Dueling Dishes: Battle Sweet Potato Fries!
Anne Marie Panoringan
When we were tots, we munched on taters. Then there's the standard McDonald's variety. Criss-cut ones were a luxury, but curly could be found at Jack In The Box. The notion of a french fry was always more combo rather than cuisine...until sweet potato fries entered the picture. Now, two SoCal-based eateries bang out some of the tastiest finger food since
lumpia churros (insert deep fried preference).
The Counter prides itself on custom built meals in a bun. However, they don't let you lay a finger on their side dishes.
Order an appetizer sampler not listed on the menu, and one receives french fries, onion strings, fried dill pickle chips, and our sweet potatoes in question--by far the yummiest component of the quartet. They are virtually uniform in shape and doneness, without a burn victim in sight. Never being a fan of these before, somehow they hold their own with or sans chipotle aioli on their mild sweetness alone. A lovely, yet subtle counterpart to the meat monster (or in this case, Grilled Cheese Trifecta) beside it.
Over at The Veggie Grill, it's all vegan, all day long. Their biggest challenge is to make you forget the meat you would rather eat. They transform tempeh and protein blends into burgers, even infusing salads with quinoa supergrains. Whatever the secret spicing method, it attracts diners. Like their entrees, those sweetheart fries can even convince fast food appetites.
Anne Marie Panoringan
In keeping with our coincidental meatless entree, these sweethearts are paired with an All-American (a.k.a. veggie steak) Stack. Varying in size, but slightly stubbier than our competitor. Still the same golden pumpkin hue and flavor. Even the sauce incorporates a touch of chipotle heat. However, the similarities end here.There's tofu sour cream in Veggie Grill's ranch version, plus fake Parmesan and other untold seasonings dusted like a pixie trail. Texture borderlines crunchy at times, a result of that uneven cut and subsequent cooking. They outshine any other side.
It would be logical for us to side with The Counter; there's a comforting consistency in the way fries are done. That being said, the imperfect sweet potato fries over at The Veggie Grill win us over with a Glee effect of nonconformity, and a dusting of who-knows-what.
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