I think I'm firmly on record as thinking that most National ______ Days are dumb. But there are a few I'm happy to celebrate, like National Tequila Day (coming up on July 23) or the recently passed National Fried Chicken Day. That short list also includes National French Fry Day, because I will never pass up an excuse to shovel fried potatoes into my face.
With that in mind, here are my ten current favorite places in which to accomplish this important task.
Of the Belgian joints in town, I actually prefer the mussels at Jeannine's Bistro as well as the homemade mayonnaise, although the frites themselves at Cafe Brussels are better. Still, the twice-fried frites at Jeannine's are nothing to scoff at, and are especially delicious at lunch -- that's when a nice portion of moules-frites is only $12.
9. Koagie Hots
The fries themselves aren't homemade, but the kimchi that tops them is. And since kimchi fries are the thing to order at this food truck, that's what matters most. Along with super-fresh and tangy kimchi, the fun, carnival-style curly fries also get a scattering of green onions, salty feta cheese and Sriracha mayonnaise for only $4 -- which is more than enough to split between two people.
8. Zelko Bistro
Zelko Bistro's crispy, twiggy fries topped with parmesan and truffle oil remain some of the few fries in town which can carry off this often trite topping with aplomb. Part of the reason is how perfectly fried the long, thin fries are. And part of the reason is that they're usually paired up with one of the better burgers in town, too.
Harry's feta-topped fries are quickly becoming a thing of legend for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they're just as popular an order at breakfast as they are at lunch. That's right; the fries are so good that Harry's patrons aren't even willing to wait until lunchtime to order them. It's not just the feta and parsley on top that makes the fries, though -- it's Harry's sweet, creamy housemade honey mustard, which is essential for dipping the salty fries into.
6. Hubcap Grill
Ricky Craig's hand-cut fries are fried up for you hot and fresh to order, so be prepared to relax and wait for your burger and fries. (Trust me; it's worth it.) And while the fries are exceptional by themselves, I prefer to get mine topped -- as seen above -- with buffalo wing sauce, blue cheese dressing and chunks of creamy, pungent blue cheese. For something even more pungent, however, check out the Stinky Fries: They're loaded up with malt vinegar and garlic salt.
5. Little Bigs
Little Bigs' fries keep luring me back to the place despite the fact that I could take or leave the sliders (which were originally the stand's main attraction). I've been known to order just fries and a milkshake, take them out on the sprawling patio and alternate between dipping the soft-yet-crispy, perfectly salted fries into my milkshake for one bite and then into some of Little Bigs' Sriracha mayonnaise for another bite. Bliss.
The fries at Cafe Rabelais are the most ideal version of French frites that you can find in Houston. Twice-fried and twiggy, they're wonderfully crispy but still soft inside. You can certainly get ketchup to dip them in, but you'd be missing out on Cafe Rabelais's excellent mayonnaise (which is the European way to do it, anyway).
Two words: duck fat. The Burger Guys uses this unctuous oil to fry their Belgian-style fries twice, so they're piping-hot and crispy when they come out in their little paper-lined metal box. Like Little Bigs' version, the fries are even better when dipped into one of The Burger Guys' equally tremendous milkshakes.
Catherine Duwez made amazing frites at The Broken Spoke, and now she's doing the same thing at her brand-new restaurant: Cafe Brussels. You can get them with your order of moules-frites for $14 or with a Croque Madame (topped, of course, with two fried eggs) for only $9 at lunch. And -- as with Cafe Rabelais and Jeannine's Bistro -- the tangy housemade mayonnaise is an absolute must.
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Absolutely everything is housemade at Bernie's Burger Bus, from the condiments (chef Justin Turner's ketchup is so damn good, customer demand for the stuff led to it being sold on its own at Revival Market) to the fries. Hand-cut, they're crispy and pillowy all at once -- and even better when topped with some of Turner's homemade chili (as seen above). You won't find a better fry in town.