God how I love a good French fry. In my world they should be included in the food pyramid right beside coffee and pizza. I will eat them from just about anywhere at any time. Even if I don’t think they taste particularly good. Sometimes I order a burger just to get the fries. Actually every time I eat a burger I am sure to stuff some fries inside for added appeal and crunch. If I happen to order a side of cheese fries watch out! That makes me want to do a happy dance. It makes any meal taste better. I could eat them hot or cold as gross as that sounds. Cheese and fries make a lovelier couple than bread and butter.
Seeing as how I love fries, when I heard about a gourmet fry shop in my hometown of New York City I was all too intrigued. I am a regular reader and follower of all things Huffington Post especially their food section. That is where I read a link (see below to check out the list in its entirety) proclaiming to list “America’s Most Outrageous Fries” by Molly Aronica of The Daily Mail. Of course I wanted to see this list. I read all lists announcing the best of any category of food in any city because I never want to miss out on something. This is important knowledge and it’s a good thing I read this list too. Under my noise this whole time and just a short train ride away, was the headquarters of French fry heaven and I almost missed it. ALMOST.
As I clicked through the slides in this article I glanced for anything that would peak my interest in taste or location. Then came my lucky number, which is apparently five. Number five was Pomme Frites and their pomegranate teriyaki mayo.
This was the description:
“One of the most popular fries-only establishments in the country, Pommes Frites in New York's East Village neighborhood serves up cones of freshly fried Belgian-style frites to hungry Manhattanites. The sauces here are where things get very interesting, exemplified by the addictively delicious pomegranate teriyaki mayo. Other options include Vietnamese pineapple mayo, smoked eggplant mayo, and Irish curry sauce.”
I am pretty sure I stopped reading and comprehending after I saw “one of the most popular fries-only establishments in the country”. I was thinking two things. One, there are multiple fries only establishments nationwide? Two, I do not know about them? Three, when the f can I get to this place? Ok I lied that was three things, I know. But as you can see (read?) reliving this is still just as exciting and fresh to me as the day it happened. In my defense that was only a short time ago.
Once I came up for air, I instantly looked them up online and became dizzy when I started to read all of the names of the sauces you can pick from. I couldn’t imagine you would need so many flavors. Some sounded confusing, others mysterious. After all what does Vietnamese pineapple mayo taste like? How does that differ from regular pineapple mayo if they had such a thing? What on God’s green earth is smoked eggplant mayo? Is that good or bad? How many sauces should you try your first time out? How would the fries taste? Or is it really more about the sauces?
All of these questions swirled around my head for days as I pondered when I would go. As soon as I showed my friends this page they were in like Flynn. It so happens that the shop was conveniently located near the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop and Butterlane (see previous blog) and we were making our way to that block that week. It felt like fate that we could fit this into that trip too. I had learned about this just in time. I would praise the French fry God if only I knew his/her name.
On the day of our big outing I was so excited that I just couldn’t hide it. To answer your question, yes I was about to lose control and I did think I would like it. But first I had some serious eating to do.
When we walked in we were all overwhelmed by that infamous sauce list and it was obvious we would still be standing there if not for some help. The great guy that was working there put some samples on a napkin with some fries for us all to taste to help us decide. That almost made it harder because each one was better than the next. There were four of us in total, with us dividing into two groups of two, we decided on: roasted garlic mayo, sweet mango chutney, sweet chilli, and smoked eggplant mayo.
We each had the same thing except for the sweet chilli and smoked eggplant mayo. Had we been paying any attention we would have been smart and got six different flavors to have more of a sampler. But we panicked all at once. I want you to also keep in mind at the time we were the only four in the restaurant so why we were rushing or panicking is beyond me. But we couldn’t help ourselves. It was that tasty and we needed to eat them as fast as they could fry them and believe me that was pretty fast. It was actually so fast that the from the point we started eating to the moment there wasn’t a crump or drop of sauce left, my mouth was still on fire and the paper cones that held the fries was still hot. It never had a moment to cool. The fries cook right before your eyes and once you see them, the sauces are pumped like alcohol shots into their containers, and the race is on. You have no control over how fast you eat. Your brain just orders your hands and mouth to start and its over before you know it. Luckily I managed to get a few photos in before I chewed my own fingers off.
After we ate like scavengers, I realized I had to do my penance. I had to apologize to the smoked eggplant mayo. I had mocked that flavor the entire way there because I couldn’t conceive of what that flavor would taste like. So wouldn’t you know once I tried I fell in love. I still can’t explain what it tasted it. Actually it tasted exactly how it sounds but more amazing that it sounds. I wish I had some to put on sandwiches, wraps, and other meals. I miss you most of all scarecrow.
Besides being a great place to find fries, sauces, and a way to gain a few pounds, this place is essential for all tourists and natives whether you crave fries or not. It is small but has some seating and the best part is the holes in the tables for the fry cones so that none are left on the table to spill out. That is genius thinking in action. It is also proof that good things come in small packages.
From the outside you would never notice what treasures lie inside. It is so deceiving and we almost walked right by it. You can certainly smell the deliciousness cooking. And after you leave you will smell like that too. Once I got to my next destination I was actually asked about it. But there are certainly worse things in life, like being without smoked eggplant mayo!
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