Potatoes are oft-overlooked workhorses (and will do extra duty in this weekend's picnic potato salad), but the potato-based appetizers at Taita, the focus of my most recent review, are hard to ignore. Those fried, stuffed, mashed potatoes in the papa rellena and the cool slices in the causa got me thinking about other spud sensations I've had over the past few months.
Here, in no particular order, are three of my favorites. See also: - Taita takes diners on an unexpected journey through Peruvian cuisine - Photos: Behind the scenes at Taita - Troy Guard's latest gives people what they want
3. French fries are old hat. So are twists like truffle parmesan and ramekins of too-sweet housemade ketchup. But the duck fat fries at TAG Burger Bar, which I reviewed last fall, will never go old. Maybe it's the sprinkling of sugar and salt in the spice blend that makes these so good, or maybe it's the way they're fried like normal, then drizzled with liquid gold so that the duck flavor complements, not competes. Whatever the reason, you'll want a large order so there are plenty of fries to share.
2. When you think of samosas, you don't necessarily think of this starchy vegetable. But it's potatoes that form the bulk of the filling for these fried Indian treats, and no one makes them better than Azitra, the Indian restaurant I reviewed in March. Here the flaky pouches are stuffed with yellow lentils, dried cranberries and potatoes, and deftly spiced with cumin, ginger and coriander seeds.
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1. Potatoes don't usually appear in the description of gnocchi, but without them blended into the flour, these square pillows would be just another dough. Unlike other versions that can be too dense -- either from overly wet potatoes or overdeveloped gluten -- the gnocci at Il Posto are oh-so-light, and also oh-so-good when tossed with the day's freshest vegetables. When I had them in January, when I reviewed the restaurant, that meant apple, spinach and butternut squash puree. Note: until potatoes come back in season, Il Posto will be serving ricotta gnocchi instead -- not quite the same as potato, but just as delicious with, say, foie gras, ramp pesto and fiddleheads.