Regional fries-spinoff from the "quirks"
- im_nomad Jan 20, 2008 05:46 AM
Yay, french fries!! so bad for you, and yet so good.
....How are fries done in your area?? (not just how you like them by your lonesome)
In Nfld, where i'm from....aside from the malt (my preference) or regular vinegar which is always on the table ...a common menu item in alot of fish and chips places etc are "fries, dressing and gravy".....basically homemade fries, covered with home made dressing/stuffing (bread crumbs, onions, summer savory), and smothered in gravy. This stuff kept me going through university because it was one of the cheapest items out there. Still love it, but rarely eat it.
Another menu item was the "trucker's special"........basically a heart attack on a plate...fries smothered in such things as fried onions, hamburger, deep fried (yes deep fried) chopped hot dogs and gravy. i'm not sure what else goes on this. I've never eaten it.
A dish seen a couple of times in Nova Scotia "the mess"..........fries, hamburger gravy...and if you want it the traditional way, topped with a scoop of ice cream ( I have no idea why this is )
and yes, the ever favorite Poutine. fries..cheese curds and gravy. how can that be wrong?
I like my fries fresh and hand-cut, (very easy to get here) with a bit of salt and something to dip into-ketchup, whole grain mustard or really good Carolina(Eastern or Western style) BBQ sauce.
The whole smothered-covered thing with fries is very unappealing to me. Baked potatoes, maybe but I like my fries, mostly, naked.
I believe it has been heavily discussed in other boards, but the local-ness of "Fry Sauce" always amazed me. You will not encounter a french fry without being able to get fry sauce in the state of Utah. Cross a border into another state, no one has even heard of the stuff. But in Utah it is always there.
Now, that said, all it is is ketchup and mayo....but it is a strange phenomenon.
It's not just ketchup and mayo; there's some seasoning in there as well but I have no idea what. This is from someone who grew up in Utah and tried to duplicate fry sauce numerous times by mixing ketchup and mayo after I moved away and discovered that no one else knows what fry suace is. When I was growing up in Utah in the 80's it was so ubiquitous that it was actually served in a pump at McDonald's next to the ketchup. For the uninitiated, it's like French dressign but without the relish chunks. If you live in a state that has Artic Circle, it's still available there.
Coming up through school, the most popular lunch item was seasoned fries with honey mustard. I know many of my former classmates still get honey mustard on the side when in restaurants. I am not sure if this qualifies as a local thing, but in my school of 1600 everyone did/does it, as did the students before us, and the students since.
One of many strange but wonderful thing about Canada in the fry realm- this is coming from an emigrant from the US- is, in addition to available-where poutine (not just Quebec, can we let that urban legend die, please?) , is that every greasy spoon will ask if you want "gravy" with your fries. This never happened to me in the US, anywhere.
Here in Houston, fries with chili and cheese on top are are on a lot of menus (not at fine dining places LOL!) I don't like the chili, but I like the cheese occasionally. Another thing is to get fries with your chicken fried steak and put some of the cream gravy on the fries. Very good.
I've never had malt vinegar, and it really doesn't sound appealing to me, but I guess that is a regional thing.
There has been an unfortunate trend here in Calfiornia to serve french fries that are precoated with a seasoned flour of some sort, in order to achieve an extra-crispiness to the fry. In other words, they can sit around a while longer after cooking and still have a perceived "fresh-made" crunch; ironically they end up with a stale flavor. Give me a naked fry every time. I'll salt 'em how I like 'em, please.
Also, most places won't leave a naked fry alone. They dust on a (Cajun?) paprika and garlic salt mixture, like it or not, before serving. I've started to ask for unseasoned fries.
The past few years has seen many places adding Garlic Fries to their menus. Chopped (hopefully fresh) garlic is sprinkled over the serving. These are a separate menu item as are Chili Fries, smothered in Chili and grated cheddar cheese.
And, in a real head-scratcher, a Belgian Fries Shop has sprung up in our college town to cater to students who frequent the downtown bars late at night. Something like $5 an order for the fries and they sell a selection of sauces for an addtional charge each. How in the world can they make downtown rent? At about $10 per order for takeout, I suppose.
Hellman's mayo is my favorite on freshly cut, crispy fries. In Denver we see chili-cheese fries on the menu frequently. It can either be red or green chili. I prefer it on the side instead of drenching the fries and making them soggy.
Several places in Denver make potatoe chip fries that are coated with a paprika and black pepper salt and they are really good.
Restaurants near our home in Mexico typically serve soggy, previously frozen crinkle-cut fries with the Mexican super-sweet catsup. Ruben's in Ixtapa, however, serves great hand cut fries with a nice sea salt (I think). Supermarket fries are the McCain brand from Canada that are really pretty good.
Never could deal with malt vinegar - it's always reminded me of getting a sharp whiff of coal gas up the nose - and I really don't care for ketchup. My personal taste in fries is crisp, airy planks (I like good skinny ones, too) with some kind of flavorful creamy dip - Ranch dressing, tartar sauce, aioli, and sour cream and horseradish have all pleased me. There's a newish place near my Pasadena, CA home, down the road in Eagle Rock, that serves the most wonderful crisp double-fried skinny fries with good aioli - I'm meeting an old friend there for lunch tomorrow, and can hardly wait.