Tag Archives: cheese fries

Adventures in Eating: Geer Street Garden, The Pile (with Video)

Gentle Readers, sometimes, one just has to abandon all reason and order the largest thing on the menu. In the case of Geer Street Garden, the largest and most infamous is “The Pile.” If you are ever near Durham, go. It is awesome.

This mound of deliciousness is covered in bacon, fried chicken, jalepeƱos, and cheese, and comes with cheese sauce, gravy, and two additional dipping sauces. It is a meal in and of itself, for several people. And lo, it was good.

The Pile at Geer Street Garden

The Pile at Geer Street Garden

To fully sample the Geer Street Garden goods, the Practical Cook took the imminently practical step of going there, a lot. I’ve tried the pimento cheese burger (courtesy of the Eldest Practical Cook Junior), the banana pudding (love it), and the arugula salad (don’t judge, I’m kind of obsessed with it now).

I’m a burger fan, but not so much of In-N-Out (controversy!). I think Andy Magowan’s burgers are the best in Durham. There, I said it. If you disagree, point me to a better one and I’ll go eat it.

Pimento Cheese Burger at Geer Street Garden

Pimento Cheese Burger at Geer Street Garden

Full disclosure, I know Andy, from back in the day in Spanish class at UNC. He is awesome, but that is only more reason to try Geer Street Garden. It is like being in your own back yard, without the hassle and with a lot more beer on tap.

Beer and Hydration at Geer Street Garden

Beer and Hydration at Geer Street Garden

To sum it up:

Gazpacho: Good, liked the texture (not everyone did), but would appreciate more zip in the dish. Cilantro, juice from the pickled jalepeƱos jar, whatever works.

Gazpacho at Geer Street Garden

Gazpacho at Geer Street Garden

Fried Okra: Fantastic. Excellent frying work.

Hello Fried Okra, Welcome Home

Hello Fried Okra, Welcome Home

Veggie Sandwich: Perfection on Toast.

Deviled Eggs: Always the right choice as an appetizer.

Deviled Eggs at Geer Street Garden

Deviled Eggs at Geer Street Garden

Pimento Cheese: Big fan. Also approved by the Practical Cooks Junior.

Pimento Cheese and Toasted Bread

Pimento Cheese and Toasted Bread

Burgers: Yes, please. Favorite one in Durham.

Fries, Garlic: Again, I think these are the best in Durham, and possibly surrounding areas. Tyler’s are good when they are good, but I find them unreliable and often oversalted. Geer Street Garden fries have never let me down.

Geer Street Garlic Fries

Geer Street Garlic Fries

Arugula Salad: Yes, I do love salads, and I got this one with a different dressing (I don’t heart ranch), but now I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s an egg/fried chicken delivery system, and it rocks in the summer.

Banana Pudding: Not the most traditional rendition, but I really enjoy it. Soothing after so many fries.

The Blinding Light of Banana Pudding Goodness

The Blinding Light of Banana Pudding Goodness

Brownie Sundae: Good, but very sweet. I found that challenging after consuming so many savory items. That could be me. It was tasty, if you are a super-sweet dessert person.

Brownie Sundae, in Profile

Brownie Sundae, in Profile

The Cocktails: The watermelon cocktail has been a hit with all who have tried it.

Watermelon Cocktail at Geer Street Garden

Watermelon Cocktail at Geer Street Garden

The Beer: I’m partial to Allagash White, with orange slice, thank you very much. The Kolsch was also well-received.

The Pile: I can’t lie, I should have stopped, but just couldn’t. Each bite is a new taste adventure. I will order it again someday, when I have committed fellow eaters. Special thanks to my friend Dr. Shark for the able assist in consumption.

The Pile with Gravy and Cheese Sauce Applied

The Pile with Gravy and Cheese Sauce Applied

Thanks to all who came out for the festivities last night, it was fun and delicious. When you crave burgers and fries, you know who to call: 1-800-Practical-Cook.

Do you love cheese fries? Post a comment below and share your source, or send a Tweet!

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Up next time, Reader Poll. The Practical Cook Surveys the Gentle Readers to Determine the Blog’s Future Direction.

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Filed under Restaurant Reviews

Picky vs. Snobby: Where Do You Draw the Line?

Today’s topic comes from one of my most frequently asked questions: Do you like . . . ? This is often followed by “really?” Clearly, it’s time to throw open the doors of the Practical Cook confessional booth once more (this thing is more like a turnstile at this point). What follows is a list of things I will or won’t eat, with a follow-on discussion on whether that makes me picky or snobby.

Dear Practical Cook, do you like:

Gummy Things?
No, quite nearly a hell no. Exceptions include the sugared orange slices, which are a favorite childhood thing because my grandpa adored them, and buttered-popcorn-flavored Jelly Belly jellybeans, just because.

Corn Dogs
Yes, I like almost anything on a stick. In Texas, I once saw fried chicken on a stick, which seemed excessive, but everything is bigger in Texas. I Punt! with the veggie corn dogs for the kids, and they actually prefer those. To borrow a phrase from a gentle reader, they serve as mustard/ketchup vectors.

Tater Tots
Yes, even if they’re not fried in duck fat (thank you KokyuBBQ for that innovation). There’s a local place (Southern Rail for the Chapel Hillians) that serves some of the most crispedy fried tots ever, and they rock. I didn’t love these as a kid, actually, but I do like them now, especially deep-fried and with beer.

Frozen Pizza
I love a wood-fired pizza. I love pizza with truffle oil. I like pizza with BBQ on it. And I like Totino’s after I’ve been sick. Seriously, it’s hard to find a pizza I don’t like. Exception, and I will name names here, when I worked at IBM briefly, their cafeteria served inedible pizza. Shame on them. I really, truly, deeply love pizza.

Potato Chips
Rarely eat them. I don’t love potato chips. Snobbery? Perhaps. But I’m yet to find the chip that’s worth the caloric/cholesterol spend for me. I make my own sweet potato chip, and I prefer them.

Hot Dogs
Love them, but rarely eat them. These are special occasion food for me, like at a ball park or a cookout. And when I eat them, it’s all the way, steamed bun and nice and messy. My current love is the Trader Joe’s All-Beef varietal. Snobby, perhaps, but they are really tasty.

Cheese Fries
Yes indeedy. Again, this is late-night bar food. I like them crisp with lots of cheese for maximum cling.

So what’s your take? Am I particular, picky, or snobby? I would argue that I am, like most people, a product of my roots. Food carries memories, powerful ones, and I like plenty of what I was raised on. For the foodies who disdain, I’m sure there’s something crunchy or salty or in cellophane lurking in your closet.

What are your closet cravings? Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me. And all the gentle readers. Post a comment or Tweet away.

Send queries and food photos to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook gospel. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up next, When a casserole is really a love letter, the secret meaning of food.

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Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, On the Table