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Out of Control French Fries

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By Kate Krader, Restaurant Editor, Food & Wine

Follow Kate on Twitter: @kkrader

When it comes to french fries, I'm pretty much a purist. I'm perfectly happy with the Thrice-Cooked Chips (translation: twice fried fries) at New York City's Breslin. But for many, that's way too simple. Let's look at a few enterprising places that get creative with their fries.

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Thrasher's French Fries, Ocean City, MD. Thrasher's has been serving fries on the boardwalk since 1929. The fries come in cup sizes: 16 ounces, 32 ounces and 53 ounces, at which point you're basically in supersize popcorn bucket territory. Thrasher's doesn't offer ketchup -- only apple cider vinegar. "We have no catsup, because we don't want anything competing with the wonderful taste of the French fried potato," owner Buddy Jenkins has said.

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Primanti Bros., Pittsburgh, PA. Here's why I love Pittsburgh: Because they're not afraid to put french fries right in their sandwiches. In fact they might have pioneered the practice. Primanti first started adding fries to their sandwiches in the 1930s. Now the Primanti's "Almost Famous" menu includes Pitts-Burgher Cheesesteak, Knockwurst & Cheese, Colossal Fish & Cheese and Jumbo Bologna & Cheese -- all topped with french fries, coleslaw and tomatoes.

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Fresh Fries, Los Angeles. The Fresh Fries truck takes their specialty seriously. But maybe serious isn't the right word for a place that offers their fries -- which come in natural cut, sweet potato or curly -- in such crazy combinations. Among their offerings: Stinky Pinky (topped with grilled onions and thousand island dressing); Peanut Buttercup (sweet potato fries with nutella and peanut butter); and the most cross-cultural option, 626 (with hoisin sauce, mayo and crunchy noodles).

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Big and Little's, Chicago. Unlike some places in the wacky French fry category, Big & Little's is primarily known for something besides fries; in this case, their mahi fish tacos. Still, they're not afraid to put a serious piece or two of perfectly seared foie gras on top of their perfectly fried fries. For those who find that to be just too much, they also offer truffle duck fat au jus as a side to the fries.

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