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Sep 15, 2007 12:33 PM

Chili cheese fries (with REAL cheese)

Hiya Folks,

This is my first post since moving to Chicago; of course it's a request and not a review (I'm very rude that way)! ;}

I'm looking for something that may not exist out here. My honey is already bitching about chili-cheese fries. He's gotta have 'em. We're from L A, if you are familiar with Tommy's or Carney's or The Hat in L A, you'll have an idea what we're looking for.

Does anyone make chili cheese fries with (in order of importance, 1 being most important):
1. Real cheese ie shredded cheddar.
2. Chili that is sort of a "chili con carne" or "tamale" style
3. Steak-cut fries.
4. Fries can be ordered well-done or come that way without having to ask.

Thanks in advance!


(ps, what's with the mosquitoes and cicadas?!)

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  1. Can't speak to the chili cheese fries, but personally I don't find the mosquitos worth eating, you just have to eat too many before you ever feel "full." Cicadas, on the other hand, are great raw, right off the tree, or for a real treat, sauteed in garlic & butter and served with jasmine rice.

      1. re: MDubbs

        Paradise Pup uses Merkt's, not the shredded Kiwi asked for. (They are good, though!)

        Not sure of any places that use shredded, but if somebody does, I'm sure they will post it...

        1. re: MDubbs

          Whoa, there's a picture on that website of their three layer fries. That looks reeeeaaally good. I'm sure they'd think I'm crazy to ask, but maybe they'll use cheddar instead of sauce. mmm bacon...

          1. re: kiwi

            Merkts is "real" cheddar. It just has a little cream added to make it spreadable. It is not a "sauce", just a softer cheese. There is nothing artificial about the stuff. Besides, once it is melted, what's the difference?

            1. re: Roger Spark

              I'm sure it's tasty stuff, but it isn't just cheese. I'd like real cheese, not a product that's made with real cheese. Your argument is like comparing avocados to avocado dip; similar but decidedly different. We're in the heart of dairyland; plain old delicious milk/rennet/salt cheese should be easy to come by, right?

              1. re: kiwi

                Cream Cheese is real cheese. That's like saying Colby-Jack isn't real cheese. It's a blend you might not like but it's real cheese. There are also plenty of high end cheese blends. If you don't like it, that's cool, but it's incorrect to say that it's not cheese.

                1. re: jpschust

                  I'll just put it this way, I would like my chili-cheese fries to be made with cheese not cheese spread.

                  1. re: jpschust

                    Merkt's is cold pack cheese food. There are other ingredients besides cheese in it. It contains cheese, but it is not technically able to be called "cheese" according to FDA labeling requirements. I never worked at Merkt's, but I grew up in Wisconsin and was a cheesemaker at a large dairy plant for 5 years after I graduated from high school. The cheese spread that we made there was made from trimmings (including floor sweepings, albeit a sanitized clean-room type floor) from the cutting room where the 40lb. blocks of cheddar and colby were trimmed into retail packages. The greatest amount of trim came from making so-called "longhorn-style" packs, where the square corners were cut off to make the cheese rounded. Various other "dairy products" were added to gain the consistency and flavor desired. I believe that Merkt's would be made from similar ingredients, but am not sure exactly which ones. Cream cheese is an unripened cheese, but a cheese nevertheless. Co-Jack (or Colby-Jack) is a real cheese that is made by simply mixing the Colby and Monterey Jack curds together as they are being salted and put into the hoops for pressing. But Merkt's is NOT cheese, although cheese is one of the ingredients in its manufacture.


                    1. re: YoYoPedro

                      Good point, though I was specifically talking about cc :)

                      1. re: jpschust

                        My bad, I thought you were lumping all 3 (cream cheese, Merkt's and Co-Jack) into the same CHEESE category.

                        1. re: YoYoPedro

                          Nope- Co-Jack was just being used as a blended example that real cheese may be a blend, when talking about the issue of cream cheese not being real cheese.

                          1. re: jpschust

                            Who said cream cheese isn't real cheese? Let me at 'em! ;-)

                      2. re: YoYoPedro

                        For what it is worth, read the ingredients. Merkts is made with Grade A aged cheddar cheese with a little water, cream and whey added to make it softer. That is it. I doubt it is made with floor-sweepings. I do, however, understand the original request. Soft cheese is not the same as shredded cheese, even if the cheese used as its primary ingredient is of a higher quality.


                        1. re: Roger Spark

                          All of our floor sweepings from the cutting room were Grade A or AA cheddar. Our cheese spread never showed "floor sweepings" in the ingredient list. But nevertheless, Merkt's is not the same as cheese. It can be very tasty, and for some people it may be judged neither better nor worse than real cheese, it is very cheese-like, but it is not cheese.

            2. I would highly recommend the Cheddar Chili fries at Wiener and Still Champion in Evanston. They make their own chili and use the Merkt's Cheddar.

              Don't ask for chili cheese fries or you will get the cheese sauce. Has to be Cheddar chili fries.

              Bacon Cheddar fries are good as well.

              There fries are pretty good by them selves as well.


              1 Reply
              1. re: nu_sue

                For cheese fries, you must go to Eleven City Diner in the south loop. It's located at 1100 south Wabash, and they have awesome cheese fries. They use "real" fact, when we ordered them, the owner came over to our table to chit chat and told us the cheese was melted Wisconsin cheddar. It was deliscious!!
                I am not sure about the "chili" part of your request, but the folks at Eleven City are extremely accomodating, and perhaps if you ask, they will add chili to the pile.

              2. I heartily second Weiner and Still Champion. Who else fries 'em twice?