French Fry Face-Off: McDonald's vs. Chick-fil-A
DBerg might be on the burrito bandwagon, but in my opinion, french fries are the single most perfect food ever invented. They are salty, crunchy, chewy, cheap, and the ideal vehicle for sauces as sundry as catsup and milkshake. One year my friend gave up fries for Lent. I cried for her every single day for forty days and forty nights as I stuffed her portion into my face.
Every burger (or chicken) chain has its rendition of the old 'tater standby. I was hungry and found $4 in quarters in my couch this weekend, so I decided to apply a little scientific method to the question, pitting against each other two of the best fast-food french fries in the history of man: McDonald's and Chick-fil-A. May the best freedom fry win.
Challenge 1: Shape
I am quite confident the story goes: A Chick-fil-A exec was at a TCBY and was like, "Eureka! If they can make waffle-shaped ice cream cones, we can make waffle-shaped potatoes!" And thus was born the waffle fry. A nifty little package, all its nooks and crannies increase acreage for dipping sauce. You can also see through them. In contrast, McDonald's long, skinny, pointy fries look kind of boring and potentially dangerous.
Challenge 2: Taste
When it comes to salt, McDonald's is the most liberal with its seasoning, which I like. However, salt can always be added according to one's personal sodium tolerance, but it cannot be taken away, and Chick-fil-A's fries actually taste like potato, rather than a potato-like substance grown on Mars and harvested by robots.
Challenge 3: Crispiness
For all its menace as a potential weapon, the slim profile of McDonald's fries tends to make them crispier (it should be noted, occasionally too crispy). Crunchy on the outside and airy like a potato cloud on the inside is what I'm going for in a french fry, so McDonald's wins here over Chick-fil-A's chewier fry.
Challenge 4: Sauces
I could drink McDonald's Hot Mustard Sauce (or as I like to call it, Liquid Gold) out of a straw. Then again, I could bathe in Chick-fil-A's Polynesian Sauce (or as I like to call it, a Luau in a Small Plastic Tub). Both of these sauces alone would bring me to their respective restaurants. I simply cannot choose.
Challenge 5: Accessibility
You can't throw a stone without hitting a McDonald's (including abroad, although foreign fries can be different). Plus, many McD's are open 24-hours for that healthy late-night fourthmeal. Chick-fil-A, on the other hand, is only in the United States, sparse in some states (ONE for the entire state of New York?), and closed on Sundays. It has taunted me one too many times on a roadtrip home after a weekend away.
Challenge 6: Healthiness
In this corner, a medium fry from McDonald's weighing in at 380 calories and 19 grams of fat. And in this corner, a medium fry from Chick-fil-A weighting in at 390 calories and 21 grams of fat. You might just want to look away.
Advantage: McDonald's by a single fry.
Challenge 7: Accompaniments
I'm not saying you couldn't make an entire meal out of french fries. I'm not saying I haven't tried it and won't try again. I'm just saying that, most of the time, you want to have your fries on the side of something else, like a burger or an eight-pack of perfectly fried, juicy nuggets of crisp white-meat chicken. As Uncle Jesse would say, "Have mercy."
Challenge 8: Environment
Since I got too tall for the ball pit, neither restaurant has been able to hold my attention the way it used to. Still, Chick-fil-A often has outdoor seating, is marginally cleaner, and, if you're lucky, features a person dressed as a cow dressed as a princess handing out free ice cream. Score!
Challenge 9: Mascot
Speaking of those cows, while clearly illiterate, they are just so darn clever. And Ronald McDonald might be the most terrifying clown ever, including It. They should have stuck with Grimace and the Hamburglar—those are two mascots I could get behind.
Final score: Chick-fil-A 6, McDonald's 5.
Long live the Fry King: Chick-fil-A
Your poor Sparkitors have never even SEEN a Chick-fil-A! Do you agree with Kathryn that its fries are the best?