Friday, September 18, 2015

When To Go Pro

I've been knitting non-stop for just over 20 years now, but I first learned a long time before then (like, 15 years...).  It wasn't until three years ago that I went "pro".  Facebook made it easy.

Why did I turn pro?  I knew I could use my many years of experience to provide top notch, high quality products.  I could create my own patterns, adapt other peoples patterns, and had a vast knowledge base, and library and stash, to work with.  I wasn't afraid to try something new, since I had a lot to back it up with.

Much of my early pro work was with photographers.  Photography has always been an interest of mine, and I loved using my Konica SLR, until the digital age took over and I couldn't keep up (financially, or learning-wise since I was hardly keeping up back then with just my kids!).  In the photography world now, there is a lot of talk about people thinking that just by getting a DSLR, they can become a photographer.  Just having a passion for taking photos should be enough, right?  You can check out a few websites and learn some things, create a free website and FB page, and Wham!  You're a pro.

This has created a huge divide between photography pros with years of education, business experience, equipment, talent, and intuition, and those that just picked up a camera and are presenting themselves as a pro.  Often, they will say they are "portfolio building" so their prices are really cheap compared to other pros.

When you hire an electrician, do you want a first year apprentice, or a fully licensed, union-backed electrician?  What if the beginner had a passion, and was just working for experience and the love of it, not for the money?  Would your dentist work just for the love of it and charge 1/10th what others do?

I saw a link on Facebook to another new photographer's website.  The girl says "Well my younger sister just started her own business for it and I'm just trying to help her get her name out there. I'll be attacking a link to her website. I've personally seen her photos and they turn out amazing. She's also very patient with kids as well if you want nice photos of your kids as well."

I took a look at the website.  I'm sorry, the photos are NOT amazing.  A picture of a dog, with the legs of a stool in the background, right behind him.  Baby pictures with drool.  A boy squinting into the sun.  And, just like the errors in the FB post, all through her website she uses "photo's" instead of photos.  

If you want to appear to be a pro, you need to make sure you present yourself that way, and present your best work.  And you have to know when the time is right to launch yourself as "pro".  Research others in your field, whatever it might be.  I look at other's knitting pages on FB, and I see lousy photos--out of focus, dark, busy, etc (some of my early photos were not the greatest, stylewise, but they were always in focus and showed the product).  I see spelling errors, grammar errors.  These things matter.  It might seem superficial, saying you have to have good spelling when you're "just a knitter" but it's all part of the package.  You have to be really good at self-examination and know whether or not you're ready to play in the big leagues.  Compare yourself to the pros.  Ask others for honest constructive criticism.  

And, most important, be willing and able to listen and acknowledge and learn from that constructive criticism.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Why This Doesn't Scare Me

This article by CityTV News is making the Facebook rounds this week.  Last year, it was this article from my local paper.  It allows you to enter the first three characters of your postal code (Canada) and find out how many registered sex offenders live in your "area".  

Before you do that (it's at the bottom), read the whole article.

There are 1798 registered sex offenders in the Toronto area, with a compliance rate of 97%.  The  provincial total is 12 018 and there are also 112 sex offenders, in the whole province, who are not on the list due to no fixed address or postal code missing.  

So often child protection programs focus on "stranger danger" and people always pipe up that strangers are not the real risk.  That's very true.  But shouldn't we know who these monsters are so we can choose to live in a "safe" neighbourhood, and protect our children?  True again.  But the Registered Sex Offenders list can not protect your children, nor really help you in any valuable way to protect them.  

For example, entering the FIRST THREE characters of my postal  code into the search box of that article reveals there are 40 registered sex offenders in my postal code zone.  How big is that zone?  Well, where I used to live in downtown Whitby, the postal code was L1N.  Where I live now, it's also L1N, and we're about 2.8km apart (the black star and approximately the red dot).  Where else in Whitby is L1N...I did a bit of Googling...all the way down to Victoria St in the south end (south of the 401), to Rossland Rd, just north of me.  The west-east boundaries appear to be Cochrane St (just to the west of me) to the Oshawa-Whitby border.  It takes me at least 10 minutes to get to that easterly border by car, along Rossland.

Take a look at this on the map:

 Look how huge this area is.  It encompasses the downtown, where there is a huge mix of socio-economic classes, and most of "old" Whitby.  Oh...and it includes the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Services.  AKA, "The Whitby Psych".  Where there are people convicted of crimes but held here because they were deemed mentally/psychologically unable to be in a jail.  I'm sure some of these inmates must be on that list.

And only 40 registered offenders for that entire area (including the OSCMHS).

It's important to look at what will get you on that list.  The second article I linked to explains it a bit more, and also that offenders are not on the list "for life".  This is both good and bad.
Some other things not mentioned in the article...teenagers...how many 16 year old girls are dating guys 18+......good news....that would no longer be a sexual offence as in 2006 the gov't created a close-in-age exemption for sex between 14-15 year olds and partners up to 5 years older....okay, so 18 year olds are no longer going on the registry for a sexual relationship with a 16 year old....but if one of the partners claims it's not consensual, and the partner is convicted...they're on the list.

The other things listed by the article...old man brushing a woman's legs on the bus.  Is that sexual assault?  If the victim views it as it is, then it is.  Do we care how the old man viewed it?  I'd be interested to know what he was thinking before shaming him to this list.  


Yes, there are some violent, vicious, unsavoury people on this list.  But is the list going to help you protect your children?  It can't tell you where the offenders live.  It can't tell you their name or show a picture.  It can't tell you their crime.Sexual assault by someone in a position of trust (coach, pastor, etc) vs sexual assault by stranger, or by drunken miscommunication after a party?

How many of that 40 do we need to fear?  Where are they?  And if we knew who they were and where, what do we do with that info?  Do we take our children to those addresses and say "watch out for this man"? For sure, if there was an address on that list that was directly in my neighbourhood, it would raise red flags and I'd be a little more vigilant, cautious, with my kids...but the old man rubbing a lady's legs is likely not interested in an 8 year old walking to Mac's.

I'm seeing so many people jumping to conclusions thanks to CityTV's article.  "OMG, there's 40 in my neighbourhood".  I really don't consider the L1N postal code my neighbourhood, and it's definitely NOT my children's neighbourhood.


Keep an eye on your local paper, see who gets arrested for crimes, and where they live, or follow your local police on FB or Twitter.  Last spring I found out an 18 year old from our actual neighbourhood (on the main street that runs through our development) was arrested for a very violent, perhaps pre-meditated assault.  He took concealed weapons to a large, public, holiday gathering.  I think he might be the older brother of boys in my daughters classes.  THESE are the types of things we need to know about and worry.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Chip Truck #11: Rachel's Chips and Cones

This truck has been on my list to hit for awhile.  Everyone says it awesome (did come across one woman who said she's wasn't all that impressed).  It's just not in an area we get to often.

When heading south on Simcoe St (Oshawa), continue south of Wentworth and look for the sign by the curb, across from the fire hall.  The truck is tucked back a bit, but you can see the nose of it as you approach.

It wasn't busy, but there were other people before and after us.
Click on this picture for a larger view.  I had been told there were onion rings there, but none on the menu :(  Check out the blue raspberry dipped cones!  I've never seen that before!!

 Since I had just one taste tester with me, we opted for the poutine, a small.  It was quite good.  The fries were excellent, with a great crispiness.  The gravy was good...not heavy on the spices, but full of meaty flavour and richness.

There were two picnic tables, one had an umbrella, so that was nice because it is super hot right now.

 This isn't my picture, but it's a great shot.  The first two pictures weren't mine either.  Thanks to my Frugal Facebook Friends!

Rachel's has a FB page with other great pictures.  Go hungry and get the X-treme or the Rachel's Mess!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Eastern Ontario Poutine Review

When we visited Calypso Water Park last time, (2013), even though we heard lots of French, I didn't realize just how FRENCH that area is.  I though everyone was a tourist, LOL.  This time we stayed in Casselman, and wow, French was everywhere.  I knew I HAD to try some "almost Quebec" poutine.

I read about a cheese co-op, St. Albert Cheese,  that was nearby.  They have a snack bar.  Perfect!  We got there a little earlier than I expected, and got told (in French) that the snack bar was still closed.  We were willing to wait the 15 minutes!  We were disappointed that the Mac & Cheese was still on the menu, but no longer available.  So we chose the classic poutine (there were many options) and nachos with chicken.

The poutine is served up pretty quick.  The nachos took a while.  But worth the wait!


The poutine was awesome....though the first French fry I took was SO hard and burnt, I was worried.  Tons of gravy.  Our only complaint was that the cheese curds were too big and didn't melt well, especially since we were outside and it was sort of cool out.  

The nachos were SO good!  Oh man.  I make nachos once in a while, but I put the salsa on the chips, then the toppings, and bake.  These, the chips were hot, the cheese was melted, and then the toppings were added (the toppings were cold, but the chicken was hot).  The salsa was separate.  It was a totally different way of doing nachos, and we all liked it--though it was harder to share (there were naked tortillas at the bottom!).  We made such a mess of the picnic table, LOL!

After lunch, we went back in for gelato/sherbet.  They were going to get ice cream, but it was Kawartha Dairy ice cream, which we get all the time. So we wanted to try something new.  The gelato cups were tiny, but SO worth it, and they really didn't need to be bigger, since you could get two flavours.  I tried dark chocolate and raspberry.  OMG.  Divine.  Others got Cookies and Cream, Coconut, Lemon, and milk chocolate, I think.  The only disappointment was the Cookies and Cream, which tasted a bit old.  All the flavours they offered looked awesome.

I think we ended up spending just under $40 for the 5 of us, and we were stuffed.  A great place for a little visit.  The store is well stocked, the self-guided tour is interesting, and the food is worth it (as we could tell by the steady stream of locals!).  If you're going up that way, stop by and visit!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Chip Truck #10: 2 Guys Fries

This truck is in Brooklin, on Highway 7 (Winchester Rd), at the Ultramar just west of Highway 12 (Baldwin St/Brock St).  Easy in and out...but maybe not on a weekend in the summer or during rush hour!

There is a huge menu at this truck, with many types of fries.  We contemplated the pizza fries, but thought slices of pepperoni would be awkward.  I saw after we ordered that there were Garlic Parmesan Fries.  Mmmm.  

 We got a small poutine and an onion rings ($5).  Prices are pretty comparable to elsewhere.
 Some day I will try the deep fried pickles.  But I'm pretty picky on my pickles :) So if I don't like the pickles to start with...

I was shocked to see the poutine had shredded cheese!  Not really enough gravy.  It was flavourful though.  I was a little disappointed at how small this was...However my son said he doesnt' like poutine so it was enough.  I didn't really care for the fries though.  Too light, bland.  
However, look at those onion rings!  These were a good deal!  A $1 more than Miss Crispie, and it's hard to tell if you get more...definitely more than the Lakeside Chips.  So this one would just depend on where you are...and how much you like onion rings.  I would not make the trek up here again since Miss Crispie's is much closer to me. 2017 update: I was just at Miss Crispie's and had the onion rings. $4.50 and definitely smaller than these ones.

There were several tables with table cloths, but they needed cleaning.  No umbrellas, no shade.  Gas station for a washroom though. 

Update: Chef Robert from this truck left a comment regarding the upgrades he's made. I'm really looking forward to going back. The menu itself looks awesome, so I'm excited that the quality has been upgraded. Watch for an update!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Chip Truck #9: Cobourg Beach

Alright.  This isn't exactly a chip truck, but it is a seasonal source of fries.  And Cobourg Beach is also Victoria Beach, but no one calls it that. The park around it is called Victoria Park.

My first comment...expensive.  That's the difference between a private enterprise and a town run facility, I guess.  I spent just under $20 for a medium poutine, small fries, onion rings and a slushie!  I didn't notice the Interac sign until I loaded the pictures, but that's a plus I guess...if you take your wallet to the beach, which I don't!

 I know it's hard to read, even when you click on it.
 These were the small fries.  They're normally about $3.25-$3.50 elsewhere, and here there were $4.50, and the poutine was $6.50.  The fries were good.  Not great, again they could have used another minute.
 The poutine was really good.  Nice light gravy, grated cheese that melted well and was fun and stringy!
The onion rings were good, but a lot of the wide ones, and not enough!!  They were $4.95 which is similar to other places, but the size was less.  

This was a lime-raspberry slushie.  Not huge, for $1.90.

Since the beach itself is free, your expenses for the day are parking ($2/hr and you can't get part of an hour, so we had to pay for an extra 40 minutes past when parking becomes free!) and snacks.  I wouldn't object to going to this concession stand again, but next time I'll take more of my own snacks (this was a bit of an impulse trip).  At least there were umbrellas up so you could be in shade...but there were seagulls.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Chip Truck #7: "Ritson and Bloor"

This truck is located in Oshawa, on the north-east corner of Ritson Rd and Bloor St.  The truck is labelled "Fresh Home Made Fries", but so are most chip trucks, LOL.  I know many people recommend this truck, so I was eager to try it.  Perhaps late Saturday afternoon wasn't the best time though.  Very busy.

 Prices are reasonable, $1 for canned pop is great.  I had to wait awhile to even place my order.  You can see that you are able to phone ahead, and many people seemed to.  She would take a few orders, get them going/made, then take a few more orders.  She had a behind the scenes helper, but could probably even use another person taking orders.
 Luckily, there is ample seating, and I even saw a Porta-Pottie...though I can't comment on it's condition.
 Not much on the condiments shelf.  No spices.
 We got a small fries ($3.25) and a medium poutine ($4.50).  Like the Newfie Bullet, they were on the smaller side, but the price reflects that.  The fries are chunky (not enough "baby fries"!), and very golden and "light".  We thought maybe they had just changed the oil, or that they could have cooked hotter, or for another minute.
The gravy was awesome, flavour-wise.  It was a thinner gravy (most likely from a mix), but there just wasn't enough.  Grated cheese instead of cheese curds, and there could have been a bit more.

The fries were good.  Not awesome, in our opinion.  A few seagulls, but bonus points for having a recycling bin.  The next truck I want to try is fairly close to there, and it's the other "must try" truck, so it will be interesting!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Chip Truck #6: The Newfie Bullet

For any Americans reading, a "Newfie" is someone from Newfoundland.  They are a people amongst themselves!

This was an impromptu visit, after being reminded about this truck on Facebook.  Located in the north end of the MidTown Mall parking lot (Oshawa), it is easy to get to, if you're mindful of those one way streets.  Lots of parking.  No shade!

Looks good.

 You can't see the Small prices there...we got a small fries $3.25 and a small poutine and a little math says the poutine was $5.00.  They offer "Newfie Fries" which she says has seasoning on them.  The first column was fries, I think the third column was "Newfie or Poutine"...so what was the middle?  And then down at the bottom it says (Poutine and Newfie) add 75cents....There are large spice jars in the order window, not down with the condiments.  Most places let you add some flavoured spices to your fries, but I don't know if those were the Newfie Fries spices or not.
 The poutine seemed a bit bigger than the fries.  Very good.  Surprisingly, they used grated cheese.  I do like grated cheese!  And I've learned to like gravy.  There seems to be two or three types of gravy used at these trucks. Bland, flavourful, and a bit more flavour.  These had a nice flavour, not overwhelming, but not bland.  A ton of gravy.
The fries themselves were good.  Not awesome, in our opinion.  Typical chip truck chips, a little soft, and Lucy thought they needed more flavour.  Not sure how you get flavour in your French fries...dirty fryer oil?

The two smalls were JUST enough for the four of us, for snacks.  I probably would eat a small poutine as a "meal", but it's just a little bit much (gravy wise) for me.  Perhaps I should get gravy on the side.  The small fries does two kids, but would not be enough for two adults.  But it's quite affordable, at $3.25.

Points are lost because there was no shade, only one table (although we were the only ones eating), and numerous sea gulls.  Being in a parking lot though, I guess they're hard to avoid.  There is interesting traffic to watch going in and out of the Beer Store, and a nice path along the river to burn off the carbs.  I'd go again, but wouldn't make a specific trip.  Bob's Chips is closer to me :)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Chip Truck Reviews

My kids really enjoy being testers for the chip truck reviews.  But we're just one family.  If you've got a favourite truck, or are in a different area of Ontario, and would like to do a review, that would be great.  I'll even offer you a discount on items from my biz, TracyKM Designs :)  It would also be great if people would leave comments on the reviews---did you try the truck because of the review?  Same experience?  Better?  Worse?  Etc.  Things like this will help get those posts noticed by Google!  Thanks!

Here is a list of trucks I'd like to get to, or get reviews for:

Whitby:
Ultramar in Brooklyn (Highway 7, west of Highway 12; Winchester and Baldwin) "Two Guys Fries"?
Canadian Tire, Consumers Dr at Garden St

Ajax: 
Friar's Truk's,  On Harwood Rd, on east side, south of Highway 2 

Oshawa:
Rachels, Simcoe St South, at Ritson Rd
"Bloor and Ritson"
Wentworth and Cedar
Blue Building at far end of east beach

Clarington:
Chipmonks, at Courtice Flea Market
Noftys and other trucks, Taunton Rd and ...
Double J's Double Decker Bus
Hanc's

Port Perry:
"Island Fries" on Highway 7 and Island Rd

Enfield




If you have more to add to the list, let me know.  Even better, check it out yourself and write a little review!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Chip Truck #5: Hippy Chippy

Hippy Chippy is not local to us in Whitby, but is located south of Fowler's Corners, at the intersection of  Stuart Line, North Monaghan Parkway (Country Rd15) and Highway 7.  West of Peterborough, we got to it when we were going north on the 115, and got off at Exit 45B (not 45A which only goes south on 7).  Head north. It might seem long at first, but you're there in no time (you're not going all the way to Fowler's Corners, which is 11km).   If you're heading south on the 115, get off at Sir Sanford Drive, which become North Monaghan Parkway on the west side of Peterborough.  Then you can head south on 7 to get back on the 115. Edit--the second visit, we were coming south on the 115, but got off at the Fowlers Corners exit rather than take SSD through the city.
This is one of those places that mainly the locals know, and with good reason.  Be sure to also visit Gerri's Craft Warehouse for lots of deals on Crayola products, including individually priced crayons and markers!  And say hi to my cousin Jenn!

Yes, that's how I found out about this delightful truck.  Extra bonus, Jenn's daughter, Jasmine works in the chip truck!!  How cool!  I never get to see them often enough, so this is a nice treat.  Another bonus, Jenn lets dogs come in the store!

We ordered a poutine and fries.
 We ate quite a bit already, LOL.  Sooo yummy!  Real cheese curds!  Good gravy!  Lucy says the gravy was really good, but she doesn't really like gravy, so she had only a few.  There were lots of the little bits of french fries, which are my favourite ones.  These were more than enough for the three kids and I.  By kids, I mean my 15, 12 and 9 year olds that all weigh about 122lb, LOL!

There is ample seating here, although some of the tables are on a bit of a hill.  My only comment would be they don't open until 11:30am.  I think that should be pushed back to 11am.  We went on a Friday, got there just before noon, and it was starting to pick up.  I would have liked to have made it there a bit earlier, but I didn't get packed up soon enough.  Jasmine was working alone, but that didn't seem to delay it much.  There was a large order just before ours so we did have to wait for that to clear out of the fryers, I guess.

I seriously recommend you take the detour on your next trip to cottage country.  Enjoy!

They have a  Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheHippyChippyChipTruck?fref=ts 

Edit--we stopped in again, and didn't take pictures!  I forgot that these pictures weren't all that great.  However, the poutine and fries were once again, out of this world.  The gravy is heavenly, the cheese curds were the perfect size to melt and be easily shared (rather than a few large curds, we prefer smaller curds since we share).  My only complaint was that pop is $1.50 and they don't have Diet Coke, LOL.  And we would have like some shade.  And maybe a water bowl fill up for the dog.

UPDATE---Hippy Chippy announced during the off season that they had sold the truck! :( I don't know if there's new owners. I will try to find out.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Chip Truck #4: Kelly's Kitchen

I've seen this little red and white chip truck in Whitby for awhile, but wondered if it could be good, given how low key it was.  It IS quite good!

Located next to MacKay Animal Clinic, in the parking lot of a carpet store, it is easy to get to (Hickory St and Dundas St East).
 The menu is basic.  Fries, burgers, poutine, etc.  No onion rings, no deep fried pickles.  Reasonable prices.  However, the cook got our order a bit mixed up and we ended up with a medium poutine (wanted a small) and then we had to wait for our fries, which we got as a small, when originally we wanted a medium.


The poutine was quite good.  The gravy had lots of flavour; Lucy thought it was a bit spicy, but I didn't think it was spicy, just flavourful.  However, he used GRATED cheese instead of cheese curds!!!  So, it's not poutine, it's fries with gravy and melted (white) cheese.  Which is still good.  The naked fries were very good.  It was annoying to have the salt/vinegar/ketchup right at the small ordering window, but it wasn't busy.
(They'd already eaten quite a bit of the poutine before we took this picture)

Our biggest complaint...no where to sit.  Not a park bench, chair, stool, nothing.  Thankfully, I have a SUV with a hatchback, and the three kids fit perfectly in the back, LOL.  It's hard to share if we were sitting in our seats in the truck.

I'd go back here if I'm downtown and need chip truck fries.  I'd make the drive up from the lakefront too, instead of going to the chip truck there (except for their onion rings).  This truck would also be good for us to pick up fries to have with dinner at home as we can zip across the back streets!

UPDATE---over the 2016/17 winter, this chip wagon disappeared, and "Poutine Krazee" appeared.  I know they travel to events, so I'm waiting to find out if this is a permanent location or just where they store the truck. The pictures look awesome though!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Chip Truck Visit #3: "Lakeside Chips"

I don't know if that is the real name of the truck as the only "name" on it was "French Fries!".  Down at the Whitby Waterfront, between the old pumphouse and the big gazebo.  Techincally, it's called Water Street, but really, it's just the southern part of Brock Street.  We park at the lot in front of the pumphouse, because I don't like parking on the road.  There is usually a Port-a-Potty there by the parking lot, though I can't comment on it, LOL.  If you need "real" washrooms, you can park further up at the playground lot and walk to the east up the trail past the Haydenshore Pavillion, to the washroom building.  I do NOT know why it's not situated closer to the middle of the popular trail here!

The last few years, there was a teal coloured chip truck here.  We tried it last summer, and wasn't too impressed.  This year, it's a different truck.  The woman running it was very friendly, it's a nice shady spot, but not enough seating considering how popular the spot is.  There are plenty of benches though along the trail, just not practical for me and three kids.
She said the fries are fresh cut, so they take about 7 minutes.  They did take longer.



Click on the picture for a larger version.  There is a LOT on the menu.

 Lucy and Hugh each got their own onion rings, which we all said were AWESOME!  We'd come again for the onion rings!
 The french fries?  Meh.  Big serving!  Nice tray, lots of long fries for dipping.  But they were a bit mushy on the inside.  I wouldn't turn them down if we were in the area, but I'd opt for the onion rings.
It's a nice spot for a snack, since there is no other food options at the lake.  I've heard good things about Lakeview Grill just up Brock St though.  We're still on the quest for a truck with both onion rings and fries that are AWESOME!

Addition:  We went back and tried a small poutine.  I thought it would be the same size as a small fries, but it was much bigger, and too much for just Megan and I.  The gravy was good, the cheese curds were plentiful, but I still wasn't keen on the fries themselves.

2016:  We tried this truck again and I should have read my own review LOL.  I think we got a small and it was more than enough for a post dinner snack.  Again, the gravy was very good, the cheese curds were good, the service excellent (not fast though).  We just aren't a huge fan of the naked fries.  Don't let this deter you, as others report that they love the fries here.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Chip Truck Visit #2, Bob's Chips

My youngest and I were having one of those "run around" afternoons.  She had a couple of appointments, and one involved waiting a few hours for a radioactive contrast dye.  I had to go to the fabric store, which was close by.  Across the road is a chip truck, which was open this time!

I believe it's called Bob's Chips.  It was extremely sunny and really hard to take pictures (and I'm trying to do it kind of stealthy).  Click on the pictures to make them bigger.  




 We stuck with just fries since it was the two of us, and a Diet Coke.  These fries were AWESOME!  Soooo good!  Lots of small crispy ones for me, the big ones were cooked through and not soft in the inside.  They were hot.  The tables were freshly painted and smooth (no splinters or rough wood!).  There was a large, very sturdy step for at the window.  Again, the ambiance score is a little low, but traffic watching can be interesting.  They are accessible from both directions on Highway 2.  They are located on the north side of Highway 2 (Dundas Street), just west of Garrard Road, beside "End of the Roll".  My only comment would be another table would be nice, and perhaps, somehow, something for sun or wind.  It was very windy (it was a windy day, but this is at the top of a hill).

We will definitely go out of our way to go to this truck again, and try some other items!  We let the young man working know they're the best chip truck fries we've found!

Edit to add:
We got a medium this time, and it was $4.50.  A perfect snack for the three of us.  Pop was $1.  The actual Bob was nice, super friendly!  We asked about onion rings, and he said no, they tried once and they didn't work.  He did encourage us to come back for funnel cake, with strawberries and ice cream, only $7.  Their menu board changed, so I tried to get a better picture...but my phone must have been a bit dirty, LOL.  And it was wet from a water bottle failure.
There were umbrellas up so it was a bit shadier, but it was still quite windy.  And don't plan on turning left when leaving, unless you don't mind waiting.  The exit is directly across from the mall entrance, and it's a four lane road, so really busy.  (I hate turning left on busy streets.  Your anxiety might vary though!).
 I also hope to try the poutine soon.  But there are other trucks  to try!

Our additional tester agreed that these are the best fries yet this summer!

Another Edit:  My husband and I stopped in while we were out and about, and tried the Bacon Poutine.  It was excellent, though I don't think I'd bother with the bacon again, and I'd just get the regular poutine.  Cheese curds, great gravy and the same great fries.  I hope this truck sticks around for a LONG time!

Another Edit:  My husband and I took our older two kids one day when the youngest one was busy somewhere.  She tends to go everywhere while the older two don't as much time with us, without her along.  


Aren't they special?


The menu board has changed again, but still no onion rings


 While waiting, I knit.  And take pictures of the goofballs.  I think we got poutine and fries.  Yum, yum, yum.
Hugh had some money so he decided to try the deep fried Mars bar.  It's $5, and I do think it was priced a little high.  It also took at least 5 minutes.  When it came, it looked like fish, LOL, so we weren't sure what to expect.  Crack it open, and OMG...hot, gooey chocolate and caramel and nougat.....I could do away with the coating and be fine.  In fact, I could just stick the Mars bar in the microwave for a few seconds and be in heaven.  We won't order this again, but it was a fun treat.

2016:  I can't find Bob!!!!  We are so sad!!  The truck is gone and I don't know where.  There's a couple new truck sightings in Oshawa, so we will check them out.  In the mean time, if anyone knows Bob, find out where he went!




Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Chip Truck Visit #1, Miss Crispy's (Whitby)

My family loves chip truck fries.  And onion rings.  And some even like poutine.  It's always fun to visit chip trucks in the summer and find some hidden gems.  I will be reviewing them as often as my wallet allows!

First up is Miss Crispy's in north Whitby (map at the link).  We first stopped here a couple years ago, and found out a teacher at our kid's school was the owner.  Less than two weeks later, she sold it.  LOL.  We loved the fries the first few times, but our last trip...they weren't as good.

The menu board is not huge.  Unfortunately, I can't remember if we got a small or medium.  Probably a medium.
I prefer the cardboard tray, but the foam clamshell is a runner up.  Easy for sharing and spreading condiments.  I don't like the cardboard boxes, unless getting individual servings.  We sample our fries with malt vinegar, salt, and ketchup in the corner.  These fries were good, don't get me wrong, but not as good as last summer.  They were a bit soft on the inside, and left my teeth kind of scummy.  They're not too fast to get made, but not the slowest either.  A good mix of the tiny crispy fries, and the bigger ones (I love the tiny ones).  We will visit again because they are close to us, and super close to where my daughter figure skates.
The onion rings are absolutely awesome.  They are crispy, and when you bite them, you don't pull out the entire onion.  I highly recommend them.  They are a really good value compared to other trucks we've been to since.  We did try the poutine last year, and it was good too.

This is a great place to stop if you're passing north through Whitby up to the cottage.  Just bring some gum.  Going south on Highway 12/Brock St....a little tricky to get to, you can only get in if you're westbound on Taunton Rd, east of Highway 12 (also called Baldwin St, north of Taunton Rd), or northbound on Brock St, just north of Taunton Rd.  If you're coming from the north, turn onto Broadleaf (opposite to Wal-Mart), go straight to McKinney, turn right, then right again at Taunton Rd, then enter at the Petro Can.  If you're coming from the west, you can turn north onto Highway 12, and follow those instructions for people going south.

The score for ambiance is pretty low.  It's behind a gas station, in a plaza parking lot.  There are sea gulls.  Not really any shade, but often there is a breeze.  If you're not in a rush, I'd recommend heading over to the park behind McKinney Arena.  And stop at Menchie's for dessert, LOL.

Edit to add:   We got back again for a medium poutine.  At first, I was disappointed to see the cheese curds, LOL, but they melted wonderfully this time into gooey stringy cheese.  The gravy was about the same as everywhere, plenty of it, nice and hot.  We got a medium, which wasn't huge, but good for the two of us.  The next guy after us got a large, and it looked huge...and it was just for him!

Unfortunately, it was very hot and sunny, so we sat in the back of my truck.  There was only one seagull this time LOL.  I do notice that the small fries is the cheapest I've seen, though if the ones we got earlier were a medium, then how small is the small?  The fries were much better this time.  More cooked, they didn't leave a scummy feel.  I liked that there were "naked" fries to try without the gravy (or just a little gravy).  I have renewed my faith in this truck.  Plus, he gave my girl a Freezie while we waited, and even had a blue one :)

2016:  This truck has changed hands again.  The man working there when we tried it was not the friendliest, but not "unfriendly".  Our poutine was fine, but I saw him walk by with what looked like frozen onion rings on the cardboard serving box.  They were not as good as last time! They had more of a breaded type coating, instead of battered.  More like A&W onion rings.  I also got a report from a visitor that they saw a woman with a bag of frozen Great Value (Wal-Mart brand, and WM is across the street) shoestring fries, and her fries were shoestrings and not very good.  She said her friend got poutine and got the thick cut fries.  If anyone has any updates on this, I'd appreciate it.  It's possible they hadn't gotten into the chip truck groove yet, but I can't keep spending money just to see if they improve

2017: I had some kidfree time so I stopped in for onion rings. I'm not sure if it's  the same owners as last year. The man was friendly, telling me about this shredded cheese someone recommended, and he gave me a handful to try. It was No Name Italiano shredded cheese. It was good, but you know how packaged shredded cheese has that powdery dust? Yeah. I ordered onion rings, $4.50. I was a little scared when he walked by with frozen onion rings. They were really good though. More like our 2015 visit. I know they're not a huge seller, and battering to order is probably not practical. The Diet Coke was so cold and delicious.
 It does look a little smaller than in 2015, but since it was just me, this was fine. It wouldn't be, if I had brought kids!!
I forgot to get a menu shot so I tried to get it from my truck. I don't know what the third and fourth items are "Sweet Pot Pou" and "Sweet Pot Fri". If anyone knows, fill me in. There's chicken strips, deep fried pickles, mozzarella sticks, pogos, and some things at the bottom...hot dog....jumbo sausage. I don't see much creativity on the menu, just the standard stuff.