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French Fries?

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Has anyone tried making their own fries at home?
I just read that Thomas Keller's Bouchon uses frozen fries, which I can't believe.

I just had them last week (I was up in Napa) and they were amazingly delicious, but I doubt they're frozen. I haven't seen their recipe in their cookbook yet, but Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook uses fresh potatoes...I guess it's more about how you cook them (the two step process).

Do you guys know if frozen fries are better or worse than fresh? Also, do you know of any french restaurants that use frozen fries? Also, where are the best fries you've tried in LA?

My answers to those questions: I think frozen fries (if Bouchon indeed does use them) aren't any worse than fresh, and might even be better. I think Cafe Beaujolais in Eagle Rock uses frozen, but they're still great. My favorite fries are at Jax Bar and Grill in Glendale, perfect with a burger and a glass of Stella or red wine. They're light, crispy, and well seasoned.

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  1. The frites at Josie Restaurant in Santa Monica are stellar, and if I recall, perfumed with a bit of truffle oil... And the fries at Gorikee that accompany their (lunch-only) burger, also done right (thin & crispy, festooned with shards of garlic confetti)...

    8 Replies
    1. re: silence9

      Agree about Josie's fries. Superb, with truffle oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

      1. re: silence9

        I found Josie's truffle fries revolting, greasy, and limp. Why put cold, strongly-flavored oil on something that has already been fried?

        1. re: Ernie

          Hi Ernie... There's no arguing with someone's tastebud or preferences, to be sure. BUT: many people actually enjoy dipping fries into strongly flavored garlic aioli, mayo, ranch dressing, peanut sauce, and catsup, etc... The long-gone-and-missed Benites Frites had many many strongly flavored sauces (some oil-based, like garlic mayo, and some cold, like flavored catsups), and the contrast of hot fries and cool, strongly flavored dips were quite the draw... And I won't even cite buffalo hot wings and cool bleu cheese dressing!

          1. re: silence9

            but if you want to dip fries into any flavoring except the truffle oil already on board, you have a mess, or worse!
            Basic fries, regardless of preparation, should be allowed to be accompanied by sauces as the customer chooses.

            1. re: carter

              OK, Carter, but I draw the line on dipping fries into chili-cheese paper cups!

              1. re: silence9

                Chili-cheese I never understand, but aioli, good catsup, and similar can be addicting!

            2. re: silence9

              I sometimes enjoy catsup and aioli, but the truffle oil is drizzled on the fries before it gets to you so you have no choice in the matter. I prefer fries that retain most of their potato flavor and not-strongly flavored oils

              1. re: Ernie

                I've never had truffle oil or truffles (aside from the chocolate variety), but I did start to think about garlic fries (after reading these comments), where the fries have already been fried, and then they are doused again with garlic butter, as if the original entry into oil was not enough. :) I have enjoyed these a few times, but then again, they do seem to be too greasy.

                I love extra salt on my fries. With fish and chips, malt vinegar and a squeeze of lemon is good too. Also, a good ranch dressing on the side, as a dip. Love it, although I know it's bad.

        2. I like the fries at Father's Office for its sweet potato fries. I like the fries at Big Mike's for their garlic fries.

          Frozen fries work well because the freezing process eliminates any water from the potato, resulting in a crispier fry.

          8 Replies
          1. re: SauceSupreme

            I agree 100% on the frozen fries; however, alot of the frozen fries used to be coated with partially hydrogenated oils - don't know if manufacturers still do this. Double-frying hand-cut russets will result in the crisp texture that most find appealing. Some even place towel-dried cut potatoes in the oven for a while before deep-frying them.

            1. re: bulavinaka

              Yup! Its all about how you fry them... both with fresh and with frozen..

              With Frozen you have the Langers of the world... with their perfect krinkle cut... and then you have every school cafeteria Krinkle Cut that tastes like plastic...

              Then there is Skoobys... Absoultely super fresh fries... super amazing... but then you have in and out super fresh that are gawd awful...

              --Dommy!

            2. re: SauceSupreme

              And i just had some pretty good hand-cut fries from Hungry Cat. Mmm... pug burger...

              1. re: SauceSupreme

                You really know how to hurt a guy... ;>

                1. re: SauceSupreme

                  Yeah, they are my second favorite fry... the first being Skoobys...

                  --Dommy!

                2. re: SauceSupreme

                  SauceSupreme, where is Big Mike's located?

                  Thanks in advance.

                  1. re: Norm Man

                    The one I know about is in El Segundo on Main, but I believe there's another one in Hermosa Beach, though I don't know where.

                  2. re: SauceSupreme

                    Father's Office has the best fries in town...granted, they are made from sweet potatos.

                  3. The Question - "Best Fries in L.A.?"

                    The Answer used to be - Beneties Frites in Santa Monica, then moved to Universal City Walk, then they disappeared. Why the Best? Because "ALL" they served was Fries, actually Belgian Frites, and what made them extra special was their 18 (?) dipping sauces. The dipping sauces are a critical component!!

                    The Answer now is - Where can I find good fries with a Good-to-Great sauce(s)? Well my current go-to-spot, in my area of town, is Philly's West which I order extra crispy and I consume them with amble helpings of their thick brown lip smacking-ish garlic sauce.

                    Philly West Bar & Grill
                    1870 Westwood Blvd., Westwood
                    (310) 474-9787

                    If you're a true Fries afficionado, you could go to Soliel's all-you-can-eat Mussels & Fries on Wednesdays for $14.95 (I have yet to go personally, and they need 24 hrs. advance notice - scroll to bottom):

                    http://www.soleilwestwood.com/events....

                    And if the Mussel broth isn't the perfect dipping condiment, then you could supplement your experiecnce with one of their other sauces on the side:

                    Olive Oil and Garlic - $0.00 ?
                    Garlic Butter - $0.00 ?
                    Marinara - $0.00 ?
                    Pink Sauce - $2.50
                    Garlic Cream, - $2.50
                    Alfredo - $2.50
                    Arabiatta (Spicy) - $2.50
                    Checca - $2.50

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: JBC

                      thanks for the tips! let's have some more!

                      1. re: risottoman

                        Cavet (reader beware) - I've eaten some of these and the rest are on the got-to-go-to list and I usually order them extra-crispy (also helps insure the insides are fully cooked):
                        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Would you be willing to drive a bit for ---> Cornet de frites, duo de sauces maison (portion of Belgian Frites with 2 different homemade sauces) - $5.00 ?
                        http://www.belgian-bistro.com/default...

                        French Fries with Garlic & Parsley - $7 --- with the following sauces available: Bearnaise, Lobster Bearnaise, Tamarind, Green Peppercorn, and Creamy Horseradish.
                        http://www.thejar.com/jar_menu.html

                        Are you a good negotiator with the man behind the Bar? Springbok (R.S.A.) Fries or Springbok Steak Fries are not listed as an individual order item. Sauces available: Peri Peri (very addicting to some), garlic mayo, Curry (spicy), Homemade Tartar, BBQ, and sweet chili.
                        http://www.springbokbar.com

                        How about a Eastern Mediterranean version, ordering:

                        #46 - Beef Kabob - $5
                        #48 - add fries - $2
                        #49 - Tahini or Garlic sauce - .75, 1.25, or $3.50
                        Hidden behind the counter - Green chili (grainy paste-like?) in a jar (mild +) - Free
                        http://www.sunnin.com

                        And while were in that part of the world - Batata Hama - French cut potato squares (actually the same size as standard fries) sauted in a spicy garlic & cilantro sauce (2nd from bottom):
                        http://www.al-cazar.com/hot_mezza.html

                        And while were in the valley, how about at one of Carter's favorite spots - Belgian Fries with homemade ketchup and garlic aioli - $6.50
                        http://www.maxrestaurant.com

                        1. re: JBC

                          And when I travel into the 323 a/c for dinner, I frequently aim for Carlito's Gardel and their overly addicting papas fritas provenzal, with a major dose of garlic and parsley. Not overly crispy, which suits me just fine, but oh the garlic and parsley combo really works!
                          http://www.carlitosgardel.com/appetiz...

                          hmmm - come to think of it, I need to get there soon.

                          1. re: carter

                            I have to agree on those Papas Fritas. Yum

                      2. re: JBC

                        I am a big fan of Philly West. I think their cheesesteak is as good as any, and I've posted that their burger is my favorite in town -- thick, chargrilled, served on the same roll, and only about 5 bucks. I have only shared the fries once and found them to be mediocre, a touch limp and pasty. But I didn't order them extra crispy or well done, as is my usual practice at most places.

                        Be aware, there is free parking behind Philly West. And it is a divy sports bar. Service is from the bartender, and can be better in the evenings with the big male and inconsistent at lunch with the female. But though they have denied it, the grilling is a bit better when the co-owner mans the kitchen during the day than when the younger Hispanic cook takes over at night.

                        1. re: JBC

                          You did not mention the BEST part of the $14.95 Mussel extravaganza which is that hot frites are brought to the table three or four times during the meal because the owner says you should only eat fries HOT. Last time we went we had four helpings of fries in a basket covered with a napkin. Really good and exemplifies the nice service this much underrated restaurant gives. Try their Tuesday night in March dinner (last time tomorrow night) for $7 meatball special. We missed it but thought it was a cute idea.

                          1. re: ZoeZ

                            Did you happen to notice that Soleil is now open for lunch Wed - Friday?
                            http://www.soleilwestwood.com/

                        2. A new arrival on the LA scene might be relevant to this topic: http://www.dolcegroup.com/ketchup/

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: chica

                            that looks really cool. those are prices are whew.

                            1. re: eatdrinknbmerry

                              Yes, and we know those prices are more likely than not to maintain the looks, too.

                          2. The Kitchen in Silverlake at Sunset and Fountain has fantastic fries. Skinny, crispy with a great balance of salt and a sprinkling of fresh herbs. Paired witih one of their burgers or their belgian beef stew and you have a good meal.

                            1. Jar -- with or without the Lobster Bernaise on the side.

                              1. Call me crazy, but I really like the fries at Cafe Pinot (with the Rotisserie Chicken) and the fries at Water Grill (that accompany the NY Steak).

                                For something more casual, I like the fries at Hi-Life Burger in South Pasadena, esp. with their ranch dressing.

                                1. Very much out of the French Fry mainstream, but very good, are the rather strange fries at Henry Moffett's chicken-pie place on Lakewood in Bellflower: well-seasoned (with some sort of salt/herb mix) and very tender, instead of crisp, and available with a cup of really good Green Goddess dressing as a dip. Probably the most out-of-the-ordinary fried potato presentation I've ever known about, much less tried, but oddly addictive.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    Hmmm... that's a nice twist... how are these in terms of oiliness?

                                  2. An unlikely source: The Abbey in West Hollywood, amazing fries.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: cleandaisy

                                      The onion rings at The Abbey are pretty good.

                                    2. How can it be that no one has mentioned the fantastic fries at Skoobys (Hollywood Blvd)? Whole potatoes, hand cut (they use a manual "press"), skins left on fries served with a garlic aioli.

                                      Brilliant.

                                      I also love the sweet potato fries at Father's Office, also at Cobras y Matadors.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: Maxmillion

                                        I've tried Skoobys a few times and always thought the fries were way over seasoned.

                                        1. re: rednyellow

                                          Nothing like sweet potato fries with some honey topped on it.

                                          1. re: risottoman

                                            Cooks Double Dutch
                                            9806 Washington Blvd.
                                            Culver City CA 90232

                                            Just had awesome sweet potato fries with very good savory seasoning ...the burger was damn good too ... give it a try.

                                          2. re: rednyellow

                                            The Skooby's in the South Bay has continuously pumped out amazing tasting fries

                                            1. re: Swoshmn

                                              Good to hear! My favorite Fries are Skooby's in Hollywood. I kept hearing the South Bay's were not up to Snuff...

                                              --Dommy!

                                            2. re: rednyellow

                                              I've only been once so far, but didn't find them too bad, and I am quite sensitive to too much salt. I especially love salt with fried potatoes, tho...

                                          3. I miss Benite's Frites...

                                            The Oinkster makes good Belgian fries...when they cook it thoroughly enough. The first time I had their fries, they were slightly undercooked (not inedible, just that you can tell they should have been fried for a little longer). The second time, they had a nice crispiness on the outside.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Normal Garciaparra

                                              Oinkster's fries can be spot on, or very off. Overcooked or undercooked..
                                              but generally, I like their contrast to classic french fries.

                                            2. Blair's on Rowena is my pick for the best fries in LA. Wow, are they good. I have no idea if they are fresh or frozen. I do know I am NOT partial to In-And-Out fries, which are fresh. Maybe it is the oil, who knows. They do not get crispy enough on the outside, even when asked to make them so. Try Blair's. They are so good.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: Tom P

                                                I suspect the problem with In-N-Out fries is that they are only fried once, not blanched in low temperature oil, allowed to cool and drain, and then crisped in high temperature oil immediately before serving. This twice cooking process is the way to go for top notch fries. (And, as it happens, the time required to cool and drain a large batch of fries is almost exactly the same amount of time required to deep fry a turkey and then bring the large pot of oil back up to temperature!)

                                                1. re: Tom P

                                                  I have had great success ordering fries at In n Out EXTRA well done. Like little golden potato sticks. Yum.

                                                  1. re: Oh Robin

                                                    That turn hard as plastic 10 minutes out of the frier... no thank you...

                                                    --Dommy!

                                                    1. re: Dommy

                                                      Not in my experience at the In n' Outs in Long Beach. Just golden little morsels perfect for heavy ketchupping.

                                                      --Oh Robin!

                                                      1. re: Oh Robin

                                                        Actually I lived in Long Beach and went to that branch several times with friends who dared order the fries... I'd leer at them when placing the order and almost all of them ended up agreeing with me at the end of the meal... :x

                                                        --Dommy!

                                                2. The fries made by The Hitching Post in Buellton are outstanding. I believe they are made using duck fat.

                                                  1. Hate to tell you but most restaurants use frozen fries. Nothing wrong with them, they're still potatoes. I worked for many years for a high end chain in LA and we bought both frozen and non-frozen fries and there was no noticeable difference.

                                                    Making your own is more involved than just cutting a potatoe and deep frying it.

                                                    The potatoe makes a difference and depending on the time of year the sugar content in the potatoe will determine how well it will fry up. Then you need to cut your potatoes and soak them in cold water to drain off the excess starch. Towel dry them. Commercially prepared fries are quickly blanched (mentioned by poster below).

                                                    Personally I always ask for "well done" fries...nothing worse than a soggy limp fry. Ask for them well done at In & Out and you will notice a big difference in their texture and they're going to be freshly prepared for you.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: monku

                                                      Dead right about frozen fries. Morel's at The Grove serves good frites with various plates (the burger great, other things not so great) and even as my wife were having lunch one day and talking about how good the fries were, in strolls a deliveryman with large crates marked "French Fries" -- okay, so even frozen fries can be good sometimes.....

                                                      As for home cooking them, you're right on -- soaking them and then a quick blanching, with cooling and then a final frying makes all the difference -- they beat almost anything you can get dining out. Not that tough to do, though a little labor intensive, but worth it. (Peanut oil seems to wotk best for us at home.) Closest I've come to homemade fries when dining out is Jar. (My home recipe is from Bourdain's Le Halles cook book.)

                                                      1. re: BHAppeal

                                                        I'm against all kind of deep frying in the home (messy), but I agree on the peanut oil-higher smoking point.

                                                        I got Bourdain's Le Halles cook book and wish someday to get there to try out the fries-he's always raving that he has the best fries in the world.

                                                        1. re: monku

                                                          I agree on the messiness of deep-frying at home - the two exceptions I make are for french fries and croquettes... been seriously thinking about investing in a deep fryer...

                                                          The one place I truly enjoy a large basket of relatively cheap fries that are pretty darn good - along with their cold draft beers and decent burgers - is Islands. They use peanut oil as well, and I like combining their seasoned salt with the ketchup for dipping.

                                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                                            thankfully no one has mentioned large fries, like steak fries, which I really don't like. What about those tiny little fries like at spanish restaurants? I recently had some at Cesar (in the Bay area). They're more like potato chips than fries, so I don't like them too much.

                                                            Oh, have you guys had the fries at Dino's (ghetto chicken place on Pico)? When that vinagery sauce mixes with the fries it is heavenly.

                                                            1. re: risottoman

                                                              I enjoy all fries, as long as they aren't soggy and oily... but those that you mention at Dino's almost sound like fries with a vinagrette/hot sauce? I can get into that as well...

                                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                Hmm Dinos, I was once there on a Saturday at noon waited on line for about 10 minutes, wow was that a feast for the senses.. I the chicken was good but those fries were somewhat addictive, even though they were not well done. I might ask for them that way next.. got me thinking I amy have to go this Saturday. I was there at an off time during the week and iw was not as good, the chicken was just sitting there kind of limp and cold. On a Saturday you can spot the place by the smoke comming out of the top of the building..

                                                    2. Pete's Cafe downtown LA has good fries; you can get plain crispy shoestrings or fries with different topings, e.g. cheese and bacon, blue cheese, chipotle seasoning, etc.

                                                      1. I second the rec for the duck fat fries at Bin 8945. Yummy. I'm probably a glutton because I can eat the whole order.

                                                        For fast food fries, I like the "fat fries" at Fat Burger. Usually go the westwood or santa monica promenade locations. Its nice that they offer several types of fries.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Senor Popusa

                                                          It just goes to show that fresh is not always better. Take In-N-Out for instance, which deep fries the potatoes right after cutting them. They don't compare to fries that are blanched and then frozen that you can get at the supermarket .

                                                          1. re: david t.

                                                            I couldn't agree more; unfortunately, I don't think this will ever change. Most eaters there are fine with this, and alot of people think that frying them longer will fix the problem. Slice, rinse, pat-dry, freeze, pat-dry again, fry, let moisture steam out, and then fry again - my version of the perfect "simple" fry. A seemingly basic side is actually not so basic if you want it done right.

                                                        2. Just to chime in on the "fry" topic. These are not potato but I think you'll be glad to try the avocado fries at 3 Square Cafe. If you like avocado like I do, these are yummy and in my opinion, addictive.

                                                          Enjoy :)

                                                          1. I gained 2 pounds reading this thread (sigh).

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: mc michael

                                                              Try the fresh,homemade (but large) fries at JR's Barbecue on LaCienega near Washington - they're fabulous. The BBQ is better than good too.

                                                              A couple of other odd fry choices: Nathan's (hot dogs) on Pico just East of Beverly and South Street, a philly cheese steak place in Westwood Village.

                                                              1. re: Jeryy

                                                                I made my own fries last Saturday. Turned out pretty well, but it's a pain in the butt to make unless you have a deep fryer (just used a large pot instead..)

                                                            2. NATURE's WAY CAFE in Westwood. I cannot believe how amazing these fries taste but the more amazing thing is that there is NO GREASE b/c they are NOT FRIED!!!

                                                              They taste/look very similar to McDonald's fries w/out the bad stuff. They call them "air fries" and have something near the cash register that talks about the process in which they are made, but I always forget to read it. Anyway, best fries in LA hands down not just for taste, but for health!

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: waterisgood

                                                                Good air fries also at Jack Sprat's (on Pico E of Overland). This place has been erratic over the last few years (especially since a split in the former management team) but our most recent meal there was pretty good, the service a little less distracted than usual, and the air fries seem to remain the one constant, still quite tasty (and they have sweet and spicy mustards on the table for dipping along with ketchup).

                                                                1. re: waterisgood

                                                                  I had air fries at this veggie fast-food place in Pasadena called Orean's. They tasted exactly like the tater tots served in the LA Unified School District cafeterias, back in elementary school. I don't mean this as a insult. I used to love those tater tots; it's just I haven't had anything like them in years. Even the smell was exactly like the smell of those tater tots.

                                                                2. After repeated visits, I now proclaim Hungry Cat's fries as my favorite, no matter the category. Haute enough to be in the running in the gourmet category, simple enough to be in the running for the "regular" stuff.

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                    Hungry cat is really schizo about their fries. Some nights they are EXCELLENT. Other nights they are a limp mess. The only constant EXCELLENT fries I've had are from Scoobys... my current king of fry goodness... :D

                                                                    --Dommy!

                                                                    1. re: Dommy

                                                                      Love Scooby fries. Yum!

                                                                      1. re: bite bite

                                                                        What about the fries at the Brentwood Country Mart (Reddi Chick)? Love the seasoned salt on top!!!

                                                                        1. re: handlertaper

                                                                          The home-made fries at Irv's Burgers in West Hollywood ALWAYS satisfy my french fry jones. Sprinkle a little white vinegar and salt on 'em and drift away into pure pleasure. They are NOT frozen -- check out owner Sonja's collection of silly potatoes on the counter.

                                                                          Also, there's something extremely weirdly great about the BRICK of "fries" I sometimes get at Oki Dog on Fairfax/Waring in WEHO. Addictive but excpetionally greeeeeeeaaaaasssssy.

                                                                          I'll second Island's fries -- with their ranch dressing, served with some of those silly vegetarian soft tacos, that's my idea of a good affordable lunch.

                                                                          Edited to add: The fries with brown gravy at The Hat in Pasadena are an old-skool treat!

                                                                          1. re: CucumberBoy

                                                                            went to the hat.. the order of fries is so big it can feed 4 people. the onion rings rock.. thought the fries were so so..

                                                                            1. re: Foodandwine

                                                                              The only fries I order at The Hat are the Wet Fries!

                                                                              1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                I like the fries at the following places
                                                                                -Oinkster because of the crispiness and home made ketchup
                                                                                -Blairs French fries
                                                                                -Those crinkle cut fries that are crisp but soft on the inside at Langers
                                                                                -Those purple potatoes at Jar arent bad either

                                                                  2. +1 re: Carlitos Gardel

                                                                    But, the best fries in L.A.... Carnival in Sherman Oaks. Yup. Amazing.