Food & Drink

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BEST FRIES Minneapolis 2002 - Hamlin's

Readers' Choice: McDonald's

Fries matter. There have been times when we've thought of splitting Best Fries into several divisions. Best fries, large and floppy: Convention Grill. Best fries, ultra-crisp: Oceanaire. Best fries, nighttime: Café Barbette. Best fries, chili-cheese: Joey D's. Best fries, St. Paul: Andy's Grill. We could do this all day. Sometimes we do. And that's when we get to thinking that they're something of an American icon, and show best at a lunch counter, preferably next to some fried eggs or a club sandwich. At the lunch counter of this tiny coffee shop in the back of an office building, the fries are fantastic: golden, caramelized, and lined at the corners with that bit of darkening that tells of real, expert frymaking. (Hamlin's fries are sliced, then blanched, then dried, then fried.) The fact that these fries are so out-of-the way adds to the appeal. (Drive-thru, schmive-thru--anybody who can even find Hamlin's has won some sort of victory.) But if fries matter to you, you'll surely agree that those fries hardest won matter most.

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