The ketchup is hitting the fan after the L.A. Times ranked In-N-Out’s fries dead last among 19 fast food restaurants.
(Looking for the best places for fries in Sonoma County? Here’s our list)
According to their Power Ranking of fries, here’s how the SoCal classic stacked up: “And bringing up the rear is In-N-Out. Before you tell me there’s a way to “hack” these fries, or somehow make them better, either by loading them with American cheese and secret sauce, or by ordering them well-done, I will grant this: It certainly doesn’t make the fries any worse. Just as dumping the fries into a dirt pile on the shoulder of a highway access road and running over that pile with my car would also probably not make the fries any worse.”
Cue the freakout.
Starting with the Times’ food section social media intern, dissension ensued: “Hello I am the social media intern and have to share this but I totally don’t agree with it. here are @lucaspeterson’s fast food french fry power rankings.”
Not that we haven’t all thought it from time to time, because we have. They’re sort of meh when compared to the salt and grease bombs of, say, McDonald’s or Carl’s Junior, but worse than, say, Carl’s Junior? I think not.
Furor continued with angry Tweets about the wonders of the hand-cut, freshly made fries some see as heaven’s gift to creation. Granted, if you’ve ever been through a drive-thru watching some beefy kid hammering down the fry-cutter in the kitchen, you can appreciate the work involved and the simplicity of their fries.
But does it make them taste better? It’s a divisive issue for all In-N-Out lovers, and a spirited debate was inevitable.
“Anyone who says there’s no room for ethics and accountability in modern-day mass media kindly check today’s Los Angeles Times bravely yet truthfully stating that their most popular and beloved regional fast food restaurant’s fries are absolute ass,” said @llamsoyd in return. Smell that burn.
So who ranked number one? Five Guys.
Possibly a generous #3 on my list, Five Guys’ fries always tend to be a little limp and oily, especially after steaming in a bag for a few minutes. According to the Times, Arby’s comes in at #5, with the Midwest’s Steak ’n Shake #4 (well deserved), Del Taco at #3. McDonald’s is at #2. Carl’s Junior ranks #6 and Burger King #10, both of which I find incredibly unpleasant to eat due to their odd coating.
As you can see, finding consensus isn’t easy and everyone has an opinion, no matter how wrong they are.
Here’s the thing, though. What exactly do we expect a fry to be? If it’s an actual unadulterated potato fried in oil, then most fast-food restaurants would fail miserably, adding up to 20 other ingredients to their fries. That includes things like beef flavoring, rice flour, corn syrup and hydrolyzed milk, along with a number of preservatives and stabilizers.
Five Guys and In-N-Out don’t use any of that stuff, listing only potatoes, oil (peanut for Five Guys, sunflower for In-N-Out) and salt. That’s it. So how is one #1 and the other dead last?
The debate rages on. And on. And on.