This little blog has gotten my brother and I talking a lot about our food memories. I recently fixed a breakfast that was standard fare in the Goldstein house when we were growing up. Actually, in our family, this was more of a breakfast dinner, which I absolutely love. And I think it was one of those lightening bolt inspirations that comes from having almost nothing in the fridge and needing to feed the family. It is fried eggs and french fries.
Now, it is certainly not unusual to serve eggs and potatoes together, thus the classic hash browns or home fries you can get with any diner breakfast. But french fries are usually served as a lunch or dinner item and not normally paired with breakfast dishes. Our mom used to serve us fried eggs and french fries and I always thought it was a divine and almost perfect combo, aside from the staggering calories, fat and cholesterol. Believe me, we don’t eat like this every day. However, I knew my husband Jason would love it, so I made him perfectly fried over-easy eggs and a pile of crispy shoestring fries. He meticulously cleaned all the yolk out of each egg using the tips of the french fries. It was really fun to watch him dipping the fries in the yolks and he loved it as much as I did.
When my brother and I spoke later in the day, I told him what I’d served for breakfast. And it turns out that he’d just eaten a very similar meal! This happens from time to time, our special twin powers will kick in and we’ll eat very similar meals at the same time. When we were kids and my parents were going out for dinner, they’d order us Chicken Delight and we’d get a bucket of chicken delivered. Chicken Delight is very much a New York/New Jersey establishment, so when we moved to Texas, we said goodbye to Chicken Delight. A few years ago, Alan was driving cross country and we’d talk frequently while he was on the road. One day, the commercial jingle from Chicken Delight popped into my head…for no reason…and I had no idea why I’d started thinking about Chicken Delight. So, I called Alan. Apparently, he’d eaten Chicken Delight JUST THE DAY BEFORE. Spooky…..
Anyway, back to the french fry blog, I’ll let Alan fill you in on the rest of the story.
Alan here with a little twin serendipity. So while Abby was whipping up her instant heart attack meal I was in New Orleans and I had to go to the Camellia Grill, which is a classic diner housed in a Greek revival building in the Carrollton section of town. On my first trip to New Orleans years ago I was taken there for breakfast and it made an impression on me. The great thing about the Camellia is the interaction with the waiters and the chefs. All of your food is cooked in front of you and the waiters crack wise, sing songs and chide diners when they don’t clean their plates. On my first visit I had the famous potato and onion omelet with fries on the side. Most good french fries are actually cooked twice. The first frying is more like a blanch which cooks them almost all the way. The second frying is to crisp them up. This is how they do them at The Camelia Grill. The Potato and Onion Omelet is made with the par cooked potatoes and big handfull of onions, which are thrown on the flat top to cook. As they cook they are chopped up with the side of a long spatula. When the potatoes and onions are done they get the Camellia Grill Twist. The eggs for these omelets are whipped up in a shake mixer to a fluffy lemon yellow color and poured on top of the filling of your choice on the flat top and then folded into the classic omelet shape. This gives the impression of eating egg flavored air and is thoroughly delightful and in my experience unique. When I ordered mine the waiter asked if I wanted fries or hash browns and I opted for the fries, which were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The double dose of taters was probably a little much but this isn’t my daily breakfast routine and since I was on vacation I figured what the hey.
Kim had the Veggie Omelet which was full of peppers and onions and broccoli and mushrooms with grits on the side. I absolutely hate grits. More often than not they are a watery pile of flavorless white library paste. Juking them up with cheese or whatever else they do with them never does it for me. Kim loves grits and orders them often and being the adventurous soul that I am I usually try them. The grits from the Camelia were creamy and well seasoned and didn’t have that gritty quality that I hate. Maybe they made them with milk, or added cream at some point but they were wicked good. I almost regretted getting fries but I wound up cleaning my plate and Kim, having endured several heavy meals with very little vegetation wound up picking the vegetables out of the 2nd half of her omelet and leaving the rest. Our waiter, who was having a grand time with everyone, picked up her plate and held it up to the crowd in the diner and exclaimed loudly “I don’t want to see any more of this!” and then grabbed my plate and said “I want to see more of this!”. That’s what this place is all about for me, getting ribbed by the staff, chatting up your neighbors at the counter and turning a simple meal into a memorable experience, doubly so because my sister must have picked up on the vibe and had basically the same thing that very same day. Spooky!