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Would You Like a Side of Fries With That?

Would You Like a Side of Fries With That?

Everybody loves French fries, but sometimes you need to mix things up.

Not long ago, they were, somewhat cheekily, referred to as Freedom fries, but as true devotees, we know them by their tried-and-true name: French fries. And they're one of the best side dishes around, whether for a burger, sandwich or even a snack with some dipping sauces.

Sometimes, however, you want to mix things up and add options that still attract diners who love their French fries, but who also may want to try something different. Here's a guide to ways to play with fries and keep things tasty.

03 03 side of fries 1Hand Cut

First things first: cooking hand-cut fries isn't too difficult. But it does take a lot of time. If you have those minutes to spare, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. After all, there's nothing better than a slightly thicker French fry with a little bit of skin that gets nice and crispy in the deep fryer.

03 03 side of fries 2Shoestring

This is a great option for the little ones. Kids love shoestrings — the thinly sliced, julienned potatoes that crisp up so nicely. Fitting perfectly in their little hands, the shoestrings just need a little ketchup and the kiddos are happy. Want to spruce them up for adults? Add a side of truffle mayo.

03 03 side of fries 3Waffle

When you're craving a favorite breakfast food, but want a savory lunch, waffle fries fit the bill. They can be cut thinner or on the thick side using a waffle blade of a mandolin. They're usually crispy on the outside and slightly soft and pillowy on the inside. They make a great pairing with some melted cheese or a spicy sriracha mayo.

03 03 side of fries 4Cheese

Speaking of cheese, who doesn't love cheese fries? The best part is you can use any sort of fry and drizzle melted cheese over top. Sure you might get the cheese all over your hands, but the bonus is you get to lick it off after. Cheddar has long been a popular go-to, but why not mix it up with some melted blue cheese (with a little crumble on top), Gruyere or Manchego?

03 03 side of fries 5Avocado Fries

With avocado's rise in popularity (hello, avocado toast anyone?), it only makes sense to offer diners a healthy, baked version — and it couldn't be easier. Cut each half avocado into quarters (or more if you want them thinner), dip each piece in an egg wash then roll them in a mixture of bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper or chili powder. Dipping sauce options include cilantro-lime, sriracha mayo (made with Greek yogurt) or your favorite sauce. Just try to keep it on the healthier side.

03 03 side of fries 6Sweet Potato

Think of sweet potato fries as the healthier cousin to French fries — but only if you bake them instead of deep frying them in oil. They offer a sweeter taste and some nutritional benefits that regular potatoes don't. If you bake them, they usually come out crispier. Fried can tend to be a little mushy, but some people like a soggy fry.

03 03 side of fries 7Tater Tots

Tots, as many like to call them, look like small fried potato nuggets and they're delicious. Often times, since French fries are ubiquitous, it's always a pleasant surprise to see tots offered as an option. They're smaller, crispy and you can pop a couple in your mouth at a time. Use different seasonings in your batter, like taco flavors, garlic salt or Old Bay, or toppings like melted cheese or chili to add a little variety.

03 03 side of fries 8Togarashi Fries with Curry Mayo

These tasty treats can be found on the menu at Chicago's Belly Shack, an Asian-Nuevo Latino fast-casual fusion joint. Thanks to a seasoning mix that includes things like red chili pepper, ground ginger and nori, the fries have a nice kick. The curry mayo heightens the flavor even more.

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