Many fries lend themselves well to a creamy/tangy combo. Some need nothing at all. Despite what my dear, darling husband thinks, ketchup doesn't make everything better (and nobody but him still calls them "Freedom Fries"). The following list is the result of 18 years of extensive research. I've been eating fries for many more than 18 years, but it wasn't until I started working at Burger King at age 16 that I realized how much greater (in quality and quantity) my fry consumption could get.
Applebee's: Honey mustard
Arby's Curly: Mix equal parts Arby's sauce and Horsey sauce, using the smallest, crispiest one in the container as a spoon.
BBQ Joints: Sonny's, Woody's, Dustin's...no matter the name you see before the 's, you can count on the fries all tasting the same. These are actually best with ketchup. You're welcome, husband.
Burger King: If you are lucky enough to live in a part of the world where they haven't yet changed to the greasy, tasteless globs they're serving as fries, then ask for a side of sweet-n-sour and a side of ranch. Start with the s-n-s, then dunk the same fry in the ranch. If your local BK has already switched recipes, it's better to save the calories for something resembling food than to answer "yes" to the age old question, "Would you like fries with that?"
Cafeteria Fries: Salt, hot sauce and ranch. First, salt liberally. Then, dump the hot sauce on the fries, then dip each in the ranch. Bonus: licking the salt and hot sauce off of your fingers.
Checkers: My high-school carpool buddy mentioned once that Checkers' fries taste like French Toast Sticks. I have no idea why or how this is true, but he was right. I haven't been able to enjoy them since. They're probably tasty with maple syrup.
Chick-fil-A: Option 1- Mix 1 packet of mayonnaise with 2 packets of ketchup
Option 2- Ranch
Both are equally delicious to me.
Chili's: Ancho-Chile Ranch. Trust me.
McDonald's: Sweet-n-Sour, or nothing at all.
Ruby Tuesday: This one is tough. I've tried them with ketchup, ranch, honey mustard, and solo. None of those seem right. I'm leaning toward malt vinegar, but I'm not the type of customer to ask for such a thing. It would be like asking for a lime wedge in my water. Yes, it's good. Yes, it's available. Yes, it's what I, the paying and tipping customer wants. But no, I'm not going to ask my server for it, knowing that he/she would have to step away from the drink station to get it.
Wendy's: Feeling indulgent? Dip them in your Frosty. Their fries are the saltiest of all, which is why they pair so nicely with the sweet, chocolatey Frosty. They're also decent with no accompaniment.
Now, here's some bonus advice (betcha didn't think you'd be getting advice + advice when you stopped by today!): Make my delicious recipe for Un-Frieds at home. They needn't be dipped (although husband puts ketchup on them) and they're great as a breakfast potato if you have any left over from dinner the night before.
Potatoes (figure 1 per person) cut into fry-sized wedges
Coarsely ground black pepper
Place potatoes in a shallow baking pan. Salt liberally. Sprinkle on the pepper and oregano. Distribute the minced garlic as evenly as possible. Drizzle with olive oil (about 2 Tbs.) and mix with your hands until all the potatoes are covered with the oil. Bake at 400F, re-mixing with a spatula once, for 25 mins or until the potatoes are getting brown and can be easily cut through with a fork. Enjoy!
Do you have any dipping advice to share?