Bikini season is over, and thank god. For the next eight months, midriffs will be safely tucked away under sweaters, parkas, raincoats, and other warm, figure-obscuring items of clothing. So fuck the diet: It's time for comfort food. It's time for fat, starch, and salt. It's time for French fries.

Alberta Street Oyster Bar & Grill

2926 NE Alberta, 284-9600

Don't be deterred by the Alberta Street Oyster Bar & Grill's swank façade. Their happy hour menu offers an affordable opportunity to sample the cuisine, and it's worth a visit: The folks here know how to fry a potato. Spuds are blanched before frying for the optimum crispy outside/moist inside dynamic, and they're served with an addictive spicy rémoulade for dippin'. Not to mention that they're only $2 during the Alberta Street's kick-ass happy hour, and go perfectly with a decked-out burger (complete with bleu cheese and bacon). ALISON HALLETT


2821 SE Stark, 232-3704

I'm usually a big fan of the pop lexicon, but goddamn, how stupid is it that "crack" has become synonymous with "addictive"? It's lazy, there are discomfiting social/racial undertones, and it just makes people sound stupid: "Oh, I love Lost! It's like crack!" or "Yeah, World of Warcraft? More like Warcrack!" That said: I've never battled an addiction to crack cocaine, but I suspect the drug must have the same addictive qualities as the Bonfire's fries. These are the best fries of... ever. Simple, perfectly fried, with generous amounts of salt and pepper. That's it. And they are so delicious that to get more, I would have no qualms about killing kittens, running over kindergartners, or hacking out my own liver and selling it on the black market. So yeah. Sure. I guess they're like crack. ERIK HENRIKSEN

Slow Bar

533 SE Grand, 230-7767

Slouch into one of the Slow Bar's high-backed booths, and dig into a plate of fries with "stinky cheese." It's always a toss up between eating odorific food and ruining your chances of making out with anyone later in the evening, but in this case I'd say the fries are worth whatever damage they do to your drunken make-out odds. Wash down the fries with one of the Slow Bar's clever signature cocktails, or one of the most killer Bloody Marys in town. AH


1135 NE MLK, 235-6858; 1122 SE Hawthorne, 230-0479; 3432 NE 25th, 239-5942

There's something quintessentially Portland about Burgerville: It's fast food for people who feel morally superior to fast food. Ingredients err on the eco-friendly side, and there's no danger of this friendly local chain becoming the next forest-razing, strip-mall-dwelling, fast food mega-chain. Nothing beats their sweet potato fries in the fall, but the regular fries ain't bad either—the skinny, crispy taters are a guilty pleasure that taste just like a few considerably more evil burger chains I could name. If you're gonna get fries, you might as well get one of BV's always enticing milkshakes to go along with it—look for seasonal flavors like fall's ever-popular pumpkin. AH


1309 NW Hoyt, 833-5060

Paragon is a little artsy-fartsy and their rosemary French fries are on the expensive side. The fries also come in a goofy, conical, paper-lined metal holder that is too small for the average hand to fit entirely inside, leading to frustrating and greasy logistical issues. (Am I supposed to dump them out? So much for edible art.) That said the fries themselves are delicious. If you're putting down foofy cocktails like the only-in-the-Pearl "Antioxidant Elixir," or the refreshing mojitos (served in a jam jar for that down-home feel), you're going to want something in your stomach to sop up all that sugary booze, and these fries do just the trick. AH