Here Are the Best French Fries From Tallahassee’s French Fry Festival

Last Friday was not just Friday the 13th, it was also National French Fry Day. To celebrate what, in my opinion, is easily one of the best days of the year, a few local restaurants teamed up for Tallahassee’s first French Fry Festival. Patrons could buy a $25 ticket for unlimited samples of the fries and a complimentary beer. When I saw the event I immediately convinced my friends to spend a Friday sampling the best Madison Social, Centrale, and Township had to offer in fries. Madison Social offered waffle fries, Centrale had straight fries, and Township made curly fries. Here were my personal favorites at each restaurant from the night.

We began our night at Township, where we checked into the event and found a table where fries were being prepared. The four types of fries available were chili cheese fries, Nashville fries, truffle fries and funnel cake fries. Of the four, the truffle fries were my favorite, in fact I believe these were my favorite of the entire night. They were fresh and crispy and topped with shredded parmesan cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. The cheese and vinaigrette mingled well together. Honestly, I had multiple samples of these fries while we were there. This was a combination of ingredients that I would have never thought to mix together on my own. These fries also made me remember just how much I appreciate balsamic vinaigrette as a topping. Township’s truffle fries were definitely a highlight of the night.

Township’s funnel cake fries were my runner-up. They were sweet and light, just like a regular funnel cake, and topped with apple compote and powdered sugar. Personally, I have a sweet tooth so there really was no way that Township could disappoint me with these fries. Some of my favorite desserts also include apples, so the apple compote sealed the deal for me. My only complaint would be that the fries were more like crumbles than curly fries, but that is more than likely due to how funnel cakes are prepared and fried. Appearance-wise, the fries didn’t look like much, but looks can be deceiving. Originally, I believed these would be my favorite fries, so I saved them for last, but the truffle fries edged out the funnel cake fries.

Our next stop was Madison Social, whose buffalo fries stole the show. Their waffle fries were perfectly crispy and doused in their house buffalo sauce. They were then topped with blue cheese, bacon, scallions and ranch. Personally, I’m not a big fan of blue cheese but all the other toppings made up for the cheese. I also had the option to get my fries without the cheese, but I decided to try them with all the toppings. To me, these fries had all the perfect qualities of buffalo wings minus the actual chicken. They offered a nice crunch and a kick of heat to refresh your palate.

The other three fries available were Reuben fries, churro fries and sweet potato casserole fries. The churro fries were my second favorite from Madison Social. To me, they were reminiscent of Taco Bell’s cinnamon twists because they were loaded in cinnamon sugar. However, there was a bit of a greasy aftertaste that took away from the sweet aspect of the fries.

Centrale was our final restaurant, and their samples included garlic parmesan fries, gorgonzola fries, eggplant fries and pizza fries. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized their eggplant fries were my favorite. The eggplant was fried to perfection and seasoned with just the right amount of herb salt.  These fries provided a balance of tender vegetable with a crunchy breading. Sadly, by the time we reached Centrale we were all full, so I didn’t eat as many fries as I would have liked, but if they were added to Centrale’s menu I would definitely go back for more. I have a feeling I’ll be trying to recreate these fries in my own kitchen someday soon.

Centrale’s pizza fries come in second, which were focaccia bread cut into fries, topped with pepperoni, mozzarella and marinara sauce. The house-made marinara sauce is what stole the show on these fries. Whenever fresh ingredients are used I am automatically sold on whatever dish I’m having.

Overall, I enjoyed my time at Tallahassee’s French Fry Festival and hope that these restaurants decide to continue to host this event. With each restaurant I went in thinking that I knew which sample my favorite would be just to discover that I was completely wrong.  I thought the different flavors were innovative and I can’t wait to see what else they come up with if another festival is held. If so, you will definitely find me first in line for more fries.

All photos courtesy of Faith Siplin.