March 14 – Potato Chip Day
Potato chips have really become the staple of American snack food. Think about how many varieties there are, how many different brands you can list while cruising down the grocery aisle. Nowadays you can get them fried, baked, ruffled, even in your own individual sleeve so no one can snag a bite. They’re loved all over the world, but they come from right here in New York state. The colloquial origin of the potato chip hails from Saratoga Springs, a town a bit north of Albany. When a patron at a local restaurant complained that his fried potatoes were too big and soggy, the chef sliced a new order as thin as possible, and deep-fried them extra long, making the crispy, crunchy potato chip we know today! So, while not a New York City original, the potato chip is all New York, and that’s still something to feel a bit proud of 🙂
You can, however, get some of the most celebrated potato chips around right here in Manhattan–and we’re not talking about your quarter bag of Wise or Utz. There’s nothing like a good barbecue-flavored potato chip, but when it’s freshly made and comes with a side of blue cheese dressing, you’re high up there in gourmet territory, and that’s exactly where Blue Smoke BBQ wants you. Their potato chips with a blue cheese and bacon dip are just a starter, but it’s their best-known dish, even securing a mention on the Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate. The chips are made fresh for the table, and when they come out from the kitchen they’re still warm. It’s a great start to a hearty full-sized barbecue meal, or as a high-end reminiscence of the metal bags of chips you find at your corner store.
Blue Smoke BBQ
116 E 27th St (between S Park Ave & Lexington Ave)
“We started with an appetizer of Warm Barbeque Potato Chips with Blue Cheese and Bacon Dip. They came out in a small bucket with plenty for three of us, and were exactly as billed—warm, comforting, and perfect for taking the edge off and adding to the anticipation of the flavors to come. The chips managed somehow to be warm and yet crispy; the dip was mild and smoky.”–Food Channel
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“WARM BBQ POTATO CHIPS with blue cheese dip – Excellent! Fresh but slightly soft chips doused in powdery BBQ Flavor in a bucket next to the cool white addictive dip. It can be ordered sans bacon but I had no problem eating around it for the sake of others.”–Kelly B.
“I always order the BBQ Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Dressing – they are warm and thick-cut, and pair beautifully with the ranchy/cheesy dipping sauce.”–Al J.
Or, if you’re feeling particularly festive on this national food holiday and you’ve got a day to spare, rent out a ZipCar or get onto Amtrak for a day away from the city in the place that started it all–Saratoga Springs, the home of the potato chip. Although the original hotel and lounge where hotel chef George Crum made the now famous chip is no longer around, you can still explore the restaurants and shops that celebrate the potato chip lineage. The Original Saratoga Chips Company in town is also not “original”–it was created in 2009, to reclaim the power and passion for chips the town used to hold. Claiming to have the original Crum recipe, the company makes the chips the old fashioned way, back from before the original factory closed in the 1920s. Whatever your definition of original, these chips are perfectly cooked and seasoned, and taste like a real, homemade potato chip–way better than what you get from the bodega. If you’re not interested in taking the long road up past Albany, the Saratoga Chips Company sells boxes of their famous chips and other merchandise to retailers around the city, including Dean & DeLuca, Garden of Eden, and Zabar’s.
Saratoga Specialties (Home of Original Saratoga Chips)
Saratoga Springs, NY