Monday, May 16, 2005


French Fries

French fries rock. They are to me, the single greatest foodstuff. How can they NOT be? They perfectly compliment everything from fois gras or a bowl of steaming mussels, to a thick, juicy burger or a grilled cheese sandwich. French Fries are salty. French Fries are golden fried perfection. French Fries are the ultimate culinary transcendence. French Fries are heaven. French Fries are yummy.

My personal preference is for the long, thin, crispy on the outside, creamy/fluffy on the inside golden fry made from a total emersion in scalding hot oil. (Twice if you can.) If the oil is not hot enough, the fry is limp and soggy. That is something that may appeal strongly to the Brits and Australians (who call them chips anyway) but doesn’t cut the mustard with me. No limp fries please.

I don’t normally patronize fast food places, but in a former lifetime (career-wise) I had a hand in developing a major fast food chain’s new fry. (Yup, it was “developed”) and I still think that one is pretty damn fine. I also know that most people will say In N' Out makes LA’s greatest fries, but they aren’t to my taste. I find they are mealy and normally undercooked.

Besides, I am a lucky Fry-lovin' girl to have so very many outstanding places to choose from here in fantastic LA. So here is my not-nearly-exhaustive list of 10 of Los Angeles’ greatest fries.

Encounters Restaurant (Inglewood) Yes. That space age place at the airport. They do it right. Long, thin fries with just a touch of skin and a fantastic lemon-pepper shake at the end.

Hotel Bel Air (Bel Air) Why do you think I go there so often? Enormous Bowls of Truffled French Fries. Utter decadence. Just what a girl needs.

Hungry Cat (Hollywood) A little different from what I normally expect, since they seem so – pale, but the taste is divine. Very potato-y with a fluffy interior.

Fathers Office (Santa Monica) The fries are crisp on the outside, supremely tender inside, and properly salted. There isn’t a fry connoisseur in LA who doesn’t think these come close to the top of the list.

The Apple Pan (West LA) Delicious in their humbleness. Really just good old American French Fries to go with the unbeatable hickory burgers.

Falafel King (Westwood) The area has a lot of French fries, but these are the greasy best. Piping hot, crispy and well salted. Pretty much anything they fry here is going to be good. No ambiance, no service and no parking, and yet I return.

Surfdogs/Surf Liquor (Santa Monica, Main Street) These are the kind of fries that somehow ended up in batter before being fried, and are served from the back of a liquor store by a Korean couple. All that adds up to some seriously awesome fries.

Blue at The Avalon Hotel (Beverly Hills) The place itself is taking on a bit of wear and tear, but not the fries. Served hot and perfectly salted they make you crave just one more…

The Standard (Sunset Strip or Downtown) This uber-hipster coffee shop offers fries that make my heart sing.

Fred 62 (Los Feliz) Fries with a touch of skin still on, served in funky brown paper bag. Try them with their outstanding and spicy house made barbeque sauce. You have to specify crispy here, but they will do it perfectly when asked.


The largest producer of French fries in the world is McCain Foods Limited. They produce 1,000,000 pounds and hour in 30 potato-processing plants around the world.

"To french", means "to cut in thin lengthwise strips before cooking"

French Fries with mayonnaise is the national dish of Belgium

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