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Taste test: frozen french fries from fast-food chains

Seasoned french fries.

iStockphoto.com

Seasoned french fries.

It used to be we could only satisfy our fast-food fry cravings with a trip to the local drive-through. Now, it's as easy as picking up a bag from the grocery store freezer. Or is it? Our panelists were disappointed at some of the options of fast-food fries we found at local grocery stores. We heated all of the fries in the oven straight from the freezer, according to package directions. Some were soggy, some were bland and some were too greasy. The winners, though, will likely find their way into the freezers of our panelists to serve alongside burgers and hot dogs at their next barbecues.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Steak n Shake Thin & Crispy Seasoned Fries 67Red Robin Seasoned Steak Fries 55Checkers & Rally's 54
Judges'

comments
These fries were the most authentic to the fast-food chain they were named for, judges said. "They are skinny and tasty with a nice crisp," said one panelist. A couple really liked the golden color. "I love these for their thin, reedy shape and the little burn in the seasoning," said another.Red Robin's fries looked like robust steak fries and judges said they had a bold potato taste. Panelists said they might opt to re-fry these to give them a little more flavor and sturdiness. "They are nice and hearty and could stand up to plenty of ketchup," said one judge.A couple of judges said these fries were even better than the ones they have purchased at a Checkers Drive-In. "I love the spiciness of these fries and the size and shape," said one panelist. "These are definitely as good as the drive-through fries," said another judge. "They are snappy with that Checkers bite."
Would

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.74 for a 22-ounce bag from Walmart.$3.39 for a 22-ounce bag from Publix.$2.74 for a 28-ounce bag from Walmart.


Also Sampled: Nathan's Jumbo Crinkle Cut French Fries ($2.74 for a 28-ounce bag from Walmart, 24 points) and Arby's Seasoned Curly Fries ($3.39 for a 22-ounce bag from Publix, 35 points).

Panelists: Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery, retired restaurant manager; Jill Dunn, realtor Yes-Homes, Keller Williams Realty; and Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to mstark@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.



Serving sizeThree ouncesThree ouncesThree ounces
Calories170110160
Fat/Fiber9g / 2g3g / 2g7g / 2g
Sugars/Sodium0g / 490mg0g / 330mg0g / 390mg
Carbs/Protein21g / 1g19g / 2g21g / 1g

Taste test: frozen french fries from fast-food chains 04/04/16 [Last modified: Monday, April 4, 2016 10:41am]
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