Food is an essential component to the narrative of the American Dream, and the classic mainstays of culinary Americana reflect both our agricultural and ethnic landscape. Our appreciation of our land has always been intricately tied with our appreciation of the crops it yields, from Yankee Doodle’s interesting interpretation of macaroni (really, a feather?) to “amber waves of grain… above the fruited plain.”
Another tenet of our national identity is the freedom of personal choice, and we gleefully apply that to our gastronomic selections. We like to “have it our way,” so to speak, and we enact this right most frequently on the dishes that have come to define classic American menus: pizza, burgers, and — of course — French fries.
The foundation of a good loaded fry dish is also a fundamental crop in the United States: the ubiquitous potato. Grown mostly in the western and northwestern flatlands (and in the upper Midwest and Maine) and shipped across the country, they’re used as vehicles to showcase the multicultural fabric of this nation, topped with cheese, chili, shellfish, organ meats, tofu, marshmallows, pickles, and much, much more.
In order to compile this list, we took a look back at our list of 15 best, then scoured the internet for crazy concoctions that had gained recognition from other publications and recommendations on public forums like Yelp. We judged them based on originality, as well as the number of toppings and whether they actually come together to create a cohesive dish. We were astounded by the culinary creativity and daring we found across the land, and are proud to present the 25 elaborations of French fries that we believe to be the most outrageous — in the best possible way, of course…
25. Urban Fries — Jack’s Urban Eats, Sacramento, Calif.
24. Loaded Crack Fries — HopCat, Detroit, Mich.
This story was originally published on March 6, 2015.