:44 AM

                                            French fries with gravy Wets in diner lingo..or at least the diners I knew. Great at 3Am Sunday after Sat. Partying.

                                            And to add to the mix....french fries with Mayo...use it like Catsup.

                                            1. m
                                              marlie202 Dec 24, 2006 11:43 PM

                                              I still prefer mayonnaise but I have eaten the frites with vinegar in Australia and liked it--I also like ketchup but not big on poutine- or gravy-although I like gravy on mashed potatoes--I like the frites crunchy so I dip them in mayo on the side-yum

                                              1. MsDiPesto Dec 24, 2006 08:16 PM

                                                I'll usually make a roux and use beef broth (yes, from the Knorr's cubes or whatever I have) when making poutine. It's pretty tasty after I doctor it with a few things from the spice cabinet.

                                                1. c
                                                  cooknKate Dec 24, 2006 01:50 PM

                                                  I think it is hilarious when I eat fries and gravy around someone who is totally flabbergasted that I would do such a thing, until I point out that mashed potatoes and GRAVY are common, but that mashed potatoes and KETCHUP are not.

                                                  I am only doing what is natural. Potatoes and ketchup is not natural....not to me. Pardon me, those who love it.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: cooknKate
                                                    Davwud Dec 24, 2006 03:04 PM

                                                    "Ketchup loves potatoes"
                                                    ~Stompin' Tom Connors~


                                                    1. re: Davwud
                                                      revsharkie Dec 24, 2006 08:08 PM

                                                      I had some frozen tater tots the other night but was out of ketchup. So I tried them with some Thai chili sauce. Wasn't half bad!

                                                      1. re: revsharkie
                                                        C70 Dec 25, 2006 12:08 PM

                                                        oooh tater tots are also great with mayo. I like a little dijon in mine. and vinegar, of course, on the tots.

                                                        1. re: C70
                                                          Covert Ops Dec 25, 2006 05:24 PM

                                                          My stepson Corey makes what we call "Corey sauce" for french fries -- ketchup, mustard and mayo in equal portions. I won't touch it, but DH loves it.

                                                        2. re: revsharkie
                                                          Davwud Dec 25, 2006 04:27 PM

                                                          That does sound great.


                                                    2. spades Dec 24, 2006 04:30 AM

                                                      Chili fries are the best! With sour cream on the side.

                                                      Poutine is awesome to try. Very filling an an experience all it's own. But IMHO in addition to fresh curds, the gravy needs to be beef stock based.

                                                      I've tried it at home with shredded mozzarella and mushroom sauce over McCain superfries, and it was pretty good too.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: spades
                                                        RiJaAr Dec 25, 2006 03:40 AM

                                                        my favorite fries were at a drive inn i used to work at, fries with chili, cheese, gravy and grilled mushrooms on it.. sounds disgusting, tastes devine

                                                      2. Davwud Dec 24, 2006 02:18 AM

                                                        I love fries when they're hot. Either salted, w/ketchup, w/gravy, gravy and ketchup, chili cheese fries or poutine.

                                                        For those who've never had poutine, you definitely need to try this "Gastronomical train wreck" as A. Bourdain called it. He had them on his NR Quebec show. He also absolutely loved them and has for years. He's also a traditionalist. If you can get FRESH cheese curds near you, make yourself a nice REAL beef gravy and some high end fries. You'll love it.


                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: Davwud
                                                          Das Ubergeek Dec 29, 2006 04:01 PM

                                                          Poutine is usually made with velouté of chicken, isn't it?

                                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                            C70 Dec 29, 2006 09:42 PM

                                                            not traditionally. It's a darker, chicken OR beef gravy here in Quebec. We're lucky in that many decent ones are available in a can. :)

                                                            If you try to make it homemade, use curds if you can and a dark gravy. Roast chicken or roast beef gravy, never anything creamy. :shudder:

                                                            1. re: C70
                                                              Das Ubergeek Dec 30, 2006 10:18 PM

                                                              Hm, I've never had it with beef gravy, even in the Cantons de l'Est (how does one translate that, anyway? Counties?). It might be tasty. I like it with St.-Hubert sauce, though, shamefully enough.

                                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                FlavoursGal Dec 30, 2006 10:54 PM

                                                                Les Cantons de l'Est translates as the Eastern Townships.

                                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                  piccola Dec 30, 2006 11:00 PM

                                                                  The St-Hubert sauce has a cult following, for a reason.

                                                          2. r
                                                            RiJaAr Dec 23, 2006 10:44 PM

                                                            that is the saddest thing i have ever heard... you never had fries with gravy before? how did you eat them?
                                                            fries are almost automatically served with gravy here, or with cheese and gravy, aka poutine.
                                                            they don't have to get soggy either, i always get my gravy on the side and dip my fries, like with ketchup..
                                                            you seriously can't get fries and gravy there? weird.

                                                            BTW, fries with a side of tarter sauce, or a side of honey dill is also awesome

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: RiJaAr
                                                              chef chicklet Dec 24, 2006 04:58 PM

                                                              Oh, I was a young teenager from Oregon at the time I was initated to the brown gravy on fries in new York. I've craved them ever since. I now live in Northern CA no for approximately 25 years, I am sure they are around here somewhere, but I have not found them and they are not a normal thing as they seem to be all over the rest of the country. And when you say "here" where?

                                                              If there is a Northern (Bay area - to SF ) hound in here that know who serves them, let me know! I would be delighted to find them again!

                                                              1. re: chef chicklet
                                                                RiJaAr Dec 25, 2006 03:39 AM

                                                                here = canada :)

                                                                1. re: RiJaAr
                                                                  chef chicklet Dec 26, 2006 05:18 PM

                                                                  You're right I owe my nephew in Toronto a visit, I'm sure he has a place that he can introduce me to this wonderful dish "poutine" and I can't wait!

                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet
                                                                    cheesymama Jan 28, 2007 11:34 AM

                                                                    Try the Blue chip truck in front of city hall (Toronto). You won't be disappointed!

                                                            2. m
                                                              marlie202 Dec 22, 2006 10:34 PM

                                                              chaque on son gout--I prefer french fries lightly salted with mayo on the side

                                                              1. s
                                                                sarahbeth Dec 22, 2006 03:01 PM

                                                                Oh yeah, definately love the brown beef gravy on fries. It is served that way in Northeast PA!

                                                                1. Covert Ops Dec 22, 2006 02:57 PM

                                                                  Let's turn this on its head. . .I love crispy fries with HONEY MUSTARD. :D

                                                                  1. m
                                                                    madisoneats Dec 22, 2006 12:26 PM

                                                                    O yeah-- a Central PA favorite. All the diners have them-- we call them "wets"

                                                                    1. c
                                                                      Cinnamon Dec 22, 2006 01:41 AM

                                                                      FWIW, spicy pork gravy (really spicy) is probably great on those - have had it on deep-fried okra at a Southern restaurant.

                                                                      1. h
                                                                        Hue Dec 21, 2006 11:13 PM

                                                                        In Baltimore..Iconic diner food, a hot roast beef sandwich(open faced) with french fries and gravy(beef) on everything!!!!

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Hue
                                                                          Ben Dec 26, 2006 06:43 PM

                                                                          It certainly was some time ago (1981?), but if my memory serves me right weren't fries with gravy featured in the great Baltimore movie "Diner"? I think it was where I first learned of them(?).

                                                                          1. re: Hue
                                                                            janbrady Dec 27, 2006 02:38 PM

                                                                            Ok, thank you, I was reading this thread in horror that so many people had never had gravy and fries. Now I see that being from Baltimore is probably how I know about them.

                                                                            (And then there are Boardwalk Fries with the malt vinegar. Yum.)

                                                                          2. c
                                                                            cooknKate Dec 21, 2006 09:37 PM

                                                                            I eat them this way ALL the time, and I live in the Midwest. I don't like the gravy poured over them, I like a cup of it to dip them in. Thick dark beef gravy......oh my it is SO yummy!! Of course, the ultimate is chili cheese fries, but that gets to be so heavy.

                                                                            I also love them with honey mustard, spicy ranch dressing, bearnaise sauce, blue cheese dressing (sometimes) and plain yellow mustard. But with ketchup??? No way

                                                                            1. l
                                                                              LStaff Dec 21, 2006 08:16 PM

                                                                              I've also had pizza fries in a diner near the NY/NJ boarder with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

                                                                              There was one off-menu combo that people would talk about that had a disgusting name which I won't post here. Gravy, tomato sauce, and cheese - and mayo also if want it really gross.

                                                                              If I don't want the fries to get soggy, I just get the gravy on the side and dip as necessary. I like a little ketchup on my gravy fries as well.

                                                                              1. d
                                                                                djohnson22 Dec 21, 2006 08:14 PM

                                                                                Man, I am SOOOO hungry for fries right now! With gravy... or malt vinegar... or tartar sauce... or melted cheese... or... Yum.

                                                                                I definitely agree with MsDiPesto that cold fries (and re-heated also) are absolutely crap and nasty.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: djohnson22
                                                                                  sivyaleah Jan 27, 2007 09:05 AM

                                                                                  If you think fries and tartar sauce are good - try onion rings with it sometime, Really great combination, but they have to be the homemade kind, not some frozen garbage.

                                                                                2. sierramum Dec 21, 2006 06:13 PM

                                                                                  This is such an interesting thread! I always thought that fries'n'gravy were totally Canadian. CookingGirl, when I went to Boston a few years back, I got the exact same reaction as yours when I asked for gravy on my fries! They'd never heard of that combination and looked at me like I was just weird.

                                                                                  Also, regarding the sogginess caused by the gravy, some people don't mind it I guess but I just ask for my gravy on the side (which means in a small styrofoam container if you're doing the take-out route).

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: sierramum
                                                                                    hatless Jan 28, 2007 12:32 PM

                                                                                    But if the gravy's on the side, are you reaheating it? How else is it gonna melt half the cheese curds?

                                                                                    1. re: hatless
                                                                                      sierramum Jan 30, 2007 04:31 PM

                                                                                      Actually, I was just referring to plain ol' fries with gravy. Poutine is a different story altogether! :)

                                                                                  2. MsDiPesto Dec 21, 2006 05:45 PM

                                                                                    I am happy to be able to get cheese curds from the vendors at the local Farmers Market here, and make my own poutine! Yum! I just got some curds with onion flavor I'm dying to try this way.

                                                                                    One thing though...avoid cold fries, esp with cheese, as I almost choked to death on them one night years ago...Yikes!

                                                                                    1. c
                                                                                      CookingGirl Dec 21, 2006 04:29 PM

                                                                                      So funny to see this post today. I'm from Boston, and I was at a diner in Jersey City this weekend, and we struck up a conversation with one of the regulars at 2am. She was telling us to get fries with gravy and mozzarella and I was like "What?!!?" At first I didn't know if she meant "gravy" like red sauce (I'm Italian-American and that's what my family calls it) or what...but then we figured it was brown gravy and cheese. Sounded odd at the time so I stuck with a grilled cheese, but now I'm wishing I tried it!

                                                                                      1. RShea78 Dec 21, 2006 03:56 PM

                                                                                        At home I make various forms of sliced skillet fries, like;

                                                                                        American Fries (salt & pepper)
                                                                                        German Fries (Salt, pepper, & onion).
                                                                                        River Fries (peels left on, seasoned like either above)

                                                                                        Depending on the meat I plan on serving with a meal, Beef, pork, or chicken I make the gravies accordingly. Beef or a Southern Pan style gravy for the chicken are the norms.

                                                                                        Quick (and dirty) meals may sound like River Fries with browned hamburger mixed, and then topped with brown (beef) gravy. Or Shredded frozen potatoes in place of the sliced fresh ones. Fried chicken breasts or fingers / above potato choice / and Southern Pan gravy.

                                                                                        My apologies if this sounds like I am rambling on, but this Chowhound does get carried away at the mention of food!. ;-)

                                                                                        1. h
                                                                                          Hungry Celeste Dec 21, 2006 03:54 PM

                                                                                          The french-fried potato poboy with roast beef gravy has a long and storied history in/around New Orleans...it takes the gravy fries concept to another degree by putting the whole mess inside french bread, dressed with mayo, lettuce, and tomatoes.

                                                                                          1. s
                                                                                            Sharuf Dec 21, 2006 10:25 AM

                                                                                            I once worked at a drive-in in Portland OR, and my favorite meal break treat was crispy hash browns drenched in the standard house brown gravy. Sometimes I could talk the cook into adding sauteed onions or mushrooms to the creation.

                                                                                            1. revsharkie Dec 21, 2006 03:04 AM

                                                                                              Murphy's Steak House, Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Rich, dark, dark brown gravy dumped all over a hot hamburger and real homemade french fries. It's a heart attack on a plate, but you MUST TRY IT!

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: revsharkie
                                                                                                C70 Dec 21, 2006 11:23 AM

                                                                                                this is one of my favorite junky meals to make at home. a can of hot beef gravy poured over a hamburger, fries, and served with peas of course! "hot hamburger" and "hot chicken"(same but with BBQ chicken and white bread) are on every diner menu in Quebec.

                                                                                                the secret to a good poutine, or fries with gravy is crispy fries, otherwise you get a soggy mess. and put a litle white vinegar on it.. you won't be disappointed!

                                                                                                1. re: revsharkie
                                                                                                  Will Owen Dec 22, 2006 01:19 AM

                                                                                                  HOLY S***! Murphy's is still in business?? Still on the west edge of town? I was stationed at the USAF radar site that was on the hill just west of the airport in 1960, and had the deep pleasure of treating myself to a Murphy's burger at least once a week, even though at $1.25 it seriously strained my $120/mo. budget.

                                                                                                  There was another, fancier steakhouse in the middle of town that had been recommended by Duncan Hines, so it got all the out-of-town trade...but every Sunday morning you'd see whole families sneaking out of church in mid-sermon to join the line snaking around Murphy's little building!

                                                                                                  1. re: Will Owen
                                                                                                    revsharkie Dec 22, 2006 01:26 AM

                                                                                                    Absolutely they're still in business, and in the very same place! Think of the public outcry if they should go away. You can still get the same burgers, the same homemade fries, the same dark brown gravy. I was there in August (I grew up just north of B-ville in Kansas--as a matter of fact I was born in B-ville when my parents both worked for Phillips--but I'm in Iowa now), and if they're open I'm sure we'll go there next week. We introduced my husband's grandson from Oregon--a place where they don't seem to know from gravy--to Murphy's over the summer and he loved it.

                                                                                                    Murphy's was actually destroyed in (I think) 1982 by a tornado, but they rebuilt almost immediately, and almost identical to the way it had been. The tornado hit at like 5:30 p.m.--luckily it was Monday, so they were closed, or else there may have been casualties.

                                                                                                    1. re: revsharkie
                                                                                                      Will Owen Dec 22, 2006 07:35 PM

                                                                                                      Murphy himself was still in charge when I was there, often sitting at the counter smoking and drinking coffee, but always in his stained cap and apron. The story was that he'd cut a steak off every side he was offered and cook it and eat it, and if it didn't pass muster he'd pass it along to the fancy joint. This could have been myth...

                                                                                                      Now I have to figure out where I can go with B-ville as a side trip!

                                                                                                2. k
                                                                                                  kobetobiko Dec 21, 2006 03:03 AM

                                                                                                  I LOVE POUTINE as well. When I lived in Canada I always had fries with gravy or poutine. Now I live in NYC and I can't find poutine that is as good as the ones I had in Canada. Even at Pomme Frites (on 7th and 2nd Ave) which is supposed to be the best fries in Manhatton, they can't do the poutine right. They have good Belgium thick cut fries, and the different mayo or sauces are great, but the poutine is just not right. I was so disappointed when I had poutine there, I eventually just have to stick with the regular fries with other sauces.

                                                                                                  1. eddieandcleo Dec 21, 2006 03:02 AM

                                                                                                    Fries with gravy is a favorite diner dish here in Baltimore. You may have seen it featured in the Barry Levinson movie, "Diner". Super good, especially late at night after some drinking and carousing.

                                                                                                    Love the sound of that Quebecois dish too. Learned to love fried cheese curds during my tenure in Minnesota.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: eddieandcleo
                                                                                                      theflytyr Dec 30, 2006 11:10 AM

                                                                                                      Eddie where can you find them in Baltimore? My son is at Hopkins and here in Florida the only place that had them closed.

                                                                                                    2. t
                                                                                                      tartetatin Dec 20, 2006 11:53 PM

                                                                                                      Cheese fries and poutine (pronounced kind of like puht-zin here in Quebec) are not the same thing. Cheese curds have a very specific texture and sound and also melt differently than other cheeses. There are subtle differences between recipes (we all know about Au Pied du Cochon's delicious take on it), but the traditional poutine is just frites, sauce brun ou blanche) and cheese curds. yummy! Like LindaWhit, though, I also like an unadulterated fry.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: tartetatin
                                                                                                        FlavoursGal Dec 21, 2006 02:56 AM

                                                                                                        Moi aussi, tartetatin. There's nothing like the frites in La Belle Province (and I don't mean the hot dog chain!) - they're sweet, crispy and slightly soggy, all at the same time, and NEVER, EVER frozen! Along with a "steame all-dress avec de choux" - pure heaven. Translation of previous sentence: an all-dressed steamed hot dog with cabbage.

                                                                                                        And by the way, folks, I grew up in Montreal and never heard of poutine until I was in my twenties. It was a regional Quebec thing that suddenly became the rage in the 1980's.

                                                                                                      2. ipsedixit Dec 20, 2006 11:46 PM

                                                                                                        The Hat (various locations in Southern California) has what they call "wet fries" -- which is basically fries with gravy.

                                                                                                        Good stuff.


                                                                                                        1. TonyO Dec 20, 2006 11:33 PM

                                                                                                          Gravy fries are what put Nectar's in Burlington on the map (oh yeah, and some band called Phish). I see more people ask for gravy on fries than ketchup). Seems localized to upstate NY and Vermont (and the aforementioned Poutine in Canada).

                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: TonyO
                                                                                                            Covert Ops Dec 21, 2006 04:08 PM

                                                                                                            Nah, Jersey diners are all about fries w/mozzarella and gravy too. Freaks out my Southern friends. Then again, to them brown gravy is only for turkey -- every other gravy is white.

                                                                                                            1. re: Covert Ops
                                                                                                              RShea78 Dec 21, 2006 07:06 PM

                                                                                                              >>> Then again, to them brown gravy is only for turkey -- every other gravy is white.

                                                                                                              Not in these Indiana woods would that pass for me. Geez, I once ordered a steak and mashed potatoes and was expecting the dark-rich brown gravy. No, I got the actually a white "flour" gravy base with a browning sauce added. I asked the waitress before I even ordered it, that I wanted the real brown beef gravy. Fortunately the chef came out and made me the gravy I wanted and made me a fresh steak. (He substuted a 16oz Porterhouse for a 10oz T-Bone, for all my troubles. he claims he and the boss got into it as this far north not everyone likes the brown flour gravy.)

                                                                                                              1. re: Covert Ops
                                                                                                                jfood Dec 22, 2006 10:26 PM

                                                                                                                "fries w/mozzarella and gravy"? The only time I saw "wet" fries was when i ordered a hot open faced sanwich (turkey or beef) and the gravy from the sandwich sneaked over the line and attacked the fries. Sometimes this was a good thing, always dipped in ketchup (only heinz) and other times they just got too soggy.

                                                                                                                I neverr saw mozz cheese w fries when I was a regular at NJ diners in the 70's. Where might that be CO? Must be a southern NJ thing.

                                                                                                                1. re: jfood
                                                                                                                  Covert Ops Dec 24, 2006 06:33 PM

                                                                                                                  I'm from Bayonne, jfood, which is across from NYC. Other diners around Hudson/Bergen counties had the same thing -- Jersey City, Hoboken, etc.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood
                                                                                                                    Das Ubergeek Dec 29, 2006 03:57 PM

                                                                                                                    I'm from Middlesex County and disco fries were very, very common in diners -- though it was usually American or Velveeta, not mozzarella. You could get mozz if you asked for it special.

                                                                                                                2. re: TonyO
                                                                                                                  KnittingShaker Dec 21, 2006 05:48 PM

                                                                                                                  Is the gravy at Nectar's chicken gravy? That's what I seem to remember, but it was also about 1am after a long night of drinking when I had them.

                                                                                                                  1. re: TonyO
                                                                                                                    Candy Dec 21, 2006 08:03 PM

                                                                                                                    Also vinegar on fries. That freaks some people out on visits to the North Country. A shaker bottle always used to come automatically on the drive in trays when you ordered fr fr pots.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Candy
                                                                                                                      Covert Ops Dec 24, 2006 06:34 PM

                                                                                                                      I first tasted vinegar on fries at, of all places, the Starlight Cafe across from Space Mountain in Walt Disney World. They offered it in packets right next to the ketchup. Bless the tourists that made that possible! :-)

                                                                                                                      1. re: Covert Ops
                                                                                                                        revsharkie Dec 24, 2006 08:07 PM

                                                                                                                        20 years ago, as a freshly-minted high school graduate, I spent the summer in Ireland. The first or second day we were there, still suffering with jet lag, we went out on the prowl looking for someplace to eat. Ended up at this tiny hole-in-the-wall called the Kingfisher, not far from the bottom of O'Connell Street. The guy who ran the place had just sat down for a break and had a huge plate of chips, which he proceeded to drown with vinegar from the bottle on the table. I must have looked at him like he had three heads, because he laughed at me.

                                                                                                                        Next time I went in there I tried the chips that way, and loved them! It's one of my favorite ways to eat them now--if brown gravy from Murphy's is not to be had.

                                                                                                                        1. re: revsharkie
                                                                                                                          C70 Dec 25, 2006 12:09 PM

                                                                                                                          fires with gravy AND a little vinegar is great. try it.

                                                                                                                  2. c
                                                                                                                    chefdater Dec 20, 2006 11:19 PM

                                                                                                                    there are a bunch of places that have disco fries (cheese fries with gravy) on their menus..great late night food.

                                                                                                                    1. o
                                                                                                                      Old Red Dec 20, 2006 11:08 PM

                                                                                                                      I grew up in Upstate NY, heck I'm still here, gravy on ffries is common. I agree with Candy that poutine is the way to go.

                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Old Red
                                                                                                                        chef chicklet Dec 20, 2006 11:24 PM

                                                                                                                        I was not introduced to Poutine during that trip, but it sure sounds good. My nephew is in Toronto and I owe him a visit, I'll be sure to try them when I go.

                                                                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet
                                                                                                                          piccola Dec 21, 2006 02:19 AM

                                                                                                                          not to sound snobby, especially about such a working-class food, but the poutine you'll find in toronto (and in most places outside quebec) won't be that great. with so few ingredients, you really need them to be the best - particularly the cheese curds, which need to be super fresh

                                                                                                                          1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                            julesrules Dec 21, 2006 03:05 PM

                                                                                                                            True, but you can post or review old posts on the Toronto board - I think there are a couple of places that do cheese curds, and many places that do grated cheese versions or even haute versions. It's not a Toronto specialty, it is definitely better in Quebec were every "dep" or corner store has fresh curds. But it's still something fun to try. And crappy gravy somehow tastes much better with cheese.

                                                                                                                            1. re: julesrules
                                                                                                                              piccola Dec 22, 2006 12:23 AM

                                                                                                                              I'm not that familiar with Toronto, but I'm sure you're right.

                                                                                                                              Oh, and I kinda like to use St. Hubert's sauce, even though it's really ghetto...

                                                                                                                            2. re: piccola
                                                                                                                              RiJaAr Dec 23, 2006 10:48 PM

                                                                                                                              BTW, calling it a "working-class food" DOES make you sound snobby

                                                                                                                              1. re: RiJaAr
                                                                                                                                piccola Dec 24, 2006 01:57 AM

                                                                                                                                i know. but let's face it - fries in every country started as a working-class food cuz they're cheap. that doesn't mean they're not good.

                                                                                                                        2. Candy Dec 20, 2006 11:05 PM

                                                                                                                          Go one step further and a few steps farther north into Quebec. Poutine. French fries with cheese curds and gravy. Heaven!

                                                                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Candy
                                                                                                                            chef chicklet Dec 20, 2006 11:08 PM

                                                                                                                            cheese curds? please explain?

                                                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet
                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Dec 20, 2006 11:17 PM


                                                                                                                              I guess I'm a French Fry purist - I prefer them lightly salted, with just ketchup to dip them into. Seems like the gravy would make them soggy, IMO.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                macca Dec 21, 2006 04:02 PM

                                                                                                                                I'm with you. I like mine nice and crispy ( I always order them well done when at a restaurant). Just some salt, and I'm happy!

                                                                                                                                1. re: macca
                                                                                                                                  amandine Dec 21, 2006 05:52 PM

                                                                                                                                  There is a place for crispy w/ ketchup, and there is a place for poutine. Chez Ashton in QC, specifically. Regular fries make a good side, but poutine is an entity unto itself. You must try it once. At Chez Ashton.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: amandine
                                                                                                                                    surly Dec 28, 2006 12:48 AM

                                                                                                                                    amandine, is this the chez ashton in quebec city that you're referring to?


                                                                                                                                    Chez Ashton
                                                                                                                                    640, Grande Allée Est
                                                                                                                                    Québec, QC G1R 2K5
                                                                                                                                    (418) 522-3449
                                                                                                                                    Fax (418) 682-2613

                                                                                                                                    "For 37 years, Chez Ashton has served food made from top quality ingredients. Specialties include roast beef sandwiches, hamburgers made from fresh ground beef, fries prepared by hand from fresh potatoes and the traditional Québec "poutines". Rapid and courteous service, pleasant atmosphere."

                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                  Eat_Nopal Apr 12, 2007 02:47 PM

                                                                                                                                  Wouldn't a true French Fry purist not have them with ketchup since ketchup is not used much in France?

                                                                                                                                3. re: chef chicklet
                                                                                                                                  chowser Dec 20, 2006 11:20 PM

                                                                                                                                  They're fresh from the factory and taste, to me, a little like mozzerella cheese only w/ a very different texture and they squeek when you eat them. I had some fed-exed to me so I could make fried cheese curds for a friend for her birthday. Poutine has always sounded so good to me. I'd love to find a place near me to try them (whether or not it's "authentic"). They sound like a food that would be great, even if not.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                    RiJaAr Dec 23, 2006 10:47 PM

                                                                                                                                    i don't think there is such a thing as non-authentic poutin... fries with mozza or curds, and brown gravy. there are so many variations in canada, with different cheeses and different gravies, and they're all delish!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: RiJaAr
                                                                                                                                      piccola Dec 24, 2006 01:56 AM

                                                                                                                                      i disagree. poutine is always made with cheese curds (though there is a debate as to the type of gravy).

                                                                                                                                      there have been spinoffs - ie, "italian poutine" - but the basic recipe is the same.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                        RiJaAr Dec 25, 2006 03:37 AM

                                                                                                                                        and i disagree, poutine doesn't HAVE to made with curds, it tastes great that way, but it doesn't have to be curds

                                                                                                                                        1. re: RiJaAr
                                                                                                                                          piccola Dec 25, 2006 02:28 PM

                                                                                                                                          from what i understand - and i realize i'm not the ultimate authority on the matter - it has to be curds for poutine. otherwise, it's fries with cheese and gravy (which is also good, but not poutine).

                                                                                                                                          1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                            Davwud Dec 25, 2006 04:24 PM

                                                                                                                                            Piccola is correct.


                                                                                                                                  2. re: chef chicklet
                                                                                                                                    Candy Dec 21, 2006 08:00 PM

                                                                                                                                    Cheese curds are very fresh young cheddar in irregular shapes. When you bite into them they squeak and are very delicious. When the curds are pressed into molds (cheddared) and pressed and aged you get cheddar cheese. These are mild, sweet, creamy white and I am not getting a craving and know I can't find any where i live right now. Dang! I may have to do an on line search for some. There is nothing like tyem.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Candy
                                                                                                                                      chowser Dec 21, 2006 08:02 PM

                                                                                                                                      It's expensive but you can have them fed-exed to you.


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