top scoff, fries dressing & gravy edition: episode 1 – Ches’s

If you’re eating like a Newfoundlander, one of your most delicious (slash sodium soaked) options is the combination of fries, dressing and gravy. That’s not dressing as in stuff you put on lettuce to make it edible – why would you ever sully the wonderfulness that is gravy like that? I’m talking stuffing. Fresh, savoury, straight out of the turkey’s arse stuffing. (I am also not talking about Stove Top. That stuff is gross.)

That being said, I have decided to make it my mission to find the best fries, dressing and gravy on the Avalon (and hopefully eventually the province). Now, obviously taste is subjective and I could personally call it right now without any kind of taste test. (Country Delight, Bay Roberts.)  But obviously, parameters must be set, and each fd&g must be judged individually and subjectively. So I asked a bunch of people, and together we set a variety of aspects to judge them by.

Most of my list came from my 18 year old cousin. Apparently being passionate about fries, dressing and gravy runs in my family. Her particular requests were:

  • Fries have to be crispy on the ends, but soft and fluffy in the middle. Under cooked won’t do.
  • There has to be lots of gravy, but not enough to make everything soggy.
  • The dressing has to be fluffy and dry.

She made some really good points. After consulting with others, we decided to add:

  • The gravy can’t be too thin. No one likes a gravy that’s more like a liquor.
  • That being said, the gravy also can’t be too thick. No one wants a congealed, “globular” (Liam’s word) gravy.
  • The gravy and/or dressing need to have a good flavour to it. If the taste is bland enough that I need to smother everything in salt, you’re on the wrong path.
  • It’s great when gravy is home made with actual meat and stuff. But if there’s bones and/or chunks of crap in my gravy, that’s a dealbreaker.

So with this in mind, I headed to the nearest, and possibly most renowned bay-grease joint in St. John’s: Ches’s. I will make note that in this instance I got take-out (and then had to drive across town so Liam could put out his garbage. Thanks Liam.) so it was sitting a good 20 minutes or so before I got to eat it. Since I couldn’t eat it right away, I tried to be a little friendlier in my review. Sorry little fries. In the future I’m going to try and eat-in so I’m not faced with the haunting question of whether my food would have been more delicious if I hadn’t left it waiting so long. Now I’ll never know.

When I finally did get my brown bag of deliciousness home, I opened it up to find nothing on top of my fries. No gravy, no dressing. Just fries (and chicken fingers).

Ches's

It was only when I started poking around that I found the dressing and gravy on the bottom. They were under everything. At first I wondered how I managed to open it upside down. I had carried it perfectly level from the moment it was handed to me! But then I realized that it wasn’t me: the plates that the food had been wedged between were two different sizes, and the one on top was smaller. Someone had put the dressing and gravy on the bottom… on purpose! I can’t possibly figure out why that’s a good idea but I rolled with it.

Ches's

Once I started eating, I found the gravy almost tasteless. I had to add salt immediately. But that being said the dressing was top notch. It was nice and fluffy, and they used lots of savoury so it was very flavourful. So that kind of evened out the gravy thing. The fries (despite having sat on top of gravy for 20 minutes) were great. They maintained a crispness, while being decently fluffy on the inside. In the end, I was satisfied with my meal.

If I were to do a professional, Olympic style technical rating score for Ches’s, it would look like this:

  • Gravy: 2/5
  • Dressing: 5/5
  • Fries: 4/5
  • Dressing and Gravy Placement (which has to be a thing for this one, I guess?): 1/5

This leaves Ches’s with a rating of 60%. (Feel free to check my math. It was always a weak spot for me.) Like I said, the meal was good. But I learned something about myself and fd&g that night: having to dig for my dressing and gravy is another dealbreaker.

I’m sure not everyone will agree with this – I know people friggin’ love Ches’s. But I did the math. This review is science. If you have a different technical review, feel free to leave it in the comments!

And if there’s a fd&g joint you want me to check out and review, let me know here (or on twitter at ModernNanNL) because I’m always looking for a new spot to try!

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4 thoughts on “top scoff, fries dressing & gravy edition: episode 1 – Ches’s

  1. […] evening, and we settled in to watch a movie and order some food. Jenn, wanting to get in on my fries, dressing and gravy hunt, suggested we order it from one of the only delivery menus we could find it on online: […]

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  2. […] and decided to split a fries, dressing and gravy. I wasn’t even planning to make it a part of my search but this fd&g was surprisingly […]

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  3. […] would argue that there are a few baygrease joints in the St. John’s area. Ches’s is one of them. Leo’s, (Ches’s neighbour) and Scampers are two more, both of whom will […]

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  4. […] smother the meal in gravy, which I don’t normally complain about here, but it does defy the original parameters. The dressing is fluffy and full of the right amounts of every flavour, particularly savoury. Even […]

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