Tag Archives: Homefries

Week of the Garbage Plate: Hot Sauce


This is the very last step in the process, and the reason for the whole week’s worth of posts: the sauce. Without the chili hot sauce, it’s just a mess of ingredients on the plate. With the hot sauce, it’s truly a Rochester Garbage Plate.

Rochester Plate Sauce, the product that tops my homemade plate in the picture above, is a strikingly close facsimile to the stuff you’ll get in Rochester on a traditional plate. The sauce comes in a packet that can be heated up by placing the pouch in boiling water for two minutes and then pouring over your finished plate (that’s the mac salad, the homefries, then the burger). The Plate Sauce is a little bit on the spicy side, but it makes the plate a PLATE. Die hard plate fans will notice that it lacks the finely ground beef that traditional plates in Rochester feature but again, it’s probably as close as you’ll get if you’re a Rochester ex-pat living in Nebraska or Texas. Well worth the $10 it’ll cost you for 3 pouches.

The last step to the plate is the chopped onions (standard raw white onion, chopped), yellow mustard, and ketchup. And it is extremely important to note that the ketchup design is unique to each person: some prefer the swirly, some go with the smiley face, I prefer the checkerboard. It’s really up to you. And yes… it makes a difference.

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Week of the Garbage Plate: Crispy Homefries

This is a tried and true method for making crispy homefries, straight from someone who always mucks it up. Either they take forever, or they come out unevenly cooked, or they burn… but these are perfect. Delicious, crispy, soft on the inside, and evenly cooked.

These homefries will sit nicely next to your cold mac salad on the plate, serving as a lovely little bed and ready to hold your burgers. But that’s the next step, and you’ll have to wait til tomorrow for that gem.

On the menu:
Crispy homefries
Serves 4 (or makes enough for 2 plates)

4 large potatoes (Russet or Idaho will work fine), diced into 1/2 inch cubes
3 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
Salt and pepper

Place diced potatoes between two damp paper towels and microwave them for 2 minutes on high. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed iron skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes in a single layer and do not touch them for four minutes! This step is so important to get the crispiest crust possible. After cooking for 4 minutes, toss the potatoes and let rest for cooking again for 4 minutes. Continue this process for around 20 – 30 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp and golden on all sides.

Remove potatoes from the skillet and put on a paper towel to drain the excess oil. Toss immediately with salt and pepper. Plate next to mac salad on a large plate.

Note: It should be noted that because these potatoes are the basis of your plate, they’re not overly flavored on purpose. If you’re making these for breakfast, I would add diced onions and finely chopped red and green peppers after the potatoes have cooked for around 15 minutes.

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ROC City Part 1: The Garbage Plate

Growing up in Rochester, New York, I never really understood why so many people would want to voluntarily call it home. It snows 9 months out of the year (yes, it snowed on Mother’s Day… that’s May 9, people), one of the greatest forms of weekend entertainment is a trip to Wegmans grocery store, and you can’t go out for a meal without running into your kindergarten teacher or your first boyfriend. However, now that I am a mature woman of twenty-COUGH, I see all the beauty that lies in The Flour City. That’s right. The food.

How could I have ignored the fact that the city I grew up in is famous for a flour mill, Genesee Beer, and Garbage Plates? Oh yeah, and Kodak… whatever.

This week, I’m going to share some of my favorite Rochester, New York treats in an homage to my hometown. It’s no New York or Boston, heck it’s not even Minneapolis, but it’s where I was born so it’s alright with me.

The Garbage Plate at Empire Hots

On the menu:
The Garbage Plate
Bread and butter (the requisite side dish)

This is how we do math in Rochester, NY. Don’t let anyone tell you different:

One plate / (macaroni salad + homefries) + 2 cheeseburgers + (finely ground beef sauteed with hot sauce and spices) + sauteed onions + ketchup + mustard = The Garbage Plate

Derivatives include substituting burgers for red hot dogs, fried fish, eggs (breakfast plate, duh) or the popular white hot dog, a Rochester special made from pork.

If you ever travel upstate, and yes this is the REAL upstate, you have got to go to the original Nick Tahou’s Hots for a Trash Plate. If you value your life and would rather not be shot, or if you simply want a Plate after dark (Tahou’s closes at 8PM because of all the crime they experience) go to Empire Hots in Webster, NY. It might not look pretty, but your taste buds will be singing a different tune.

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