Arguably the best school lunch side -- one that today's kids won't get to experience (thanks Michelle) -- tater tots are now the best looking thing next to your beer. Thankfully for San Francisco's abundance of "gastronomic snobs," these little nuggets of crunchy, potatoey goodness have grown up and discovered their true potential. Some of these would even be too much for Napoleon Dynamite to stuff in his pockets.
858 Folsom, 273-9192
They may look like unglazed doughnut holes, but they taste like one of the best balls of fried potatoes you've ever had (probably). Dubbed "Mashed Potater Tots," they're served with bacon or cranberry walnut jam.
Deemed the "Tot Mafia" by SFist, the guys who run these tot dispensaries are serious about their potatoes. Dressing them like nachos, infusing them with truffle and garlic, and making them out of sweet potatoes among other varieties, these taters are given the star treatment.
Partnered with house-made ranch, a plentiful basket of these sweet potato tots for $6 is the best thing to share with friends.
417 Stockton, 400-0561
This very much sophisticated version of the tater tot is covered in a trio of cheeses: sharp cheddar, provolone, and Parmesan, then caramelized and topped with jalapenos. Housemade ketchup accompanies the tots to seal the deal.
354 11th St., 863-5964
If you're feeling like passing on the fried Twinkie or looking for a savory substitute, tots are the best bet. They come in three levels of messiness, from completely naked to smothered with cheese and chili.
2730 21st St., 829-3375
Served only during their Sunday afternoon brunch from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., tots are in burritos, under pico de gallo, bacon, and eggs, and with eggs benedicts. If you're looking for the best home fries and hashbrowns alternative, head to the Mission.
1609 Powell, 982-8898
Bacon-wrapped anything will grab our attention, so bacon-wrapped tater tots are no exception. They claim to be a "San Francisco tradition," but whether they are or not, you can bet that we'll be there.
806 S. Van Ness, 824-1800
Greasy, yet light, bite into these little clouds of deep fried potato and be on your way to tot nirvana. Plus, an enormous basket is only $5. No arguments here.