NJ Diner Culture: The Makings of Great Disco Fries.

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I am justifying the inclusion of another foodie theme work on here basically on the grounds that I really do not have any format anyways. And fries go good with beer, and bad movies, and bacon, so there is also that. A twitter discussion with NJ Isn’t Boring, got me in the nostalgic mood so here we go.

Not really sure how this translates to other states, [definitely drop me a line as I am honestly curious if Diners are as prevalent elsewhere] but if you are from New Jersey or the surrounding areas, you have probably been to a diner at some point rather late in the evening, for whatever reason.

They were the first places we started hanging out at as our older friends got cars. They were opened late and as teens it was not like you could go to a bar or anything, so a diner it is. Then when we got older it was still a great place to go after going to a show or leaving a bar.  Which brings us to the topic of the day: Disco Fries

Urban Dictionary describes them as being: “Cheese fries with gravy (french fries with cheese melted on top, covered with chicken gravy.Mmmm.), generally served at diners in Northeast New Jersey. ”

The idea of dropping cheese on top of fries and melting it a bit is nothing new, nor is adding chili bacon or what have you, but who ever thought of the idea to cover them in brown gravy and then do it is up there with Telsa or Edison. That’s it folks, at its core we are talking about fries, gravy (or sauce if that’s what you call it by you), and cheese. How can you muck up something like that? Oh yes you can, and in a number of sad sad ways.

Lets start with the fries: I personally like the thick “steak house” cut of a fry, but that is a matter of preference, shoe stings would work just as well. Tots I guess can be used, but I can’t seem them soaking up the gravy the same way? Again that’s your personal preference.

Where can it go bad you ask? Well if they are freezer burned for one. This is my biggest peeve, you know the taste dry in the center but having that not quite right after taste. Maybe freezer burn is not the best description? Disco fries or not, this ruins it for me. Next up would old oil, but this one at least seems few and far between.

For cheese, you can top it with whatever you want. I like Provo and Mozzarella myself, but cheddar, Swiss or whatever slicing cheese your heart desires can be used. Depending on the place you are getting them, disco fries maybe a combination of cheeses. I am not sure what the official call is on this, so we will leave that as the cheese(s) of the house.

Please though, do not use basically what equates to Kraft singles American cheese squares, please also then do not only place two squares of it next to each other on top of the fries, So when it comes out you have this orange rectangle of stuff tap dead center, and the rest of the fries are nude and somewhat extra crispy.

With Brown Gravy at least, I am not sure you can mess it up? Do places make their own? Is it from a can? Either way at least this part of the equation is pretty constant.

That’s the traditional Disco Fries. You may want additional toppings, Bacon, scallions, chives…. I say go for it, though bacon, for whatever reason never works out right for me. I think it needs to be really crumbled up, not a loose breaking up of the slices? Also they can’t be too well done.

Are you hungry now? Good. Hit up your local diner, luncheonette, or greasy spoon and treat yourself. If you have any favorite varieties or other concoctions feel free to share them!



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