Behind the Scenes: Making Tater Tots at R-Gang in San Diego

[Photographs: Erin Jackson]

Chef Rich Sweeney of R-Gang Eatery knows how to have a good time in the kitchen. His food is uninhibited, unrestrained, and most of all, fun. Take his approach to French toast, a brunch staple. Instead of dipping some bread in an eggy custard, frying it up, and calling it good, he crusts brioche with Cap'n Crunch, and stuffs it with ricotta, cream cheese, and fruit compote.


Chef Rich Sweeney (courtesy photo)

Rich is most famous for his tater tots, which are made from scratch, fried to order, and served with various dipping sauces.

Tot flavors switch up every once in awhile to keep things fresh. There are currently four different variations on the menu, ranging from cheddar & chive (the signature option, topped with chipotle Ranch), to the "Underground" tot, with black truffle, parmesan, and herbs de Provence, plus a creamy foie gras sauce for dipping. Technically, the sauce comes complimentary, skirting California's foie ban.

Rich let me watch as he put together a batch of "Popper" tots, a spin on jalapeño poppers, with sharp cheddar, cream cheese, spices, and plenty of fresh jalapeños.

See the step-by-step making of the tots in the slideshow >>