March 24, 2010

French fries nutritionals

I still owe you all the nutritionals on the Egg and Eggplant and the soy BLT. I’ll get those up soon, but to tide you over, here are the french fries.

We sent out a couple samples of our fries, cut, soaked, drained, fried, salted just as we always do. Besides being cut on the truck, our fries have a few other unusual qualities. When Rolando and I got started trying to figure out how to make french fries we knew they weren’t going to be frozen. Most fries are called “Sysco fries” in the industry, Sysco is a large foodservice supplier.

We started with the methods most folks use (think Five Guys, good French Bistros). This involves par cooking the potato. We’d heard certain people spend a lot of time bragging about their oil, so we thought that cracking this thing was going to be all about finding the right oil.

We found instead that, like almost everything, it’s about the starting ingredients. In this case: the potato. In my opinion oil matters very little. First you need to get the best potato, then the question is how fresh/ how do you cut, after that temperature and time, finally, very last on the list is oil.

I remembered some of my favorite fries of all time were from a street vendor in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The funny thing was, as I thought about it, he cut them there and didn’t par cook the fries. Par cooking means cooking at a lower temperature before a later cooking phase. In the case of fries potatoes are often par cooked with a low temperature oil. After this phase they are cooked through and limp and oily. Then later (sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes an hour) they are cooked at a higher temperature. This results in a well cooked potato that is very crispy on the outside.

We followed the lead of the Halifax street vendor. Our fries are not par cooked. We cook them once at a high temperature. I suspected this meant that the fries would have less oil in them at the end, and the tests prove that out. Theory holds that the steam coming out of the potatoes holds the oil at bay. In N Out also cooks once, but they cook at a very low temperature for a very long time. This has the opposite effect. Their fries are saturated with oil.

Clover fries:

400 kcal

19 g fat

6 g protein

50 g carbohydrates

UPDATE: I was getting a ton of flak for the graph format. For the record, It’s not “wrong” to show a graph with a Y-axis minimum other than zero. It’s not super common in engineering etc., but in the business world it’s very common when differences between measurements vary by less than 10 or 20% of the total (making it hard to see the difference on a zero axis).

That said, I can see that the previous chart was misleading. In my defense, I wasn’t meaning to mislead anybody! I was giving this new graphing software: OmniGraphSketcher a spin. If you can get past the name it’s pretty cool software. Basically does everything I always wanted graphing software to do, except that it doesn’t support a bunch of advanced stuff I’d like. I went with their default representation of the data. Changed now for clarity.

Recent Posts

December 4, 2023
These sweet potato latkes date back to early days on the Clover food truck. They’re so yummy and the sweet potatoes lend them such a fun golden color. They’re probably the most popular item in our Hanukkah Meal Box, which you can get delivered on December 7th. Inside the box you’ll find: 
November 29, 2023
I’m writing to share some news: we’ve decided to permanently close CloverROW, our outpost in the Assembly Row neighborhood of Somerville. The closure of this restaurant is part of the whole company’s focus on reaching financial sustainability and positioning us for future growth. These decisions are really hard, but they’re necessary steps for us to simplify Clover. And, happily, all the amazing staff at CloverROW, including the manager Joe, will be able to move into other Clover restaurants. The math is straightforward…
November 21, 2023
Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. We will be closed Thursday 11/23 at all locations. For our kitchen team, it will be a good chance to rest after prepping a ton of Brussels casseroles for our Thanksgiving Box : ) As for the days surrounding Thanksgiving, we’ll be open normal hours, except for CloverFIN (Financial District) and CloverHSC (Harvard Science Center) which will be closed tomorrow and Friday. CloverHSQ (Harvard Square) will be closing early (at 8pm) tomorrow. 
November 16, 2023
I’m not a big believer in multitasking (which, in my experience, is doing a bunch of things simultaneously and badly.) But there’s a lot going on at Clover right now, so I had to break my No Multitasking Rule on Wednesday. I asked Michele and Greg on our Finance team if they’d mind if I took myself off video during a meeting to review Accounts Payable. “I have to draw a cartoon Delicata Squash,” I explained, reasonably.
November 16, 2023
Some of you have been asking for a sides-only box – and it’s true, sides are the best part, aren’t they? We’re making a limited number of boxes with mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and King Brussels’ Casserole. Each Sides Box serves 6-8 people and can be delivered to your door for 11/21 or 11/22. 
November 9, 2023
The moment you’ve waited for is here. Western Mass Brussels sprouts are back in the restaurants, which means the King himself has landed! What’s on this glorious sandwich and why is it the King of all seasonal sandwiches? A dijon-mayo spread, smoked Grafton cheddar, fried Brussels tossed with za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend), pickled red cabbage, and toasted hazelnuts.
November 6, 2023
On Friday we had a company meeting with all our leadership to talk about a decision we’ve made about the future of Clover. We are all focused on putting Clover on solid financial footing so we can continue to make the food you love for many years to come. COVID changed everything for restaurants like us. The way we eat, drink, work, and get together has shifted substantially and, while Clover has seen a steady recovery in sales…
October 29, 2023
Julia here. Today, October 29, is Clover’s birthday! 15 years of perfect pita, crispy chickpea fritters, countless sandwiches that cycle with the seasons, and of course the occasional birthday cupcake. How lucky are we? Although I’ve been working at Clover for a year and a half, this was my first week as CEO. I’m excited and honored to be stepping into this role. I’ve been a Clover enthusiast for a long time – since my first taste of a Blue Oyster Mushroom sandwich as a grad student in 2013. As COO and now as CEO…
October 26, 2023
If you stop by tomorrow (Friday 10/27) around 11am, you might be treated to a bit of Clover history in the form of a carrot cupcake with buttercream frosting. One per paying customer, while they last! And they may not last long : )
October 26, 2023
A bunch of you have been asking, and yes, we are doing a Thanksgiving Box menu again this year, with all the favorites from years past – Hubbard Squash glazed with maple-Sriracha butter, mashed potatoes, gravy, Ayr’s dad’s walnut-mushroom patè, stuffing – there’s even a limited run of Petsi pies. Free delivery to your door if you’re within 30 miles of us. Click here to reserve yours.
October 22, 2023
I’ve recently asked somebody who believes in Clover as much as I do to step into the CEO role. Julia Wrin Piper has been Clover’s COO for the past 18 months and will take over running the company day-to-day. I’ll be shifting my efforts to provide support for Julia and the team, work on growth opportunities, and pursue partnerships that will amplify Clover’s mission. I’ll remain a member of the Board of Directors and active as an advisor and mentor. Clover is facing a potent mix of opportunity and challenge right now and I know Julia is exactly the right person to lead the team through these twists and turns.
October 18, 2023
On 10/29 Clover will turn 15 years old. It’s been 15 years since we first pulled up a tiny white food truck to the MIT campus in hopes of testing a menu that could make a dent in global warming. Since then we’ve supported so many local farmers; had tons of adventures on board trucks and restaurants; and met tons of wonderful customers. And most of all we’ve made food. Lots and lots of food. In honor of our 15th birthday, we sent out a survey asking you about your favorite LONG-LOST MENU ITEMS. We’ve picked the top results and we’re going to bring them back for one day only – in the form of a Birthday Meal Box!