05 3 / 2012

You can find truffle mac n’ cheese, truffle fries, truffle pizza, truffle comfort-food-everything. So why not truffle tater tots? Shockingly, that had never crossed this food-snob mind until a friend mentioned the genius idea for a dish over drinks (at Booker + Dax. Killer. Go. Now.) the other week. Why did we NOT think of that? When we did, we figured there had to be a recipe out there. Epicurious to the rescue! So if you can get your tot-greased hands on some black truffles, knock yourself out. Truffle coma?

Home-style Tater Tots with Truffles

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for coating
2 large eggs
1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch cubs
2 teaspoons black truffle, finely chopped
2 teaspoons white truffle oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
vegetable oil, for deep frying

Bring first three ingredients to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Add 1 cup flour; stir over medium-high heat until mixture pulls away from edges of the pan, about 1 minute. Transfer to medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat dough for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. Measure 1 1/2 cups dough and reserve. Discard remaining dough.

Place potatoes in medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Boil until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain. Press potatoes through ricer or food mill into large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups reserved dough, chopped truffle, truffle oil, salt, and white pepper. Using electric mixer, beat dough on low speed to blend.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer dough to pastry bag fitted with 3/4-inch-diameter plain tip. Pipe dough into logs onto prepared sheet. Freeze until firm but not frozen, about 1 hour. Cut logs into 1 1/4-inch-long pieces. Toss in flour, return to sheet, cover, and freeze completely. Do ahead. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container. Keep frozen.)

Pour enough oil into large saucepan to measure depth of 2 inches. Heat oil to 350 degrees F. Working in batches, cook frozen potato pieces until cooked through and gold brown, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

29 2 / 2012

We returned to Southern Hospitality on the UES for another #triviatuesday (“Saved by the Bell” if you must know) and revisited the tater tots. Firstly, the waitress called us out on the love affair: “I read your blog, and the tots must be good if you’re ordering them again.” But she wasn’t all wrong. We DO like them. We just weren’t a fan of the sauces, until…

Friends had ordered the fried pickles appetizer, which come with a tangy buffalo ranch dipping sauce. Realizing that my spicy brown mustard was a major #FAIL in terms of dips for the tots, I reached for other dip on the table. It might have been heaven. So, Southern Hospitality, we forgive you. You may not have cheese sauce, but you have one tater tot-worthy buffalo ranch dip.

24 2 / 2012

"Tator tots on the menu at Bowlmor." That was the exact tweet of surprise when lo and behold, tator tots came out as an accompaniment to buffalo chicken sliders at Bowlmor Lanes’ Greenwich Country Club. I was there for a rather fratastic birthday affair (ie. beer pong, basketball, beer), and hardly expected the bar food of choice to be available. But hey! Apparently David Burke does the food here?! The tots seemed like they were of the frozen-and-we-reheated species, but to be less snobby about it, they weren’t actually all bad! The crisp exterior meant the crunch we look for, and the tender interior was piping hot. Too bad it was a bit mushy in terms of texture, and well, the only dip was bacon ketchup. Glazing over the menu in the aftermath proved beneficial, as yes, CHEESE SAUCE comes poured over the appetizer portion of the tots. Now, if only I were as good at putt-putt golf as I am downing potato poppers.

14 2 / 2012

Brother Jimmy’s. We hit this be-all-end-all of fratastic bars/restos in Manhattan for a hangover brunch on Sunday. Fully expecting the original location of this chain to have our fave side dish on the menu, we coziest up with a “Dixieland Delight” Bloody Mary and the Rangers-Caps game. THE HORROR when we realized that tater tots are not on the menu! What’s up with that, Bro J’s?! Of all the places to lead the craze, we’d assume you’d be down! And way to keep up with JT’s BBQ joint across the street! No amount of popcorn shrimp, pulled pork, or sweet potato fries will do it. At a loss, we enjoyed an extra Bloody before departing, but may think twice before we return. At least when we’re in the mood for tots and cheese sauce. #FAIL

07 2 / 2012

"The classic golden fried cylinders of shredded potatoes aren’t the only kinds of tater tots you can get in New York. From the version fried in duck fat to a dish made with lobster, here are New York’s 5 best tater tots, according to CBS New York." WE SHALL SEE…

03 2 / 2012

We clearly missed the boat, or rather, the boar, on our recent journey to the Village Pourhouse downtown. Excited alone to see tots on the menu while watching the Giants defeat the Packers (disclaimer, one of us is a Jets fan), we ordered, asking for cheese sauce. But what we didn’t notice, is that tots are available under “Pour Chips.” What relevance does that have? It means you can get the little fried hash browns topped with cheddar and jack cheese, BACON, and scallions, and served with a spicy ranch sauce. Since we clearly love the pig, this was the definition of major fail. But a friend on Foodspotting had it figured out. That’s his picture below. As for the texture of the tots, you ask? Not our favorite plain, but with that added pork? We’ll be back for another go. 

01 2 / 2012

Last night, we hit #triviatuesday at Southern Hospitality on the Upper East Side, to rack our brains of random knowledge and fill our stomachs with potato-based comfort food. Who would have thought that Justin Timberlake liked the tot? (For reference, he owns the Tennessee-style BBQ-and-whiskey joint…and yes, they did play a hit or two of his.) Not that we saw him chowing down, but we sure did. The tots here are quite crisp, served in a cast-iron skillet, but lacked one necessary ingredient: cheese sauce. We figure JT likes his with barbecue sauce (there are three options on the tables), ketchup, or some combination of the two. Not that we tried that or anything.

southern hospitality

01 2 / 2012

"Sure, you haven’t dove into a basket of tater tots since third grade, but put aside all reservations and order the tater tots with cheese sauce at Jack Russell’s Pub. It’s the next big thing in bar food.”

30 1 / 2012

Crisp. Deep-fried. Grated potatoes. Small cylindrical shape. These are all phrases that pop up when you google “tater tot,” that yummy French fry alternative you probably haven’t thought about since third grade. Yes, they are still staples on elementary school cafeteria menus, but more and more bars are serving up the side dish to hungry, beer-guzzling sports watchers and diner dinner dates all over the city. Given the nostalgic trend, we’ll be dishing up your weekly report on who, what, and where are making the absolute best of the bunch.