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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

No. 69: Plow's Crispy Potatoes

Posted By on Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 5:00 PM

click to enlarge Plow's crispy potatoes, $4.25 for an order; they show up as sides on some breakfast plates, and at lunch with sandwiches. - JOHN BIRDSALL
  • John Birdsall
  • Plow's crispy potatoes, $4.25 for an order; they show up as sides on some breakfast plates, and at lunch with sandwiches.

SFoodie's countdown of the 92 best things to eat and drink in San Francisco, 2011 edition.

click to enlarge sf_92.jpg

Maxine Siu reverse-engineered her side potatoes, based on what she didn't like about every other version in town. "Nobody does good home fries," says Siu, who with husband Joel Bleskacek opened Potrero Hill breakfast-and-lunch place Plow last fall. (The couple also owns Ruby Wine, a shop two blocks up on 18th Street.)

"They're always soggy or mushy, never crispy," Siu says of most breakfast potatoes. Before Plow's opening day, she worked out a better version at home. Siu started with Yukon Golds ("they're sweeter," she says, "and have a decent amount of starch"), boiled them slowly in salted water, drained and cooled them slightly, then semi-smashed each by hand. At home she browned them in a hot oven, but at the restaurant the cooks drop them in the deep-fryer till they crisp and the skins open up, like petals dangling from dried roses. Last step: a quick toss in a mixing bowl with salt, herbs, and caramelized onions.

Siu's right about the sweetness of Yukon Golds. Plow's are floury without skewing mealy, seasoned all the way through, and crusty where flesh has touched hot oil. As for the skins, they're papery as toasted nori ― you swear they dissolve on your tongue in places. With ingredients and technique, Siu made breakfast potatoes good enough to stand on their own, instead of as mere stodge for egg plates. Ketchup? Don't even think about it.

Plow: 1299 18th St. (at Texas), 821-7569.

Dishes in our series so far:

92: Goat tacos from El Norteño

91: Faux shark's fin soup at Benu

90: Esperpento's alcachofas a la plancha

89: Poco Dolce's olive oil chocolate bar

88: Decantr's chicken-liver mousseline

87: Outerlands' levain bread

86: Fraîche's frozen yogurt

85: Gyro King's spinach pie

84: Tandoori fish from Lahore Karahi

83: Braised oxtail and daikon from Namu

82: Golden Gate Bakery's custard tart

81: Commonwealth's cured foie gras with umeboshi purée

80: Star Stream's Liège-style waffle

79: Mexican hot chocolate from La Oaxaqueña

78: Meatball sandwich from Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe

77: Cheesecake from Zanze's

76: Chicken pepian at San Miguel

75: Macau iced coffee at Vega/Special Xtra

74: Comstock Saloon's Pisco Punch

73: Hai Ky Mi Gia's duck leg noodle soup

72: Sauerbraten at Walzwerk

71: Boudin noir at Cafe Bastille

70: Blackstrap molasses gingerbread at Lotta's Bakery

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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