Thursday, December 29, 2011

Souley Vegan in Oakland, CA

Souley Vegan. 

I'm sorry, but for sweet potato fries that are a whopping $6.00, they'd better be good. And I admit that the portion size was HUGE. But unfortunately, the fries arrived lukewarm, which quickly became room-temp, and even quicklier (if that's a word) became Cold, with a capital "C."

(apologies for Gross Photo)

Instead of your standard fry, the sweet potato fries here are more like circular rounds, ie, the potatoes are not sliced in the traditional rectangular fashion. For me, they were pretty mushy and soggy all around, and very underseasoned. While my companion thought they were "good," I am not going to be as forgiving.  I'm sure they would have been much better had they arrived hot, but the service at Souley Vegan is very, very slow, and I'm sure the poor potatoes were sitting in some window for a while (I waited 45 minutes for my takeout order, which did include two sandwiches, but I think that's kind of a wait for such a small order).

If you do go, try the Southern Fried Tofu sandwich, which I think is awesome (I've been there before on a day when the place was practically empty...and still waited almost 40 minutes for a sandwich). For the price, however, I would skip the sweet potato fries.


Price: $6.00

Portion Size: Extra large
Texture: Very mushy, with an occasional fry with a slightly crispy skin. Arrived lukewarm :( Waaaahhhhh....considering the wait.

Greasiness Level: 3 out of 5 (a bit greasy)
Seasoning: Totally underseasoned, a disappointment considering I love the Tofu sandwich here
Fried in: Some salt of vegetable oil

Condiments: Salt, pepper, hot sauce ketchup

Overall Quality of French Fries: 5.25 out of 10.
Would probably be way better if they arrived hot, or even sort-of warm.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Roosevelt Hotel Bar in Los Angeles, CA

I learned that the Roosevelt Hotel hosted the first Academy Awards in 1929, and according to the bartender, it lasted a mere 15 minutes. According to Wiki, if that's not Hollywood enough for you, it is supposedly haunted by the ghosts of Marilyn Monroe (in her afterlife, she's been seen dancing around in the ballroom) and Montgomery Clift (people claim that his ghost plays the bugle!). Oh yeah, and Courtney Love got taken away in an ambulance there.

The hotel's Spanish Colonial architecture shines through in the glamour and splendor of the lobby (I wasn't a paying guest, just a fry-seeker, so I have no idea what the rest of the building is like), indeed old and glamorous (I should mention that if I ever win the lottery, I would indeed like to be a paying guest and spend time playing vintage bowling in the "speakeasy gaming lounge"). Bubbling fountain, anyone? Ceiling fresco, anyone?

So now to the fries. They are kennebec steak fries, which is not really my favorite type of fry, so right off the bat I had a bias against them. They were huge, slightly crispy on the outside, and as expected, meaty on the inside, and not seasoned well. But thankfully there was a side of ketchup to dunk them in. However, points for the fact that they arrived PIPING HOT. I should also note that even just sitting at the bar, my friends and I were treated like royalty. I would go back just to hang out at the lovely bar, a quick air-conditioned get-away from the crazy surroundings (tourists, Gruaman's Theater, etc.). I don't really care that these fries weren't my favorite, I love this place.


Price: $6.00

Portion Size: Small

Texture: Crispy on outside, soft and meaty on the inside

Greasiness Level: 3 out of 5 (a bit greasy)

Seasoning: Salt and parsley

Fried in: Some salt of vegetable oil

Condiments: ketchup, salt, pepper

Overall Quality of French Fries: 5.75 out of 10.

*Note: But I would go back for the ambience!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Red Robin Gourmet Burger in Vacaville, CA

Pale yumminess.

Yes, I went to

Red Robin (please insert registered trademark here) Gourmet Burger .

I ordered a BOCA burger that came with their Bottomless Steak Fries® (and don't you forget to insert registered trademark here as well!). Don't make the mistake of looking at their nutritional information or googling it. I looked up the info on my veggie burger and it was 610 calories, not including the frikkin' cheese! I'm not sure how you can make an innocent vegan burger that many calories, but I'm assuming it's all in the oil and bun.

Back to the fries. According to the web site, they are fried in "zero trans fat oil," aka "hydrogenated soybean oil." But is this soybean oil laced in lard? I want to get to the bottom of my 610 calorie BOCA burger! (Not to go on a tirade, but I buy BOCA Burgers occasionally for home use, and know that depending on which kind you're buying, they're not more than 100 calories a burger, and that buns are generally about 210 or so calories for BOTH top and bottom portions of the bun).

I didn't look up the nutritional "value" of the fries, because it would probably make me faint. They were okay, in a frozen sort of way. Slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They are thick, long, fat steak fries, not my mostest favorite in the first place, but do-able. And if you are on some kind of french fry diet, I imagine the bottomless basket would be a godsend. Homer Simpson, take note.


Price: $7.89 included my BOCA burger and endless fries

Portion Size: Bottomless! (you just have to ask for refills)

Texture: Crispy on outside, soft on the inside

Greasiness Level: 3 out of 5 (a bit greasy)

Seasoning: Underseasoned

Fried in: Hydrogenated soybean oil, aka "zero trans fat oil"

Condiments: ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper

Additional comments: Most likely pre-cut and frozen. They just have that "been around the block for a while" taste and texture to them.

Overall Quality of French Fries: 4 out of 10.

Extra point for being bottomless and thus, a boon for those experiencing economic hardship and intense french fry cravings.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

FiveTenBurger Truck in Oakland, CA

I made it here at the verylastsecond just before the FiveTenBurger truck was closing up (disappointing groups of people waiting behind me). My fellow taster loved the fries, but for me they were a bit too much on the chewy side, which is not a texture I love in a french fry.
(extreme closeup)
Now, I want to explain something here. I enjoy the "bite" or chew of a fry, no doubt about it. However, I do not want my fry to have the consistency of chewing gum. For me, slight chew equals A-OK. Too much chew equals Only OK if Gum, and if in fact gum, a french fry-flavored gum.

That being said, the fries were perfectly seasoned, well salted with just a hint of garlic. Plus, the portion was absolutely huge for $2.50, and while I felt pretty "city" doing it, the fact that they were served in a bag allowed me to walk and eat at the same time. If I spot this truck again, I am there!

Price: $7.00
Portion Size: Large
Texture: Slightly crispy on outside, soft on the inside, and overall pretty chewy
Greasiness Level: 4 out of 5 (pretty greasy)
Seasoning: Well seasoned with salt and a hint of garlic
Fried in: Some sort of vegetable oil. They use something called "garlic oil." Does this mean the fries are cooked in garlic oil, or simply tossed in garlic oil? And what kind of oil is this, specifically?
Condiments: ketchup
Overall Quality of French Fries: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Grand Tavern in Oakland, CA

(Note: I promise you that I'm just not arbitrarily giving fries a 10!)

The Social Skin Fries at Grand Tavern are unlike anything I've ever tasted before. Served with 4 different dipping options, including ketchup and a fantastic lime aioli, these house cut fries are surprisingly YU. MMY. They are cut into thin oval shapes and resemble potato chips; therefore, I was expecting the hard crunch of said potato chip. However, upon biting into my first luscious fry, I was surprised to find instead a slightly crisp-on-the-outside and potatoey softness on the inside. Bonus: the occasional crispier-than-the-rest fries you'll find hidden in the large pile. A fun surprise indeed!

Although a bit pricey at $7.00, the portion size is large and the different sauce options make it worth it. The fries are exceptionally well-seasoned and actually don't need sauce at all, but if you're that kind of person who needs to slather his or her potatoes with condiments, then so much the better. Go!


Price: $7.00
Portion Size: Large
Texture: Crispy on outside, soft on the inside. Sort of unexplainable--
unlike any other "fry" I've ever tasted. Sort of a cross between a
potato chip and a french fry.

Greasiness Level: 3 out of 5 (a bit greasy)
Seasoning: Well seasoned with salt. Perfection.
Fried in: Some sort of vegetable oil

Condiments: ketchup, lime aioli, finely diced green chile, tomato aioli (is that what you call it? I'll investigate next time). The tomato sauce was my least favorite, but was a nice addition nonetheless.

Overall Quality of French Fries: 10 out of 10

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cafe Biere in Emeryville, CA

The Team assembled into this tiny spot on a very rainy, dreary day. It was a bit chilly inside, but our server was great, and the mussels in fennel beer butter were delectable and warmed us up (with bread to sop up the buttery goodness in the bottom of the bowl). I should also add that the fish from the Fish and Chips was the best I've tasted in years.

(Low light photo. That salad was incredible. Or was it a slaw? I'm not quite sure. I just kept eating it.)

The fries though? Hmmm. Not my style. While a fellow Team Member commented that these were "the best fries we've had outside of Delfina" (Delfina reviews are elsewhere on this blog), I could not disagree more.

The fries here are sliced very thinly, which is fine, but I do appreciate a soft inner texture to contrast against a crispy outer skin. These fries--we tried both the regular and sweet potato--were pretty crunchy throughout, and while apparently great for some people, it's just personally not my style.

(Regular fries close-up. Someone told me these close-ups were gross. It's probably what the inside of my stomach looks like.)

The regular fries are coated with some sort of chipotle powder, while the sweet potato fries are coated with what tastes like a chile powder (I was so distracted by my scrumptious fish that I forgot to just ask the waiter for the details).

The best part was that the fries came with ketchup that had what tasted like Worcester Sauce in it, and were also served with a spicy aioli. Cafe Biere gets definite points for the sauces.

If you are a fan of the thin-and-crunchy fry, you will love these fries. It's just not my personal fave. However, I must point out that I ate every single fry (well, there was a lot of food, so I had to take them home and finish them the next day), so it's not like these fries are offensive. And the rest of the food and dining experience was amazing. I'll definitely be back.


Regular Fries (Kennebec potato, according to the menu. Not sure exactly what a Kennebec is, but it tasted like a regular potato to me)

Price: $6.00
Portion Size: Large
Texture: Crunchy throughout

Greasiness Level: 3 out of 5 (a bit greasy)
Seasoning: chili powder; needs salt but comes with 2 great sauces (below)
Fried in: Some sort of vegetable oil

Condiments: ketchup with Worcester and spicy aioli (again, I always mistake aioli for Ranch Dressing)--BONUS POINTS

Overall Quality of French Fries: 6.5 out of 10


Sweet Potato Fries

Price: $5.00
Portion Size: Large
Texture: Crunchy throughout

Greasiness Level: 3 out of 5 (a bit greasy)
Seasoning: chipotle powder; needs salt but comes with 2 great sauces (below)
Fried in: Some sort of vegetable oil

Condiments: ketchup with Worcester and spicy aioli (again, I always mistake aioli for Ranch Dressing)--BONUS POINTS

Overall Quality of French Fries: 6.5 out of 10

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shake Shack in New York City

This is for the Shake Shack at East 23rd (Madison Square Park).

First of all, the mushroom burger is amazing. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the fries. Perhaps the fact that we were sitting in 20 degree weather outside while eating (but then why did the burger taste so awesome in spite of this??) colored my views a bit, but I was not a huge fan of these fries. This could also be due to the fact that I'm not into thick zig-zaggedy fries (although the thick fries at Farmer Brown still managed to knock my socks off. See review below).

On the plus side they are super cheap. I think I need to give these a second chance, but for now, they are a 5. I'm just not that convinced.


Price: $2.75
Portion Size: Medium
Texture: Crispy on outside, a bit mealy on inside

Greasiness Level: 3 out of 5 (a bit greasy)
Seasoning: Underseasoned
Fried in: Soybean oil. Take note: they recycle cooking oil and turn it into bio-diesel. Hi, earth friendly.

Condiments: ketchup, salt, pepper (pick 'em yourself)

Overall Quality of French Fries: 5 out of 10