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The Great French Fry Debate

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I have no idea why, but I've been loving my french fries lately. How about a survey, about the best? Either in LA or OC (I'm in South/Central OC). Four categories:

1) Fast Food

2) Shoestring/thin cut

3) Steak Cut

4) Specialty (i.e. chili)

Looking forward to the debate!

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  1. Home made: fried twice, drained on Trader Joe's paper bags, sprinkled with kosher salt.

    Otherwise, fastfood, hands down. Burger King: light and crispy outside, light and just a little airy inside.

    3 Replies
    1. re: slacker

      Sounds good. That's funny because I was eating BK's when I thought about posting out here. Thanks.

      1. re: elheffe99

        The Peruvian chain Inka Grill has good sweet potato fries. And, yes, all fries need to be fried twice. Sometimes three times, but only if the first time was when they were lightly fried before getting frozen and shipped to your favorite local fast food joint.

        Link: http://ocmexfood.blogspot.com/

      2. re: slacker

        Yeah -fried twice - so much more flavor, crunch, and they keep alot longer... Do that with almost all of my deep-fried foods... also like mixing seasoned salt or hot sauce in with the ketchup!

      3. 1) Fast Food: I am with you on Burger King! But I also love In N Out fries. Depends on my mood.
        2) Thin cut/specialty: Truffle oil fries at Josie.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Nicole

          Where is Josie?

          1. re: elheffe99

            Josie is a finer dining restaurant on the eastern border of Santa Monica, on Pico blvd (just a block or so east of Cloverfield). Very generous portion of truffle (oil) fries, but they're pricey as french fries go...

            1. re: silence9

              I remember them being pricey for fries, but inexpensive for a side dish in a nice restaurant. What I mean is, they are relatively inexpensive, given an expensive menu. Josie is at 2424 Pico.


              1. re: Nicole

                i'm presuming it's 7 or 8 bucks for a side order?

                1. re: kevin

                  I think it's 7, but I can't remember for sure. But I do remember that the "side" order is huge.

        2. 1) FatBurger, California Fish Grill

          2) Houston's

          3) n/a

          4) n/a

          Link: http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

          1 Reply
          1. re: elmomonster

            Sounds like Park Place is the place to go!

            Link: http://ocmexfood.blogspot.com/

          2. In N Out

            The Counter's sweet potato fries and shoe string fries

            1. Burger King and Jack in the Box for french fries (in the case of the latter, I like their seasoned curly fries). Great garlic and parsley fries at Jar. I know there are more out there, but that's what comes to mind right now.

              1. I'm sure I'll get flamed but I do like McDonald's frys

                12 Replies
                1. re: Scott

                  Not by me, you won't.

                  McD's fries were better back when they were still cooked in beef fat years ago. But they're still much better than the competition.

                  I'm frankly surprised that anyone likes the fries at Burger King. To me, they taste like a petroleum product ever since they started using those "coated" fries.

                  And there's a very weird, non-potato flavor going on with the fries at Jack 'n' the Box.

                  In 'n' Out's are just wretched because of the lack of double cooking. Absolutely inedible, as far as I'm concerned.

                  Lucky Boy on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena serves up some very good fries. They're of medium thickness, which I think is the best for achieving the proper texture. They're never undercooked. And they don't even get soggy on the ride home. I can usually stick them into the warm oven when I get home, and they'll be good eating for at least an hour. It's remarkable how well they hold up and keep their crispness, without getting dried out.

                  1. re: Jack Flash

                    That reminds me of the french fries they used to serve at Carl's Jr. about 20 years ago. I don't even think they were potato. It was like a fried case with nothing inside. Super crunchy but nothing inside. Of course I was a kid so what did I care.

                    1. re: elheffe99

                      As a kid, I hated Carl's Jr. fries. I didn't care much for gourmet food, but I did NOT like Carl's fries. They've gotten better, but still nothing great.

                      1. re: pinkshch

                        I loved those Carl's Jr. fries from years ago! Crispy and very potatoey. Maybe I like fried mashed potatoes. :) So sad when they changed to conform.

                        1. re: slacker

                          Yep! I remember walking from school to the CJ's in westwood for those. :-)

                          Also R.I.P. All American Burger steak fries

                          1. re: AAQjr

                            Oh man you went and brought up All American Burger. I still get tears in my eye walking into the Coffee Bean (as much as i love it) and thinking about everyone at All American Burger.

                            Fantastic fries from what i can remember. How's the spot on Sunset? Looks pretty shady.

                        2. re: pinkshch

                          many, many years ago , i worked at carls - those fries freaked me out - from what i remember, they were pellets, put in a machine that turned them into a mash potato like substance - much thicker and starchier, then pressed out into fries, then we fried them up - weird stuff !

                          1. re: kj

                            I did my time at Carls as well, and yep, they were dyhydrated or freeze dried pellets, something like that. They went in like that at one end of the machine, were somehow reconstituted, and came out the other end, french fries...

                            Weird, but good stuff.

                        3. re: elheffe99

                          It was a processed, extruded potato product... kind of like fried mashed potatoes...

                          1. re: elheffe99

                            Yes, those were great fries. Need to petition Carl's Jr to bring them back.

                            1. re: aquascuba

                              I agree completely. They were tasty and crunchy.

                              Bring back 1970s-era Carl's fries.

                          2. re: Jack Flash

                            Luck boys have the best fries...order them with the chili and cheese....I tell you what you will be i heaven, until the heart burn sets in.

                        4. 1. McDonald's, yeah, can't help it.

                          2. Best yet has been Bistro de la Gare, the first time I ordered their version of Steak Frites. Huge mound of the crunchiest. Second time, smaller pile, not so great. Guess I need to try again ;-)

                          3. Tossup: Hamburger Hamlet on a good day, or Brit's. My favorite variety, actually.

                          4. I don't consider this a category so much as a mistake...

                          1. 1. Fast food: MCDONALD'S

                            2. Shoestring: PEEE'S CAFE (www.petescafe.com
                            3. Steak cut: EDWARD'S STEAD HOUSE (www.edwards-steakhouse.com
                            4. Specialty: CANADIAN CAFE'S Poutine Fries

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ipse dixit

                              Pete's looks good. Any comments on any of the other menu items?

                              1. re: elheffe99

                                Can't go wrong with the Hellman Burger.

                                The bleu cheese fries are also deadly, proceed with caution.

                            2. I like the French Fries at Islands.

                              They aren't really shoe string and they aren't really steak fries. They do come in a big basket, enough for a whole table to have some. Well seasoned, IMO, and just the right crispyness.

                              I also like the fries at a place called The Slice in Santa Monica. I eat in there constantly, because it's across the street from where my kids play ball and practice both baseball and soccer.

                              They have really good french fries. They also do a specialty pizza fries with pizza sauce and melted cheese. Kids love them. I like them with just the sauce.

                              (Slice also does really good, really hot chicken wings. I order the "boneless wings." But that's another thread.)

                              Sweet potato fries at Metro Diner were good, too. Is that a specialty fry?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: PaulF

                                I second the fries at Island's. Just the right texture.

                                Also the best fast food fries are at In N Out.

                                1. re: JR

                                  By law, each basket of Islands fries is to be accompanied by many beers in frozen mugs...

                              2. Fast Food: Del Taco

                                Shoestring: Cafe Angelique

                                Krinkle-cut: Langers

                                Steak Fries: Don't like them, no preference

                                Specialty: Top's chili fries

                                1. to me it does not make any sense to have fried food with more calories than anything on the planet unless its worth it and there is only one place that is worth it - Jar, period, end of story

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Kurt

                                    Jar's fries are good. The fries that come with the steak-frites at Michael's are better, fried in pure beef fat.

                                  2. 1) Fast Food = Benites Frites

                                    2) Shoestring = Benites Frites

                                    3) Steak Cut = Benites Frites

                                    4) Specialty = BENITES FRITES !!!!!!!!

                                    HANDS DOWN! NO CONTEST! PERIOD!

                                    Oh Benites Frites where have you gone?

                                    Won't someone out there PLEASE bring them back to us?!

                                    Link: http://www.surfsantamonica.com/ssm_si...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: JBC

                                      That's where I learned to add malt vin to ketchup. sauce andaluce (sp) yum.

                                    2. Fast Food: Skooby's!

                                      Shoestring: Spring Street Smokehouse or 25 degrees

                                      Steak Cut: Yuck!

                                      Specialty: No comment

                                      Link: http://chowhoundsucks.blogspot.com

                                      1. IMHO.....almost all fries at most places will taste better if you ask for them well done and that includes IN & OUT.

                                        1. shoestring: cafe r and d
                                          steak: fatburger
                                          speciatly: HITCHING POST in buelton.
                                          another speciality" fuddrucker's, but those may be considered potatoer wedges.

                                          1. I am a fan of Nick & Stefs' garlic fries.

                                            For chili fries, heavy on the ground meat, we like Frosty Queen in Granada Hills (order with Cheese and Onions, if that appeals to you).

                                            1. 1. Shoestring - Chat Noir/French 75
                                              2. Steakcut - pass
                                              3. Specialty- Albertos Carne Asada fries- uhhh

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. curly fries = pommes de pubes

                                                1. 1. I'll go off the board here...Chicago's Best in Irvine (food court on Main betw Jamboree and Von Karmann). Fresh cut fries that when not undercooked are the best around. Note: can't understand the love for BK fries at all...McD's is still FF chain champ.

                                                  2. 2 great ones here...the best is Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse in Trabuco Canyon. Close behind is Houston's.

                                                  3. Wish I had one for you here but can't come up with one.

                                                  4. Tulsa Potatoes at Tulsa Rib Company in Orange. Kind of a cross betw a french fry and a potato chip fried in oil with butter and garlic and parsley and who knows what else. An order of these with TRC's BBQ sauce is one of the more addicting things on the planet.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: RSMBob

                                                    Thanks these are all places close to where I work and live....I'll make sure to check them out.

                                                  2. 1) Fast Food: sorry, can't say

                                                    2) Shoestring/thin cut: suzy qs at mo's in toluca lake or at Hampton's on Highland in LA. (Can anyone tell me if Hampton's is still in business)

                                                    3) Steak Cut: Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset & Doheny or French Quarter in WeHo on Santa Monica. Both ofcourse well done!!

                                                    4) Specialty (i.e. chili): That's tough. DIsclaimer: I am not saying that Tommy's has the best chili cheese fries, I am just saying that the fries under their chili and cheese are the best. Well done ofcourse!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: kiwi

                                                      Unfortunately, Hampton's is gone (replaced with the Hampton Place townhomes)--here's a link someone archived: http://www.seeing-stars.com/Dine/Hamp...

                                                    2. skooby's !! - fast food

                                                      ketchy's!!!! - fast food (krinkle cut)

                                                      the Wild Hare - bar food

                                                      1. Blair's in Silverlake has the best fries in town. I also had some great cumin fries at Traxx Tuesday night.

                                                        1. This doesn't really fit specifically into any of the categories, but the Chipotle Ranch fries from Trader Joe's are amazing! Spicy, crunchy, and low-cal (baked).... soooo good! It's not the fries so much as the sauce, but together, a great combo!

                                                          1. OK, after much consideration, here are my thoughts:

                                                            (1) fast food - McDonald's.

                                                            (2) shoestring/thin - I don't like really thin shoestrings such as the ones served at Housont's; it's impossible to get the texture correct because they're just too thin. Nothing thinner than a McD's fry, and I like 'em thicker than that (but not steak cut). So, with those qualifications, my "thin" cut choice...a three-way tie between Apple Pan, Pie 'n' Burger, and Lucky Boy. No need to order them crispy or well-done at Lucky Boy.

                                                            (3) steak cut - Hamburger Hamlet.

                                                            (4) specialty - chili fries at Carney's. But if the traditional fries cooked the proper way (twice-cooked in beef fat) at Hitching Post in Buellton qualify as specialty (thanks to Kevin below for the reminder on this one), that's my pick.

                                                            1. Great Cnetral Hoagie Steak in Ventura. Fresh cut, piping hot in a brown paper bag.

                                                              1. 1. micky d's
                                                                2. shoestrings at arroyo chophouse - ordered extra crispy
                                                                3 - don't like
                                                                4. damn - had great garlic fries - just can't remember where it was - i believe it was a steakhouse but i'm drawing a blank !!

                                                                1. Garlic fries at Ruby's

                                                                  1. Garlic fries at Carlito's Gardel on Melrose just west of Fairfax - total addiction!

                                                                    1. 1) Fast Food
                                                                      Islands, if the fries are well done

                                                                      2) Shoestring/thin cut
                                                                      Gorikee in Woodland Hills. They make perfect shoestring fries with a light dusting of spices. The perfect accompaniment to their Wimpy Burger.

                                                                      3) Steak Cut
                                                                      eeew! I hate steak cut fries.

                                                                      4) Specialty (i.e. chili)
                                                                      Garlic fries at Carlito Gardel (doused with chimichurri)

                                                                      1. Skooby's fries are really great if you are like me and like the real thing - fresh cut, twice fried.

                                                                        Mass market, fast food fries are disgusting - stay away from that junk.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: spankbot

                                                                          The fries I got at Skooby's were the burnt small leftovers from the bottom of the grease.

                                                                        2. Cheesecake Factory for Shoestring

                                                                          JAR for expensive, but to die for seasoned shoestring

                                                                          And yes, McDonalds, with salt and ketchup. Happy Holidays. : )

                                                                          1. TED'S in Laguan Hills Wonderful Fries and Huge...

                                                                            1. NOt really following the categories, but knowing what I like...

                                                                              I love McD's fries with Sweet and Sour sauce. I use to get the Super Size (when they use to have it) and make it my whole meal.

                                                                              Del Taco's with extra salt, no ketchup.

                                                                              King's Fish House has great Shoestring fries, which is the Lamb and WEston Private Reserve.

                                                                              Hedley's on Robertson in Weho has phenomenal sweet potato fries served with garlic mayo.

                                                                              I also like El pollo Loco's fries.

                                                                              Boardwalk Fries (when they had retail outlets in CAli) were great, blanched once in 325 degree oil, then finished at 375 right before serving. I had 'em with malt vinegar and seasoning salt. YUm. Boardwalk Fries comeback.

                                                                              1. I like the seasoned fries at Rally's. Either that, or fries well done from In-N-Out

                                                                                I love the fries at Barney's Beanery.

                                                                                My favorite specialty fries are the sweet potato fries from either Father's Office or Cobras and Matadors.

                                                                                1. 1) Fast Food - McDonald's and Fatburger (skinny fries)

                                                                                  2) Shoestring/thin cut - nothing memorable

                                                                                  3) Steak Cut - Hamburger Hamlet

                                                                                  4) Specialty (i.e. chili) - a toss up between Carney's chili cheese fries, Jar and Bin 8945 (fried in duck fat, incredible)

                                                                                  1. Yam fries at BRENT's. They were not on the old menu but they may be on the new menu, I didnt check when I was there recently.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                                                                      1) fatburger
                                                                                      2) yardhouse
                                                                                      3) fries at red robin (the burgers suck but the fries are delish!)
                                                                                      4)chili cheese fries from the hat, garlic fries from gordon biersch, carne asada fries from this taco shop off johnson in el cajon, san diego

                                                                                    2. For value/tastiness ratio, I recommend Daglas Burgers on the corner of Vanowen and Winnetka in the Valley. For around 5 bucks they literally fill a cafeteria tray full of seasoned fries along with a decent charburger, and a 32 oz Pepsi. I believe the fries are of the freshly cut and seasoned variety rather than frozen.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: sumo10

                                                                                        I'll vouch for the fries at Daglas Burgers; definitely the best fries in the west SFV. They are absolutely of the fresh cut variety. Sometimes they use a bit too much seasoning salt, but I'm sure you can ask them to go easy on the salt. Visited Daglas yesterday for the first time in a couple years and the fries were as good as ever.

                                                                                      2. mmmm. french fries.....

                                                                                        1. Fast Food - Fatburger. McDonald's in a pinch. E-Z Take out Burger if you are in the 909. (They have some weird seasoning on them. possibly MSG? MSG-Delicious!)
                                                                                        2. Skinny Fries - see above. still searching, but tend not to order fries at a "real" restaurant!
                                                                                        3. Steak fries - ew.
                                                                                        4. Specialty Fries - Pete's Bleu Cheese Fries and Chili Cheese fries from The Hat. The chili fries at Islands are pretty good too.

                                                                                        1. 1. Big Joe's on Broadway (west of 26th a few blocks). Piping hot, cheap and just thick enough. (Cash only) McDonalds followed by In N Out - while I second the "well done" style as sometimes the regular way are not quite done, they are incredibly greasy.

                                                                                          2. The best skinny fries I ever had were actually sweet potato fries. If you see them on the menu anywhere, order them, but only the skinny kind. A great sweet/salty mix.

                                                                                          3. Steak fries? No.

                                                                                          4. Benitas on the SM Promenade.

                                                                                          While it doesn't exactly fit any category, the seasoned fries at 14 Below/Over Under on SM and 14th in SM are great. Be sure to get them with their buttermilk ranch dressing.

                                                                                          1. I *heart* Jar fries. They are the best and they taste even better when they are dipped in Lobster Bernaise. Man, I wish I had a sitter tonight...

                                                                                            1. 1.) The Great Steak n Potato

                                                                                              2.) connals.com

                                                                                              3.) McCormick n Schmicks Bar Fries (but everything else sucks)

                                                                                              4.) Garlic Fries at Gordon Biersch

                                                                                              1. Shoestring cut: Taix on Sunset near Echo Park. Usually perfect!

                                                                                                1. Best french fries in CA is Mastros Steak House. They are PERFECT. Jars in West hollywood is way up there.

                                                                                                  1. Steak Fries: Canters, as long as they aren't overcooked.

                                                                                                    1. Fast food: McDonald's (supersize me)

                                                                                                      Shoestring: The Counter

                                                                                                      Steak Fries: yuck

                                                                                                      Specialty fries: the airbaked fries with carmalized ketchup at Jack Spratt's on Pico and Overland. "Healthy" fries. I use the term healthy very loosely.

                                                                                                      Damn, I'm on Atkin's... what am I doing on this thread?

                                                                                                      1. whatever fries you choose - dip em in a chocolate shake!!

                                                                                                        1. Cajun Chef (Santa Rosalia and Stocker) for potato french fries with creole spice and sweet potato fries, served with andouille dipping sauce. Soungs gross, tastes good.

                                                                                                          Jar does fries well. They do any kind of potatoes well-especially those purple small ones served with cream.

                                                                                                          1. Oh God, it's been four years since I've had a french fry!

                                                                                                            I swear, when I go for a burger, fries and onion rings (sometime this year) I'm gonna go for the BEST combo of all I can find. The Counter, maybe?

                                                                                                            Thenk I can wait another 4 years.

                                                                                                            1. these are more fyi - good to great, depending on mood.

                                                                                                              John O'Groats makes a great french fry - served with the fish and chips, had them for the first time and they made an impression.

                                                                                                              Dolores's on Santa monica near the nuart - try their style.

                                                                                                              1. tough one...

                                                                                                                1) I go back and forth between CJ's criss cut fries and Jack in the Box's curly fries.

                                                                                                                2) Fathers Office

                                                                                                                3) Meh

                                                                                                                4) Wow. Garlic fries at Big Mikes. Garlic Fries at Nick & Stef's. Cheese Fries at Islands.

                                                                                                                1. For shoestring, Beechwood has amazing frites.

                                                                                                                  1. 1) McDonalds/In & Out tie

                                                                                                                    2) Bandera

                                                                                                                    3) Musso & Frank, with a porterhouse and a side of their very old school BĂ©arnaise

                                                                                                                    4) Tommy's chili fries

                                                                                                                    1. 1) Jack in the Box regular fries (before they changed them) dipped in their ranch dressing

                                                                                                                      2-3) Fatburger near Los Feliz Village (get an order of both shoestring and steak cut) :)

                                                                                                                      4) Don't know

                                                                                                                      1611 N Vermont Ave
                                                                                                                      Los Angeles, CA 90027-5312

                                                                                                                      1. Fast Food: In-n-Out, EXTRA WELL DONE

                                                                                                                        Shoestring: Katella Deli, Los Alamitos

                                                                                                                        Steak: RED ROBIN!!! The best... and all you can eat with so many dipping sauces. My favorites... chipolte mayo, ranch and bbq mayo. Crisp golden crunch on the outside, soft potato goodness on the inside.

                                                                                                                        Specialty: Potato fritters from Maggie's Pub, Santa Fe Springs... and I'll always have a soft spot for Wienerschnitzel Chili Cheese Fries.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: Oh Robin

                                                                                                                          Almost forgot about the wedges from KFC. Soooo good!

                                                                                                                        2. le petit bistro either on la cienega near melrose or on ventura, sherman oaks, has flawless shoestring "frites".


                                                                                                                          had them today.

                                                                                                                          1. The Kitchen in Silverlake has very good fries.

                                                                                                                            1. A year and a half long debate and no one's mentioned Taylor's Steakhouse? And you call yourselves Chowhounds?

                                                                                                                              They're excellent. As is the amazing burger, only $9.75, and only at lunch.

                                                                                                                              Taylor's Steakhouse
                                                                                                                              3361 West 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                                                                                                                              1. I like In 'n' Out but, darn it, can't they cook them crispier?

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: buttonwillow

                                                                                                                                  The fries at Dino's are great, They are prepared the way McDonald's USED to do them way back in the 1960s. First the raw potatoes are hand peeled and cut, then blanched (deep fried very briefly), then air cured while standing in the fryer basket and finally deep fried to a golden brown. And they are delish.

                                                                                                                                  If i order the chicken maniaco at Dino's, I always ask to have the fries that come with it served separately. Otherwise the juice from the chicken gets the fries pretty soggy and that kinda ruins it, at least IMO.

                                                                                                                                  And BTW, Dino's also serves a great pastrami dip.

                                                                                                                                  2575 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam D.

                                                                                                                                    I can't even picture a dino's fry without the intoxicating combination of the chicken and it's marinade, infusing their essences (ok, grease) into the fries. They're fantastic wrapped with some chicken and slaw in the tortilla.

                                                                                                                                    The chicken plate (formerly known as Maniaco) fries are in a class by themselves.


                                                                                                                                  2. 1) Fast Food - I usually don't go to fast food, but I think I remember liking Carl's Jr.

                                                                                                                                    2) Shoestring/thin cut - not terribly thin - but il ove the fries at marston's in pasadena and (if they still have them - i haven't been for years) the pepper tree in sierra madre

                                                                                                                                    3) Steak Cut - don't like steak cut

                                                                                                                                    4) Specialty (i.e. chili) - i like my fries plain!

                                                                                                                                    1. In N Out Fries and I dip them in my shake yum

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: RamFan

                                                                                                                                        I thought I was the only one who did that! For YEARS, people have been thinking I'm a freak because I like salty fires dipped in vanilla milkshake.

                                                                                                                                        Of course, now everyone is going on about caramels and chocolate with fluer de sel.

                                                                                                                                        I guess if I called it "Vanille pommes au fluer de sel" it would be fancy.

                                                                                                                                      2. 1 - mcdonald's fries
                                                                                                                                        2 - fries at Taste on melrose
                                                                                                                                        3- don't care for steak fries
                                                                                                                                        4- fatburger's chili cheese fries

                                                                                                                                        1. Mc'D's fries are number one in my book. And Foodie friends here's a trick. But Please keep it secret. Order them with out salt. They'll come to you hot and delish, then add the salt yourself to taste.

                                                                                                                                          1. The Hanger Steak and Duck Fat Fries at Bin 8945 are the BOMB!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: JackonCrack

                                                                                                                                                Well chosen bump.

                                                                                                                                                I just scanned the above so forgive me if you've heard this one before:

                                                                                                                                                Specialty -- Musha "Tofu French Fries"

                                                                                                                                                1. re: JackonCrack

                                                                                                                                                  Portillo's has some good crinkle cuts.