If you crave fries in San Francisco, Jasper's Corner Tap is a natural choice. But your decisions aren't over yet. Will it be thin, thick, or sweet potato? Do you try the smoked-paprika seasoning or a cheese curd-based poutine, or play it safe with sea salt? There's an entire menu devoted to customizable fries at your fingertips.
French fries are one of the true crowd-pleasers - a food that friends agree upon, that turns up at both five-star steakhouses and roadside dives, and that is familiar but can also surprise you. They can be cut thick or curly, cooked with or without skins, served Belgian-style in paper cones or in a parchment-lined basket with malt vinegar on the side. No matter how you slice it, the deep-fried spud is king.
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
It may be Friday the 13th, but there's nothing scary about today - it's National French Fry Day!
While its name would suggest we have France to thank for fries, that honor might actually belong to the country’s northern neighbor, Belgium. Because both nations speak French, the name mix up might have occurred when American World War I soldiers were moving through the smaller country and encountered pommes frites, or fried potatoes. Thomas Jefferson also had "potatoes served in the French manner" on a trip to Paris and brought the recipe home with him.
No matter the origin, it’s safe to say that fries are one of America’s most popular sides.
5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Editor's Note: Raised in Versailles, France, Dominique Crenn is now the executive chef of Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn in San Francisco.
French fries (or frites, as the French will say) are loved by many, including the queen herself, Julia Child, who once said, “Potatoes are strange animals.”
The French fry has a long history in the human diet. When I think of them, I recall my mother's crisp, perfectly salted, skin-on frites - never greasy, and made each Sunday with the Brittany-grown potato in my childhood home.
Because I grew up with what were surely the best and truest frites in the world, I tend to have very strong opinions on this matter, as admittedly, I have on many food matters. There will be no ordering of French fries anywhere unless I have done my homework. And just because an ingredient, like the potato, is “common” or humble does not mean that it should not be respected and cooked well.
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to get our grub on, we listen up.
When it comes to French fries, I’m pretty much a purist. I’m perfectly happy with the Thrice-Cooked Chips (translation: twice-fried fries) at New York City’s The Breslin. But for many, that’s way too simple. Let’s look at a few enterprising places that get creative with their fries.
Thrasher's French Fries, Ocean City, Maryland
"We have no catsup, because we don't want anything competing with the wonderful taste of the French fried potato," owner Buddy Jenkins has said.