Friday, July 07, 2006

Everything I Love: Wes' Chips

Few would believe that man's greatest gastronomic creation is served from an old tin shack built over a 1956 Ford truck, but for five decades, the good people of the Ottawa Valley have visited Wes' Chips in Arnprior for little white boxes of golden brown perfection. You may claim to have your own favourite fry truck, but whatever imitation you've found cannot compare to the soft and sweet chips at Wes'.

Wes', for me, is the crack-cocaine of comfort food. During the first Summer of David, with my cousins Hee Haw and Rubber Duck, I visited the chip wagon nightly, tearing down Highway 17 for a steaming box of spuds before Andre flipped off the yellow lights and shuttered the serving window. My family's loyalty the chip wagon dates back to its opening when, for fifteen cents, my mother and aunts were served plates of fries by the ruddy-faced Wes Dodds himself. Several years ago, my cousin, the aforementioned Hee Haw, even romanced one of the chip girls.

For some, the autumnal equinox marks the first day of Fall, but for me it's with the last box of chips at Thanksgiving that we can toast the end of another memorable summer.

8 comments:

Big Joe Montferrand said...

In the contemporary epicurean wasteland plagued as it is by such 'delicacies' as poutine and even something called 'chili fries', it's reassuring to know that there's a place where the HOT CHIPS are still made, served and taste like they should. So tell us...was it a $1, $2 or (please, please let it be) $4 order.

Anonymous said...

Wes' are open again for another season

David said...

Anonymous #2, it's an absolute shame that you feel that way. I'll try the Furgosh Chip Wagon this summer and post a comparative review on this site. I have no doubt that Wes' will prevail.

Anonymous said...

.... in all fairness, we need a few Pembroke residents to vouch for the Furgosh chips. I haven't been back to Pembroke for many years - hopefully Furgosh is still in business. Hebert's chips were equally awesome - but since he passed, I don't think anyone replaced him. Anyone living in Pembroke during the 50's and 60's could feel legitimately qualified to judge what a good chip (french fry) is. Most kids would make the Saturday trek downtown and get their chip fix from one of 5 or so chip wagons. No disrespect intended - but I've tried all the chips up and down the Ottawa Valley.

Anonymous said...

Wes' are good chips and I must admit that I do get a box if I'm nearby visiting family. Though I have heard many people say they are overrated...I like them. You can easily make these at home though. The secret to their taste is the cut up potatoes are soaked overnight in sugar water before being deepfried. Give it a try and see it may take some experimenting but you'll have your own Wes' taste at home!!

John in Ottawa said...

I'm more than willing to consider worthy competitors to the Wes's crown, but so far none compare. My father travelled up and down the Valley on sales calls, and I often tagged along with him, and we always came back to Wes's. I live in Ottawa, and on hot summer days I'll often take the scenic route up, and the crowning glory is the fries.

There could be other chips that are worthy of a 50 minute drive, but I haven't found them yet.

Savannah said...

I'm in my 20's now but I definitely can't forget the amazing taste of Wes' chips. My stepdad grew up in Arnprior, a gorgeous small town. We're from Arizona, so it was quite the trip to get up to grandma's in Arnprior by plane. Our old family cottage was across the river from Quebec. We would go to Storyland, get Wes' chips, as well as other neat treats from the market that you couldn't find in the states. What fond memories I have of those summers. I am determined to try and make some chips as good as Wes, but I'm sure I could never match that legendary flavor. Thanks for bringing back the best food memory I've ever had :)

Anonymous said...

When we were Wes's in March we saw them unload clear plastic bags of peeled potatoes, which means they don't Peel cut fresh,those potatoes have whitener and perserviitives , they have a system in place that make these frys good, but the old owner peeled and cut his potatoes to be a fresh cut fry, they are good but not the best I've had.