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French-Fry Salad and Other Crazy Things

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As someone who’s a french-fry purist (hot, golden brown and very crisp, please), I get nervous when I see them in unnatural situations. So I tried not to freak out when I spotted french-fry salad on the menu at the fantastic West Village restaurant Market Table. After all, they’ve been selling french-fry po’boys for years in New Orleans. And poutine—the Canadian “classic” that combines gravy, cheese curds and fries on one big, fat plate—has been appearing on U.S. menus for a while now. (They do a stellar version at Animal in L.A., with oxtail gravy and cheddar; also at the Gage in Chicago, topped with elk ragù.) Anyway, back to the salad: At Market Table, chef Mikey Price makes it by topping (hot) fries with peppercress, shaved Parmesan and red wine vinaigrette. I'm sure it's very good—Price absolutely rocks—but I couldn't bring myself to try it. Still, he’s not the only one getting crazy with the fries—at Chicago's Chaise Lounge, chef James Lasky is experimenting with a Lyonnaise salad with pancetta and a poached egg, anchored by hand-cut fries. And no matter what, none of this is as scary as the french-fry pizza at Reginella in Brooklyn, spotlighted by Eater a few months back.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.