Sunday, June 5, 2016

Season's Choice Premium Veggie Eggplant Fries (Aldi)

I went into this with strong reservations...and came out a believer.
Let me just get this observation out of the way: I feel like the name “Veggie Fries” is a little misleading, as I think of a mix of vegetables combining to form a single fry. What these really are, are fried eggplant fries. Now I’ve never been a fan of eggplant at all, but my wife is, so we grabbed a box of these just to see what they were all about.

The first thing I noticed is how BIG these things are. I expected small shoestring-size fries, with a teeny-tiny bit of eggplant in the middle. But a lot of these are actually monstrosities, with a few of them reaching six inches long! Of course, you’re also going to get some smaller ones, but all of them are loaded with a generous amount of eggplant. This can be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on your appreciation for eggplant. Or, it could even change your mind about the vegetable altogether…

If there’s one thing that usually drags down frozen breaded items, it’s that the breading either adds nothing to the overall flavor, or it ends up being too soggy; surprisingly, neither of those happen to be the case here. The breading is surprisingly flavorful on its own, with a delicious blend of spices in it. It would make a fantastic onion ring batter! There’s also a substantial amount of eggplant in each fry; I thought this would be a negative, as like I said earlier, I‘m not a fan of eggplant at all, but the combination actually manages to be pretty good. In fact, I would even go so far as to say these are restaurant quality--not four-star restaurant quality, but I could easily see something similar to these being sold at a chain restaurant, for twice the price. Not being a fan of eggplant (something I’ve mentioned three times now, just for reiteration), I did dip them in peppercorn ranch, which made them absolutely addicting; just to test it out, I tried them without ranch and was similarly surprised at how edible they were.

A box of these retail for $3.99, which is rather steep for a box of fries, but these certainly manage to be worth it; there are plenty of fries per box (there were enough for two big helpings that managed to fill up both my wife and I) and the sheer size of most of them set them apart from typical French fry offerings. If you happen to see these being offered--they are only available occasionally as a Special Buy item--don’t hesitate to scoop these up. Unless you’re allergic or absolutely despise eggplant, no matter your opinion of the vegetable, you just might find enough here to change your mind.

Overall: 9/10. I don’t like eggplant at all, but these are absolutely fantastic. The $4 price tag seems a little excessive at first, but the average size of each fry is about three inches, with a girthiness to match, so you really get a lot of fry for the buck.  I dipped mine in ranch, which really took them to the next flavor level for me, yet they were delicious right out of the oven with no condiments.  I'd have to say these are easily restaurant quality, and I guarantee you'd be paying a helluva lot more than $4 for at least half the amount if you were to get these while dining out.  It might be a little splurge, but since they are only available once or twice a year, it's one worth taking, if you can afford to.

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