In Search of Curly Fries, Like They Have in Missouri
the invisible restaurant critic
Dear Mr. Gold:
I have a hankering for some grease. I would like it to come in the form of a "brick" of Susie-Q french fries. I don't want any of these wimpy curly fries people talk about, looking like lost potato eyelashes on the plate. None of this fancy seasoning like the mass-produced purveyors of fast food passed off as Susie-Qs. I want a solid mass of curled up, fried potatoes served in one hunk of greasy goodness like I can get back in Nevada, Mo., out here in sunny L.A. If I had a photo I'd attach one.
Dear Mr. F.:
Let me get this straight: You're in Los Angeles, the single greatest eating city in the world, and what you're craving is a writhing mass of greasy, no doubt previously frozen fries in the style of a town whose most redeeming feature is its proximity to Moundville? There's nothing wrong with that -- we welcome everybody here -- but it does strike me as a bit unusual ... and this is coming from a columnist who spends a lot of his working hours answering questions from readers eager to know about yak dumplings and stews flavored with dried llama fetus. Just try finding dried llama fetus in central Missouri.
At any rate, there are fries here of almost every sort, and something about the nature of your longing, and the half-sentence about the Susie-Qs in the single Yelp about the fries in Nevada, Mo., leads me to think that it is the combination of wholesome soddenness and volume that you crave. If that is the case, I urge you to visit Daglas Burger in the uncharted wilds of Winnetka, where the hand-cut, double-fried potatoes achieve a kind of oily tenderness, and a large order rises from a cafeteria tray, the only platter big enough to handle it, like a steaming, golden-brown Alp. It is enough to fatten an entire potato-loving village -- say, Milo, Mo. I am always surprised that the sheer weight of the potatoes doesn't crack the picnic tables.
But in case it is the sensation of curliness that you seek, you can find those here, too -- mostly, but not solely, at fast-food chains, office-building cafés and Jerry's Deli. Papaya King in Hollywood? They've got them; Dolores' coffee shop in West Los Angeles, too. Want to eat curly-cue fries with Miley Cyrus? (I'm guessing you don't, but hell -- there's that Branson connection.) Mo's in Toluca Lake is the place.
But I'm sending you to a truck. And it isn't to Frysmith, which as far as I know is Q-free, or to the Poutine Truck, or even to the odd Tornado Potato, which deep-fries the potato equivalent of a HoneyBaked Ham, but to Fresh Fries (@FreshFriesLA on Twitter), where they serve Qs by the sputtering coneful, and where you can close your eyes and ignore the presence of Stinky Pinky, Hummus Fries and wasabi mayonnaise.
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