It’s National French Fry Day, a significant date on the Calendar of Feasts. Let us bow our heads in thanks. Let us hand-cut and double-fry henceforth. Let us vow to snag potatoes from the takeout window nevermore – and why should we, when we have the magnificent french fry options below. If you are ever in California, please check these french fry places out.
Ooey Gooey Fries
Is Chego primarily known as a place to try Roy Choi’s baroque rice bowls? It is. But in the minor masterpiece known as Ooey Gooey Fries, Choi’s crew hits the crisp, beer-battered potatoes with melted cheese, sour cream pushed pink and funky by spicy Indonesian sambal, and handfuls of both chopped chiles and roasted garlic cloves. Wash it down with a Jarritos tamarindo and head to the gym. 727 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, eatchego.com.
Carne Asada Fries
Have you ever seen a plate of carne asada fries? If done properly, the dish is an awesome assemblage, a totem of unspeakable desires — a football-size construction of guacamole, gobs of melted cheese and a mound of French fries that seems to reach halfway to the ceiling, paved with double handfuls of well-charred pellets of grilled beef, crunchy and oozy and spicy and impossibly rich. The dish, a San Diego creation hawked in the Los Angeles area by pretty much every restaurant whose name ends in “bertos,” may reach its highest local peak at My Taco in Highland Park. 6300 York Blvd., Highland Park, (323) 256-2698.
Death By Duck
French fries in general signal a certain lack of restraint – nobody has ever plowed through a sack thinking that he or she was consuming health food. But the least restrained fries of all are perhaps this unhinged creation from Beer Belly in Koreatown, which is to say fries sizzled in pure duck fat, dusted with smoked salt and smacked with a handful of crunchy duck confit teased apart into individual fibers. Will you have Lipitor with that or will the generic be fine? 532 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 387-2337.
Remember M.I.A.? The militant rapper? The woman whose career was more or less derailed when she appeared to be enjoying an uptown plate of truffle fries ordered by the woman who was interviewing her at the time? Perhaps if she had eaten them at Slaw Dogs instead, a stand that uses industrial truffle oil as a means to render garlicky parmesan fries even more garlicky, she might have been able to avoid the controversy. If truffle fries weren’t her thing, she could have gone for the kim chi sweet potato fries instead. 720 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena, (626) 808-9277.
Pigg, tucked inside downtown’s Umamicatessen, is a pork-intensive side project of San Francisco’s Chris Cosentino, widely considered to be the most offal-loving chef in America. (The last time I was in his San Francisco restaurant, I had raw tripe in salsa verde, which elsewhere I probably wouldn’t have eaten on a dare.) So if you want your fries with a side of X-treme, you should probably try the Pigg-style fries, which are moistened with pickled Italian peppers, dotted with pink smears of pureed ham and sluiced with a concoction of whipped pig’s brains that Cosentino calls Brainaise. Poutine will never look the same to you again. 852 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 413-8626, umamicatessen.com.
By Jonathan Gold