Yesterday was also National Potato Chip Day. In the New Orleans Menu Almanac Tom explained how potato chips came about. We had a long conversation on the Food Show (airs 2-4 pm weekdays on WGSO 990AM) about Dickey’s, our hometown brand of potato chips. From the conversation about Dickey’s, we moved on to Charles Chips, Lay’s, and Elmer’s CheeWees.
But I wanted to talk about non-commercial potato chips, which are really hard to find, but there are more than one would expect. The first time I had fresh-cut or housemade potato chips was at Porter and Luke’s, one of our favorite restaurants anywhere. Ricky the owner did them himself. They were exceptionally good, with a lot of crunch, and a good seasoning level. These were served with my favorite club sandwich anywhere until they switched to regular fries.
But that wasn’t the end of housemade fries. They turned up at Pyre Provisions in Covington when it opened five years ago. These are spectacular kettle chips. Greaseless, hard and crunchy, with a considerable dusting of Creole seasoning. This was the first time I noticed chips turning up as a side at a barbecue place. The chips at Pyre are consistently good and must be part of any order for us.
Just recently I saw fresh-cut chips at Mo's in Metairie, another barbecue place. While not as special as those at Pyre, these could satisfy anyone looking for the workout a crunchy chip can give you.
But not long ago Keith Young joined the very small ranks of restaurants selling their own potato chips. When he opened his fabulous new bar and outdoor porch, he added a wonderful Happy Hour which includes fresh cut potato chips, served as a huge pile around a ramekin containing a dip of his delicious Bleu Cheese dressing. The Happy Hour menu is a great deal with a nice amount of choices, but this generous mound of housemade chips is the standout.
They are greaseless and salty, though thinner than the other ones I mentioned. We love all these chips.
We love all chips, commercial or not, but if there are housemade potato chips to be found anywhere, they are definitely worth all the trouble, for the maker, and the eater. I definitely prefer my role as the latter.