Best Fries?

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Penoose
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2004/01/17 03:21:51 (permalink)

Best Fries?

The best fries I've had came from - of all places - Canada. Poutines are heavenly, often fried in beef lard with no regard to cholesterol, fat, or any other distracting health issues.

A poutine is truly a diamond in the rough, since traversing the vast north on Trans Canada 1 presents one with almost nothing worthy of the title "roadfood." Mmm...overdone burgers...

P.j.


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    JimInKy
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/01/17 04:23:35 (permalink)
    Those poutines do sound fantastic. While hand-cut french fries seem to be making a comeback (albeit a limited one), I doubt Americans will ever see them fried in beef or pork fat again.

    McDonald's French fries helped that company become the monolith it is today. Until 1990, their fries were cooked in a mixture of 93% beef tallow and 7% soybean oil. This is why they were so good and made that company so much money (one pound of McDonald's fries yields over $6 in sales). Their French fries are now fried in 100% vegetable oil, that has beef "natural flavor" added. And beef "natural flavor" is also added to the fries by the potato processors. Interesting, huh?

    Postscript: Since the 1950s Ridgewood Barbecue near Johnson City, Tennessee has been reminding people that hand-cut, hot French fries are knock-out delicious. Visit the Ridgewood review here on the Web site for not one, not two, but three pictures of the fries!
    #2
    Martha-Girl
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/01/17 22:06:08 (permalink)
    Had a guilty pleasure yesterday-a fresh hot order from the Varsity, which I scarfed down before the debris at the bottom became a congealed mess to remind me of how my arteries are going to look from eating them.

    There's a fat woman in me, and she wants out, bad.

    I can resist a lot of things, but a perfectly fried potato is not one of them. And I don't think there is anything worse than really having a craving for one and being presented with a limp & frozen (horrors) imposter!

    If you can't do 'em right, why bother???



    #3
    JimInKy
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/01/18 01:10:51 (permalink)
    I grew up eating French fries that were hand-cut and fried in lard. I remember reading that Arthur Bryant's, the famous Kansas City barbeque restaurant fried their hand cut fries in lard. I've wondered if they still do.

    #4
    GordonW
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/01/18 03:25:12 (permalink)
    McDoo french fries are so special, when McDoo came to the Philippines, they gave local potato farmers McDoo potato seed so that they could grow McDoo-specific potatos. Did I say "McDoo?"
    #5
    JimInKy
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/01/18 05:03:27 (permalink)
    Gordon, I've read that McDonald's French fries are made from Russet Burbanks. When the company set up shop in the former Soviet empire, they took along their potato seed.
    #6
    dte3672
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/01/21 17:00:10 (permalink)
    I love Boardwalk fries! Long, browned and thin with the skin on. Is Boardwalk still around?
    #7
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/01/22 09:02:01 (permalink)
    Poochie's in Skokie serves great cheddar fries covered with Merkt's.
    #8
    i95
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/02/04 07:53:01 (permalink)
    Without question, the best fries had by both Mrs. I95 and I were the shoe string variety accompanying the fresh grilled fish at San Francisco's Hayes Street Grill (across from that city's Performing Arts Center at 320 Hayes Street, see: http://www.hayesstreetgrill.com).

    Such was reviewed in the Stern's "Eat Your Way Across the USA" (1999) and included the accolade that the Grill offered a "sophisticated San Francisco meal to remember."

    Indeed, I do.
    #9
    efuery
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/02/04 09:00:45 (permalink)
    My favorite fries are the fresh-cut ones made at those traveling carnivals with lots of salt and malt vinegar-yum, yum. It's the only "fair food" i will eat beacuse they tase good enough to risk food poisoning.
    #10
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/02/04 09:19:48 (permalink)
    Like Penoose, the best fries I have ever had was at a roadside small stand just south of Montreal. I have no idea what made them better, except they were. I also had the frites in Europe and for some reason they too were better.

    Maybe its the potato? Maybe it is the cooking oil?

    I wonder if the potatoes that are sold precut and in a bag frozen are reconstituted potatoes? They seem a bit mushy to me.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #11
    Sushi_Girl
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/02/04 11:43:38 (permalink)
    we used to have a Boardwalk Fries here in Gainesville but it left and Cinnabun replaced it....I loved those fries!
    #12
    Lone Star
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/02/04 12:15:48 (permalink)
    In Houston, Barnaby's has the best fries. I can resist ordering fries anywhere else except there. They are very thin and crispy but still soft inside but not greasy. They season them with Tex-Joy seasoned salt with a little extra chili powder. I could eat a whole plateful of them.
    #13
    jpatweb
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/02/04 12:36:20 (permalink)
    My all-time favorites are the twice-cooked frites sold from street carts in Belgium and Holland and served in paper cones. In the US, my most memorable of late have been from Arthur Bryant's and Super Duper Weenie.
    #14
    stanpnepa
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/02/04 13:18:24 (permalink)
    I'm usually not at a loss for "food" words, but as much as I love 'em, I don't think I could give a "best fries" award. Nothing comes to mind.

    All I know is that as I get older, I prefer tartar sauce or salt and vinegar for dipping...and of course any kind of Belgian dipping sauce.
    #15
    Scylla
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/02/04 14:24:10 (permalink)
    I had the best fries ever in San Francisco at another Jane and Michael-recommended spot--can't remember the name, but it's a Basque place. I was there in the late '80s. Don't know what they were fried in, but they tended toward shoestring and were lightly crispy on the outside and butter smooth on the inside. I alsways like to travel with RoadFood or similar close by.
    Follow up was a small cafe in Montreal--served as a side dish to fabulous mussels.
    #16
    twodales
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/03/19 00:12:55 (permalink)
    Best fries in Chicago?

    Al's Italian Beef. We often stop before hitting the highway out of town.
    #17
    ConeyIslandLou
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/03/19 06:42:35 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by JimInKy

    Those poutines do sound fantastic. While hand-cut french fries seem to be making a comeback (albeit a limited one), I doubt Americans will ever see them fried in beef or pork fat again.

    McDonald's French fries helped that company become the monolith it is today. Until 1990, their fries were cooked in a mixture of 93% beef tallow and 7% soybean oil. This is why they were so good and made that company so much money (one pound of McDonald's fries yields over $6 in sales). Their French fries are now fried in 100% vegetable oil, that has beef "natural flavor" added. And beef "natural flavor" is also added to the fries by the potato processors. Interesting, huh?





    That has always been the secret of Nathan's as well...they advertise 'The World's Greatest Hot Dogs',but its their hand cut fries that keep folks coming back!
    #18
    emsmom
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/04/06 13:44:04 (permalink)
    I like the fries at O Charleys. They always bring them out Hot and with a slight garlic pepper seasoning. These are really good.
    #19
    mrbailey
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/04/06 14:30:51 (permalink)
    I have a few and glad to see someone mention Nathan's, to me hands down the best FF of any fast food joint. Beats Mickey-D's by a mile.

    Anyways there is a steak house in Chester, NJ Sammy's. Great FF, cooked in the fat trimmings of the great steaks they serve. Gallagher Steakhouse in NYC are famous for their steak fries but they have a shoe string FF that to me is the real star. At the bar you can also get their fresh cut potato chips, still warm! There is a Gallagher's in Vegas at NY NY but I don't know if they use the same FF.

    Just around the corner from Gallagher's in Time Square a store opened up a few years ago that just sells FF with about 30 different toppings. It's a Belgian FF joint (sorry I can't remember the name) but you can't miss it if your walking in the Time Square area. FF are cooked per serving and served in a walk away cone.
    #20
    Willly
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/04/06 16:18:48 (permalink)
    I worked at McDonalds when we still loaded up the fryers with 50 lb. blocks of beef tallow. The fries were better then, and the oil lasted much longer than the vegetable stuff they use now.

    For another type of animal fat, I suggest reading Jeffrey Steingarten's "The Man Who Ate Everything." He has a whole section on French Fries and horse fat.

    In New York, I like Gallagher's fries and chips as well. The Corner Bistro also does great fries. The bacon for the burgers is deep fried (or used to be) in the fryolator used for the fries.
    #21
    BooBooMaGoo
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/04/07 18:29:55 (permalink)
    I would have to say,the best fries are at Knoebels Amusement Resrt in Elysburg, PA. Fresh cut and fried in peanut oil......you must top them with loads of salt and vinegar.
    #22
    bluetick
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/04/07 23:33:18 (permalink)
    In Memphis, the Young Ave. Deli in the Cooper-Young neighborhood offers some yummy fries. The staff used to wear T-shirts that boasted "Our fries kick your fries a$$". I am not sure what sort of oil they use, but they taste really good.
    #23
    bluetick
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/04/07 23:44:15 (permalink)
    I neglected to mention they are also fresh cut at the Young Ave. Deli.
    #24
    lleechef
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/04/08 02:04:50 (permalink)
    All time BEST fries........my former neighbor in France. They used to go through 100 kilos of spuds a month (220 pounds) and it was just Cristienne and Maurice and an occasional son that would stop by and eat. And me of course. (Pesky neighbor!) She hand-cut a variety of potato that was similar to a Russett (the name escapes me now) and would fry them in a 50/50 oil/lard combo (of course the "lard" part was generously donated by the pig that they had been fattening up and slaughtered...look out Bud!) that had been previously infused with bay leaf, garlic and thyme. Two fryings took place: first blanching them at 325, then cooling the fries on towels, then the final frying at 365 to crispy them up and brown them and serve em up hot. She was the Queen of French Fries which the folks in the North of France take VERY VERY seriously!! Hers were hot, crispy, tasted like potato, salty and had a delicious flavor from the lard and the garlic/herbs. Last time I was there,about 5 years ago, she still had not been more than 30 miles from their house, still had an outhouse and a wood stove that she cooked/heated on! And that big 'ol platter of "pommes frites" was still as delicious, no, maybe more, than the first time I had them in 1978!!
    #25
    emsmom
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/04/19 12:07:16 (permalink)
    My husband had a part time job at McDonalds while he was in college.
    35 years ago! Back then they used raw potatoes-with a little bit of the skin left on the potatoes. Gone are those days-now I am sure they use frozen potatoes.
    #26
    tfrielin
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/04/19 14:19:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by emsmom

    My husband had a part time job at McDonalds while he was in college.
    35 years ago! Back then they used raw potatoes-with a little bit of the skin left on the potatoes. Gone are those days-now I am sure they use frozen potatoes.


    I too worked at McDonalds in that time frame.

    And your hubby is right--here's how McDonald's made french fries when they meant something:

    You started by hauling a fifty pound sack of Russet potatoes from the basement. You put a bunch in a round container whose insides were coated with a rough material. The bottom of this cylinder was a turntable. You closed the lid on this thing and turned it on and it would spin the potatoes around, with the rough surface tearing most, but not all of the skin off. Then you'd open a chute and out they would tumble into a stationary tub.

    Then you stabbed them with a big fork thing and sliced them lenghtwise in a slicer--the fries were really long back then. Then you filled the tub up with water and washed them by hand. You then drained the tub and repeated that six times (yes--we really washed them six times!) Why wash them? And why six times you ask? To remove the starch, which if you didn't would make hem all stick together when you tried to fry them. After the first wash or two there would be a layer of starch half an inch thick on the bottom of the tub that you'd have to rinse away.

    Ok, then they were ready to fry, which you'd do using that wonderful beef tallow.

    But, since it took so long to make them as per above, and you wanted a supply ready to fry during the rush hours, so more often than not the french fry guy would blanch a bunch in boiling water so they wouldn't turn brown. This way, you could build up a supply for the rush times.

    Now that made for real french fries. I'm telling you kids today, you don't know what a decent french fry is. These were real fries and tasted great!

    Believe me, they were worth all that trouble.

    What McDonald's passes off for french fries today is a pathetic excuse--a betrayal of the proud old McDonald's french frying tradition. I swear if McDonald's brought back the original way they made french fries, they would rule the world!



    #27
    Zarathustra
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/04/29 04:01:09 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by jpatweb

    My all-time favorites are the twice-cooked frites sold from street carts in Belgium and Holland and served in paper cones.


    Pommes Frites in NYC serves fries Belgian style. It's on 2nd Ave. around the corner from St. Mark's in the NYU area. However, I've heard a rumor that it may have recently closed. Alas.
    #28
    RubyRose
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/04/29 08:38:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by efuery

    My favorite fries are the fresh-cut ones made at those traveling carnivals with lots of salt and malt vinegar-yum, yum. It's the only "fair food" i will eat beacuse they tase good enough to risk food poisoning.


    Yep, I'm a fan of "fair fries" too.
    #29
    metsfan6986
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    RE: Best Fries? 2004/04/29 10:50:14 (permalink)
    the best fries I 've had is Nathan's and Ben's Deli(a small chain on Long Island mainly with 2 stores in the city).
    #30
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