French fries. I will drive a half hour for a good plate of fries. Over the years, I’ve eaten them from hundreds if not thousands of restaurants and there are very few that I have not found merit with.

So here’s my Hall of Fame of French fries, the ones that call my name at 3 in the morning when I can’t sleep. Okay, I’m probably having a glass of wine at 3 a.m. if I can’t sleep. But if fries were available they’d be on a plate next to my wine glass.

In some particular order that I’m not sure of yet.

  • Al Sanabil Bakery & Market on East Thompson Lane. I’m starting off with a weird one, I know. Al Sanabil has great Middle Eastern food and a wonderful little store where you can buy authentic ingredients and baked goods. But it also has a slammin’ good French fry. They’re fried to order and come to the table well spiced and piping hot. You know those crispy edges of concentrated grease? Al Sanabil’s fries have those. And they’re served with a garlic dipping sauce. Worth seeking out, I promise you.
  • Culver’s in Cool Springs. I am not a fan of the crinkle cut French fry except at Culver’s. They’re always served fresh from the fryer and they somehow combine a crispy exterior with a pillowy soft interior. I look forward to the fries almost as much as the Butter Burger. And I never share with King Daddy.
  • Five Guys. The epitome of great skin-on, hand-cut fries. When the paper bag they’re served in comes with an abundance of extra fries that have fallen to the bottom of the bag creating a glorious grease spot you know you’ve hit the mother lode. My only gripe is that the portions are too big. What? How can that be a negative? Even the smallest size is more than Mark and I can eat together and I hate throwing away anything as magnificent as a good fry.
  • Puckett’s Boathouse in Franklin. These fries have the perfect crisp to grease-enhanced soft ratio. They are perfect served alongside the Boathouse’s superlative fried shrimp. And they have been known to find their way into the tartar sauce dish.
  • Steak ‘n Shake. These are one of the few examples of pick-up-stick sized fries that I know about. When Noah was little he often was transported to Steak n’ Shake just for the fries and an orange freeze. Sadly, there were not enough people who appreciated the orange freeze because they took it off the menu years ago. But the fries remain and they are delicious.
  • McDonald’s. Yes, McDonald’s. Their fries are the gold standard. Some time back, McDonald’s stopped frying them in beef tallow and that’s a shame (stupid, health concerns) but they still have beef flavoring and 18 other ingredients I probably don’t want to know about. I don’t eat fries for their healthful properties. And McDonald’s are worth the calories.

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