Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lord of the Rings

You may be hearing alot about French's French-Fried Onions this time of year, but don't forget about America's best ready to eat onion snacks: Funyuns! It is always great to find a bag of Funyuns in the hotel vending machine or the convenience store when traveling. The familiar real onion flavor and crispy corn crunch are great with a beverage as a late night snack. They also come in a new type of stay-fresh package. Don't forget that, like French-fried onions, Funyuns can also be used in recipes, with or on top of burgers, alongside a grilled steak, in salads, or in sandwiches. Funyuns are an American classic.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Gourmet Burgers in a Soup?

There are so many great kinds of soup that it is difficult to compare them and choose one favorite. So I will bring you some different ones from time to time. Aside from gourmet soup in restaurants, most often we are buying soup at the grocery store. For me, I prefer a soup that "eats like a meal." Campbell's classic Chicken Noodle soup is highly recommended, but it doesn't fill the stomach. That's why I tend to eat Campbell's Chunky soup.

Sirloin Burger is the world champion. In each can or microwave cup, you will find sizzling, real hamburgers fresh off the grill. Check the grill marks on these delicious burgers if you don't believe me. Then try the hearty beef broth, which was obviously perfected by a master chef decades ago and offers the same gourmet, nostalgic flavor it did in the 1970s. It must have taken tremendous effort to create a broth that perfectly compliments the burgers and vegetables while still tasting great by itself.

But that's not all. You also get potatoes, tender peas, and fresh, French-cut green beans. You'll have to go over the serving size a bit, but the sodium and fat levels are surprisingly lower than you'd expect. Garcon, another bowl of Sirloin Burger, si vous plait.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I garontee

Who makes the world's greatest potato chip? If you asked me in 1990, I would have told you Frito Lay's Crunch Tators were the undisputed greatest potato chips of all time. For whatever bizarre reason, Frito Lay suddenly dropped Crunch Tators and their alligator mascot. Personally, I think they recognized that the out of this world Crunch Tators would eventually wipe out their regular Lay's brand chips. There wasn't much of a contest there. Sure, Lay's are good chips, particularly certain flavors. But Crunch Tators were from another world: thick, high-quality chips with five-star potato taste. And chef-quality seasonings such as Cajun, Barbecue, and Jalapeno. A great package design topped it off. Only Fruit Pie the Magician suffered an equally disrespectful fate as the Crunch Tator Gator.

My travels around the internet confirm the greatness of Crunch Tators. Hundreds of people are demanding the return of Crunch Tators potato chips. I certainly hope Frito Lay comes to its senses soon and starts making those fantastic Crunch Tators again.

But until that day, fellow Crunch Tator fans, I have wonderful news for you. It turns out that Frito Lay didn't invent the Crunch Tator. Rather, they copied it from the originator, Zapp's Potato Chips outside of New Orleans, Louisiana. On a trip there, a bag of Zapp's Original Flavor was included with my room service order. One chip and I recognized a thick potato slice, extra-satisfying compared to the ordinary thin chip, and realized that I had the original Crunch Tator.

Zapp's chips are five-star gourmet chips, with less salt and fat but more quality and taste. Remember Cajun Crunch Tators? Try Zapp's Cajun Crawtators. They are probably the best flavor. Other great ones are Cajun Dill, Sour Cream and Creole Onion, and Hotter n Hot Jalapeno. I usually don't like burning hot chips, but found Zapp's Jalapeno to be surprisingly good - less heat than some others and more flavor. But you still notice it. And even plain Original Flavor is outstanding. That's what happens when you start with a quality chip and unique cooking process. Zapp's also has frequent special flavors such as a Steak flavor I had years back, and recently, Creole Tomato with real Tabasco sauce (much hotter than the Jalapeno!). Currently, they have two special packagings of Crawtators and Original Flavors called, TigerTators (in honor of LSU) and WhoDat?

You may find Zapp's at finer stores, but there is always their entertaining and easy to use web site, where you can order the flavors you like and have them shipped right to you. Enjoy the world's greatest potato chip, Zapp's.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Here is another mid-Atlantic classic: RAPA Scrapple. I like the regular flavor. It is a cross between sausage and a French pate. Scrapple is always served hot, and fried for best results. Slice pieces from the loaf just as you would with Spam. Place in frying pan with your choice of cooking oil. Make sure the outside is crispy on both sides; it's not Scrapple if the outside isn't crisp. This goes great with any type of eggs for breakfast, or as a main course for dinner with a potato side dish. There is a website but it appears to be out of date. But Scrapple will never be out of fashion in this part of the country.

Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipe

"What a wise guy, just telling us about foods - what makes you a gourmet or the most eligible bachelor?" Okay, then, I accept your challenge. Today's food is green olives stuffed with pimento. They are usually made in Spain and come in a tall glass jar.

Here is a recipe you can serve for Thanksgiving:

Olives Centurion

1 jar Green Olives (large) stuffed with pimento
cooked Turkey or Chicken Breast, cubed
olive oil
black pepper

Stack each stuffed olive on top of its own cube of meat and connect with a toothpick. Drizzle olive oil in a crosshatch pattern across the serving plate. Arrange the appetizers on the plate, and grind fresh black pepper to taste over them. Now, of course, you might be tempted to go overboard and add fresh, shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, but this is designed to be an understated dish so we'll try to resist.

You will be the envy of all your friends, no one else has this appetizer for Thanksgiving! They will think you to be a sophisticated artiste, and you are! Thank me later.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

America's Best Hot Dog

The hot dog is one of the essential American menu items. They come in all sizes and flavors. Everyone has a favorite. My favorite is the Esskay beef hot dog. First boil it, then grill it, and add your favorite toppings. Pepperidge Farm sells a superior hot dog bun in grocery stores. The ultimate test of a hot dog is - can you eat it plain? The Esskay hot dog passes with flying colors, with real beef flavor plus the secret seasoning ingredients only found in an Esskay hot dog. If you can't find Esskay in your area, an excellent second choice is Oscar Mayer beef franks. They have a very unique flavor as well, and they are not a disappointment if you can't have an Esskay hot dog. They also pass the ultimate test. Oscar Mayer cocktail franks are a great appetizer with all the flavor of the big ones. Esskay is the classic hot dog served at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, and at the Baltimore Ravens' stadium during games.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Welcome to all who want to find the best food in America. Why not begin with the food of the gods, the Blue Crab? The increasingly rare Maryland blue crab is by far the best, but restaurants get them from places like Texas and even off the eastern coast of Mexico. I suggest ordering them steamed - they will be bright red. Get your mallet and bib ready! Once you've cracked one open the first time, you'll find it is quite easy to pull out the meat - which is so delicious it can be eaten plain. Don't forget to also try a crab cake. Soft shell crabs are a good choice from a restaurant where you know the seafood is very fresh. Crab Imperial and Cream of Crab soup are two other excellent recipes. If you are away from the east coast, you will find many websites on Google where you can order blue crab products - do some research to make sure it is a reliable company. Here is one of the world's best, Phillips Seafood; they also have fine restaurants if you are near one: