Praise for hashbrowns. What are your memories?
I remember grillmaster in a busy but crowded breakfast venue.
Chapel , NC. All students could walk there there.
These guys sweated hard in the morning.
Crowded, confused, and jumbled for seating
This place had the rep for best hash browns.
With a bit perseverance, some wait, and some jostling
We took seat at the bar behind hashbrown grillman.
He was also in charge of the bacon
which he managed with heavy iron presses
and flipped extra fat to hash browns.
Armed with two 12" spatulas he danced across grill
Turning taters or bacon when needed.
He worked from the right to left.
Right third was bacon, left bulk was hash browns.
Two clangs of steel when HB order was called for.
One to cut, separate it
Next to remove it and platter it.
Praise to the rhythm of such adept grillmen.
And he never los pace when I asked for extra crunchy
He just clanged it on toa sweet space on his grillspace.
I was born into an immigrant family whose palates had never left Asia. For the children, though, the crispy-shelled hashbrowns at McDonald's were our first taste of American dreaming. Certainly we shredded carrots as a shortcut for stirfry and who didn't shred cheese? But shredded potato cakes? This must have been the American Dream our parents had been seeking! While I would graciously accept a heaping mess of shredded and crisp potatoes at a diner, the squared-off patty would forever be the standard to which I held all other hasbrowns.
When I moved out East, I was disappointed to find that the so-called sophisticates in New York confused home fries and hashbrowns and I spent the next decade shaking my head at cubed potatoes and overcooked peppers masquerading as their superior kin.
No need to search my memory -- the best hash browns in my experience were those served at the restaurant in Centennial Airport , a small regional airport on the south side of the Denver metro area used by private and corporate planes . In fact, all the breakfast dishes we ate there were the best. Heuvos rancheros and hash browns -- yum.
If you're in the area, it's the Perfect Landing. http://www.theperfectlanding.com/
Edited to read: "the best breakfast potatoes not necessarily considered by purists to be actual hash browns ......"
I visited my Grandmother in Northern Kentucky (I'm a central Wisconsinite), when I was 14 weeks pregnant. We went out for breakfast with a friend of hers. I've never been a huge breakfast person, but I love hash browns like no one's business. I ordered hash browns with cheddar and tomatoes and whole wheat toast. While we all enjoyed conversation, my Grandma decided that our server was "too attentive", and when our bill came left him a very poor tip. I remember having to fake sickness in the restroom, and telling her to go to the car, then left him an extra $5 for having to deal with her. My Grandma is awful to servers of all sorts, but that's another story. My hash browns were fantastic.
Although techically not a 'hash brown' my earliest memories of hash brownish things was that of the Swanson's meatloaf tv dinner's 'tater tots, I always gobbled up them up before anything else.
Also, I consider myself to be pretty good at cooking, but the only thing I CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME make is hash browns, always end up either oily monstrosities or burnt.
Now you've got me trying to jog a long ago memory. I don't think that was the place, Veggo. The school is on Huntington, IIRC. Running parallel to Huntington was St. Stevens, a short residential block that curved to intersect with Huntington. At that curve was the drugstore/luncheonette with a bar next door. I think it was more directly across from the "Y" than the school.
No lyrics here either lol! but....there was a place in Greenwich Village called Jimmy Day's that had THE best hash browns. They were orange so you were a little put off until you tasted them - wow! I almost cried when they switched to cottage fries. Had the best bloody mary's too!