When I think of French fries, I think of American fast food (so really, quite the opposite of French). Nothing about fried potato sticks sounds at all gourmet to me, nor do I think it should. My first memory of consuming a fry was as a wee child in the back country of North Carolina, at a McDonald's off of Battleground Avenue. I remember the bustling (and very likely germ-infested) ball pit, the strange smiling statue of Ronald McDonald plastered to a bench out front, and the distinct smell of golden grease as I plucked the starch spear from its red pouch and stuffed it into my mouth; It was glorious. But then I became an adult, and the frequency with which I consumed Mickey D's waned. Fries were instead delicately munched at sit down restaurants — in turn becoming less fast and more French (with truffle oil and Parmesan). Had I forsaken the sweet smell of golden grease from my younger years?!
To answer this haunting question, I decided to embark upon a fry-trying journey — not only in order to revive my childhood nostalgia, but to also get a handle on the current fast food fried potato scene. Maybe McDonald's wasn't always the best, maybe it was actually Wendy's? Or, dare I say it, the trendier newcomer Shake Shack? And so I embarked upon a journey around the NYC streets where I picked up greasy fry bag after greasy fry bag (five to be exact), toted them back to the R29 offices, and had my all too willing coworkers join me in a tasting and rating palooza.