Until now, the best fries I'd ever had were in Ithaca, NY. It's no secret that I have a soft spot for the town, but it's with good reason.
A friend of mine who is also a former Chez Panisse employee is considering moving from the Bay Area, and Ithaca is near the top of her list. Partly because she's interested in a grad program there, but partly because it's one of the few towns in America that won't make a former Bay Area foodie feel like they live in the desert outside of the house in Beetlejuice.
So it was no surprise that I had great fries there, especially because the region is also known for something called salt potatoes. But yesterday, all that changed. Elise had a rare free night now that her new show is up, and there was only one thing on her mind: making fries.
They were the perfect fry, with crisp skin and light and creamy guts. She admittedly has a heavy hand with salt, but in this case it was just right, going toe to toe with the surprisingly sweet taste of the taters. Crispy, fluffy, sweet, salty - may my epitaph be so kind.
We have three guesses as to why they were so ethereal. First was her general skill, including the decision to steam and then fry. Then there was our luck of having the right potatoes chilling in the hallway thanks to our winter CSA. But the third and most unusual reason was the choice of fat, or fats, rather.
We just so happened to be low on all oils, so she made a blend of peanut, canola, and olive. We wouldn't have done so for any other reason but necessity, but it just might have been the killing stroke that made these the best fries of my life.
Now who's gorges?