When spring arrives, you know it on the Canadian prairies-the food trucks and hot dog carts start to line Broadway in Winnipeg and the parking lots of the burger joints are lined up with weather-worn vehicles. The mercury is predicted to dip mighty low again tonight so even though the calendar says it is spring, we are all waiting for the sun and earth to follow suit. Well at least the spring food offerings will sustain us until summer picnics can commence.
In Thompson, where I am teaching for a couple of weeks, April means that Popeye’s is open again! I understand that Allison, the owner, has a green thumb and in the summer months, the gardens are overflowing with blossoms. Right now the snow banks still cover the flower beds and the bubbling fountain. But the snow is melting on the front path and we had the choice of a couple of inside tables or dining in the car. We chose the former. Many other vehicles were pulling in and picking up their “to-go” orders, including one in front of us that drove away with literally bags of burgers.
No wonder so many people make the drive out of town to this tasty little spot. The burger is made with a hand-formed seasoned patty and even though I ordered mine “loaded” the quality and deep taste of the beef, shone through. I understand that the recipe for the patty is a trade secret along with the oil blend that the amazing French fries are cooked in.
This overflowing boxful provided two people, two helpings. I can’t imagine anyone order a large order.
We were able to peak over the counter to see that the cut potatoes are plunged in oil twice. I know that the best chips are made in this manner. Have you ever wondered why? Me, too and this is what I found out. The answer was on a blog site that I have visited many times before, entitled Serious Eats. “The key lies in the fact that not all water in a potato is equal. Some of it is bound within the potato’s structure more tightly then the rest, requiring more energy to expel it. During the first fry, some of the water present in the potato evaporates and exits, allowing the oil to enter the space it was taking, and come in direct contact with the potato’s cells. Meanwhile, water that is more tightly bound in the potato’s structure remains. Soon, individual molecules of starch break free from larger granules with the help of the energy provided by hot oil. These starch molecules then come in contact with the water still present in the potatoes, hydrating and forming a gel that acts as a kind of glue, reinforcing the structure of the cells around it. Over time, as the oil works its way into the potato, a relatively thick layer of starch-reinforced cells can build up around the exterior of the potato. This is the paper-like sheath you see around a potato that has been fried once at low temperature.”
I fly in and out of Thompson and so you may wonder how I was able to make this out-of-town jaunt. No, I didn’t take a cab. I was escorted by the Front Desk Agent from my hotel. I am in town teaching a course in exactly this subject area. The staff at the Lakeview take hospitality to an entirely new level.
Kath’s quote: “I would gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today.” Wimpy
Love-that is all.