As most of you know, I am a bit of a french fry aficionado. Okay, more like an addict. As a matter of fact, when I watch TV shows about people with drug and/or alcohol addiction (like Intervention) I can relate to the people with the addictions because of my reliance on french fries in my daily life. I need them to get through the day AND I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT THEM.
My last meal will be french fries.
If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have one food it would be french fries.
I dream about french fries.
I would prostitute myself for french fries.
I would kill a man for french fries (okay maybe not but I would berate a man into a confrontation for them)
I have ordered food in restaurants that I do not like just because the entree came with french fries.
I have eaten 9 large orders of fries in one sitting on more than one occasion.
French fries speak to me in a strange french fry language that I have been studying to comprehend.
French fries cure cancer in manatees (a promising discovery eh?)
One time I left a half-eaten order of french fries by my bed so I could eat them immediately when I woke up.
I recently stole a french fry out of the mouth of my 6-month old son (he didn't want it as badly).
The longest I have ever gone without eating french fries is 3 days (stupid childbirth).
Let's just say I like french fries a whole bunch. I hope that this does not ruin your image of me as a healthy outdoorsman.
Over the years I have probably eaten more french fries than the average person, so I feel that I can provide informed judgment about the consistency, quality, taste, price, and overall deliciousness of them. So, I will now present to you the first installment of the findings of my life's work.
To me it makes perfect sense to rate the chains first, so here we go. There are several other fast food chains not on this list that I am still researching (mainly because there are not any around my home) that I will review later along with the sit-down chains so don't stare emailing me "what I forgot". These are not in order of ranking (I am too lazy) and the ratings on a scale of 1-10. Please note that I do not believe that I have yet found the "perfect" french fry, so nothing has gotten a 10 (yet).
In my opinion, the undisputed king of all chain fries. With the exception of the price (which is as high as an order of fries in most sit-down restaurants) and the once-in-a-while cold batch (which happens with all chains sometimes) a hot, fresh, overflowing carton of McDonald's fries always hits the mark. Especially when you order two orders and eat one on the way home.
Overall: 6 I think that BK spent so much time trying to make their burgers different from McD's that they skimped on everything else. Apart from being cheaper than most of the other chains the only thing good about BK fries is their consistency-consistently bad. The outer crust of their fries has a golden batter that is alternately either soggy or burnt, and the overall taste is way too sweet.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
There are a few fried chicken chains that have awesome fries because they cook the fries in the same oil as the chicken (Church's and Popeye's), but they must dip the fries in suck juice at KFC cause they are bad. A lesson for the fry technologists at KFC: thick cut fries soak up a lot more oil and flavoring than skinny fries, so you gotta be vigilant with your flavor. Boo.
Overall: 8 This chain just changed their fries a few years ago, and for the better I think. The curly fries are okay, but the new faux-potato skin "seasoned" fries are much better than in the past. They are roughly 4 times the diameter of McD's fries, and can be exquisite if they are cooked thoroughly. The only drawback is the price, which is higher than most.
Overall: 6 Let's face it, if you are going to Sonic it is probably for a gargantuan drink that has flavor combinations only a crackhead would think of (raspberry coconut chocolate limeade). Sonic cooks their fries in the same oil they cook their onion rings, so everything (fries, cheese sticks, tater tots) has an oniony taste. Boo. Even if you like onions, this taste should not be in the fries. Think about it, you may like mayonnaise and you may like chocolate, but you don't want to eat them mixed together. Also, the fries are all over the place as far as how cooked or under-cooked they are. Boo2. The only bright spot for sonic is the price, but who wants em?
Overall: 5Wendy's is a conundrum wrapped in a bacon pashmina. You would think that since their burgers are so high-quality (whether you like them or not) that their fries would be good too. No. As with KFC, the thicker style fries at Wendy's soak up what must be an inferior oil choice to become bland and stupid. They are also often undercooked, which makes them even worse. It's a good thing Wendy's has the Baconator or I would never go there.
Chik Fil A
Overall: ? I don't know anything about the fries at Chik Fil A (except that they are waffle-cut) because I can't go there on Sundays.
Second only to McD's, Popeye's fries are deliriously handsome and curvaceous. Batter-dipped cajun bliss in a mini shoebox for a good price. Awesome. The batter absorbs the oil that is used for the chicken to create a pleasing crunch and lingering taste of a mardi gras gone by. The only problem is that they give me the trots so they can't be #1.
Church's is another joint that cooks their fries in the same oil as their chicken to produce a fry that is exquisite. Not quite as battered as the fries at Popeye's, but just as flavorful. The price is a bit high, but you can order the herculean size to put yourself in a grease coma, which is nice.
Long John Silver's
LJS is one of those places where you roll the dice for deliciousness. When the fries are hot and crispy, they are amazing, but when they are undercooked they are like vegetables (yuk). A heavy tempura-like batter coats the fries and soaks up all the tastes from the oil (chicken, fish, hush puppies) and you can taste a hint of each in every bite of the fries. IF the oil is not too old, and IF the fries are cooked to completion, they are on par with Popeye's and McD's. Unfortunately for me, they also give me the trots so they can't be #1.
Arby's is another weird one in terms of ratings. On one hand, they have fries, curly fries, AND potato cakes which gets them points for fry offerings. On the other hand, they all kinda suck. There is nothing worse than an undercooked potato cake. But I have to say that their curly fries dipped in horsey sauce is great. Oh, and also you guessed it-trots.