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The Problem with Onion Rings (split from Merichka's thread)

The Problem with Onion Rings (split from Merichka's thread)
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  • The Problem with Onion Rings (split from Merichka's thread)

    Post #1 - June 18th, 2018, 9:08 am
    Post #1 - June 18th, 2018, 9:08 am Post #1 - June 18th, 2018, 9:08 am
    The Problem with Onion Rings

    Onion rings.jpg



    Went to Merichka’s yesterday, and had a good time, though little of that good time had much to do with the food. I’m going to post more photos, but I want to focus first on a bigger issue: The Problem with Onion Rings.

    I can’t remember the last time we ordered onion rings, though I have had them in family groups, maybe on top of a steak somewhere, etc., but sitting down at Merichka’s red-white checkerboard table-vinyl, it seemed like the right place and time to revisit this “classic” (a designation that may or may not be deserved). So, with a pint of Pipeworks’ Ninja vs. Unicorn in hand, the pairing was in place and we took the plunge.

    We were hungry, so I knocked back a ring or two before grasping the full mediocrity of these onion rings. The menu says they’re “fabulous” and that food is “prepared to order,” but neither descriptor applied. However, our server, who could not have been sweeter, told us that the onions were cut and breaded in-house, which I believe was true.

    But the bigger issue here is The Problem with Onion Rings, all onion rings. Nowhere, not at Merichka’s, not anywhere I’ve been in the past half-century or so, have the onion rings been anything more than middling okay. A big reason for the consistently subpar satisfactions of this “appetizer” is that there’s usually an imbalance between onion and breading, too little of the former and too much of the latter. To balance the fried exterior, you’re probably going to need more than a single onion circle inside, and with most rings, one onion circle is all you get. At Merichka’s, many of the rings on our pile were composed not of the meatier inner rings but of the papery – and flavor-deficient – outer rings. Could it be that they use the inner circles for the griddled onions they put on the sandwiches, relegating the outer circles to be breaded and fried as onion rings?

    It may be, as Carolyn suggested, very difficult to portion out 2-3 rings per breaded onion ring, and if that’s the case, I’d recommend a more acidic onion or, if for some reason that’s not possible, an eternal moratorium on the onion ring as a foodstuff.

    Our onion rings had also done some time in the holding pen; exteriors were flaking off, and they were warm but in no way fresh from the fryer. I get why this happens. On Father’s Day during Sunday Supper, they’re serving a lot of us, so they have to work ahead. I get it, but I don’t like it. I should have told our server that I’d be glad to wait until I could get them right out of the fryer.

    I am actually (somewhat) inspired to make my own onion rings, using more astringent white onions and a tempura preparation. I’m not giving up on onion rings, but I can’t imagine ordering them again.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - June 18th, 2018, 10:16 am
    Post #2 - June 18th, 2018, 10:16 am Post #2 - June 18th, 2018, 10:16 am
    Brother Hammond,

    I agree wholeheartedly with your Onion Ring Manifesto, however just recently, during #southeastroadtrip18, I was given reason for hope. Unfortunately, I'm racking my brain to remember exactly where I was served the Ur-Onion Ring of my dreams. It will come to me, though, and I hope to post a complete write-up of the trip for those who missed it on Instagram. I'll be sure to include the onion ring info.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #3 - June 18th, 2018, 3:51 pm
    Post #3 - June 18th, 2018, 3:51 pm Post #3 - June 18th, 2018, 3:51 pm
    ETA:

    Those rings I was thinking of are from Krazy Jim's Blimpie Burger in Ann Arbor. Give those a try sometime.

    Now, back to garlic butterine talk.

    Krazy Jim's Blimpie Burger
    304 S Ashley St
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104
    big_jims_rings.jpg Big Jim's Onion Rings
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - June 18th, 2018, 5:01 pm
    Post #4 - June 18th, 2018, 5:01 pm Post #4 - June 18th, 2018, 5:01 pm
    stevez wrote:ETA:

    Those rings I was thinking of are from Krazy Jim's Blimpie Burger in Ann Arbor. Give those a try sometime.

    Now, back to garlic butterine talk.

    Krazy Jim's Blimpie Burger
    304 S Ashley St
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104



    Steve, those look fantastic, and, it must be admitted, unorthodox.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #5 - June 18th, 2018, 6:02 pm
    Post #5 - June 18th, 2018, 6:02 pm Post #5 - June 18th, 2018, 6:02 pm
    David Hammond wrote:Steve, those look fantastic, and, it must be admitted, unorthodox.


    That's why they call him Krazy Jim!
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - June 19th, 2018, 8:35 am
    Post #6 - June 19th, 2018, 8:35 am Post #6 - June 19th, 2018, 8:35 am
    (continuing the threadjack)
    Check out the onion rings at Popeye's. Not all stores have them (avoid the onion petals, although they're probably closer to your texture preferences). The batter is light and crisp, and highly seasoned. Occasionally I've had them where they come out tough, but usually they're quite good.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #7 - June 19th, 2018, 11:06 am
    Post #7 - June 19th, 2018, 11:06 am Post #7 - June 19th, 2018, 11:06 am
    If you're even in Detroit, try the onion rings at Scotty Simpson's Fish and Chips. Possibly the best I've ever had (girlfriend as well). Not too thick, battered sweet onions, light as a feather - all for $2.50.

    This is the best photo I could find online. Curiously with a burger.
    Image

    I forgot about Blimpie Burger in Ann Arbor Steve. I'll be hitting that this month as I'm going back to Detroit for a few weeks.
    Last edited by Ram4 on June 19th, 2018, 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #8 - June 19th, 2018, 4:12 pm
    Post #8 - June 19th, 2018, 4:12 pm Post #8 - June 19th, 2018, 4:12 pm
    Sounds like we need a Michigan Onion Ring Road Trip
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #9 - June 19th, 2018, 8:13 pm
    Post #9 - June 19th, 2018, 8:13 pm Post #9 - June 19th, 2018, 8:13 pm
    I'm assuming the onion rings at Paradise Pup come out of a bag pre-breaded, but they're really good and they have a distinct beer batter flavor. They're among the best I've had in the Chicago area.
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #10 - June 19th, 2018, 10:45 pm
    Post #10 - June 19th, 2018, 10:45 pm Post #10 - June 19th, 2018, 10:45 pm
    Hi,

    The onion rings from Sonic are good to the last crumb. I've only had them twice, yet they stick out in my memory.

    Hackney's onion rings are fine, though the loaf always has some raw bits in the middle. If you give up on the loaf and have it fried loosely, they can entertain you through dinner.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #11 - June 20th, 2018, 8:23 am
    Post #11 - June 20th, 2018, 8:23 am Post #11 - June 20th, 2018, 8:23 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Hackney's onion rings are fine, though the loaf always has some raw bits in the middle. If you give up on the loaf and have it fried loosely, they can entertain you through dinner.

    They don't quite qualify as "rings" but yes, they're a wonderful way to destroy your hunger.

    The secret phrase to use when ordering is "loose and crisp, please" -- you'll get something closer to a plate of onion straws than a fry-basket shaped cake with a lump of raw batter in the middle.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #12 - June 20th, 2018, 8:37 am
    Post #12 - June 20th, 2018, 8:37 am Post #12 - June 20th, 2018, 8:37 am
    JoelF wrote:Check out the onion rings at Popeye's. Not all stores have them (avoid the onion petals, although they're probably closer to your texture preferences). The batter is light and crisp, and highly seasoned. Occasionally I've had them where they come out tough, but usually they're quite good.

    I second this recommendation. Also worth mentioning is that they are always fried to order, never left around to sit in a warmer, and it will always be the last item ready in your order, so you're getting them piping hot out of the fryer every time.

    (I also second Hackney's, but Popeye's is my go-to for OR.)
  • Post #13 - June 20th, 2018, 8:48 am
    Post #13 - June 20th, 2018, 8:48 am Post #13 - June 20th, 2018, 8:48 am
    JoelF wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote:Hackney's onion rings are fine, though the loaf always has some raw bits in the middle. If you give up on the loaf and have it fried loosely, they can entertain you through dinner.

    They don't quite qualify as "rings" but yes, they're a wonderful way to destroy your hunger.

    The secret phrase to use when ordering is "loose and crisp, please" -- you'll get something closer to a plate of onion straws than a fry-basket shaped cake with a lump of raw batter in the middle.


    The version served at Wildwood Tavern avoids the soggy center completely
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - June 20th, 2018, 10:12 am
    Post #14 - June 20th, 2018, 10:12 am Post #14 - June 20th, 2018, 10:12 am
    I like the soggy center!
  • Post #15 - June 20th, 2018, 11:06 am
    Post #15 - June 20th, 2018, 11:06 am Post #15 - June 20th, 2018, 11:06 am
    Don’t know where they are sliced; don’t know where they are breaded; don’t know any nuances of the cooking process.

    All I know is that the onion rings at Moody’s Pub are big, perfectly cooked and they taste way more of onions than breading.

    Moody’s Pub
    5910 N. Broadway
  • Post #16 - June 20th, 2018, 11:48 am
    Post #16 - June 20th, 2018, 11:48 am Post #16 - June 20th, 2018, 11:48 am
    jimd wrote:All I know is that the onion rings at Moody’s Pub are big, perfectly cooked and they taste way more of onions than breading.

    link to photo of Moody's Pub onion rings posted on Yelp
  • Post #17 - June 20th, 2018, 1:11 pm
    Post #17 - June 20th, 2018, 1:11 pm Post #17 - June 20th, 2018, 1:11 pm
    I have had good onion rings at Murphy's Bleachers.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #18 - June 20th, 2018, 1:18 pm
    Post #18 - June 20th, 2018, 1:18 pm Post #18 - June 20th, 2018, 1:18 pm
    fredjason wrote:I like the soggy center!

    There is always something for someone! :D
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #19 - June 20th, 2018, 2:08 pm
    Post #19 - June 20th, 2018, 2:08 pm Post #19 - June 20th, 2018, 2:08 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:The onion rings from Sonic are good to the last crumb. I've only had them twice, yet they stick out in my memory.

    According to this entry from CopyKat Recipes, Sonic's secret is dipping the rings in liquid vanilla ice milk (among other things) before frying. If that's true, it's probably the reason they stick out in your memory.
  • Post #20 - June 20th, 2018, 7:23 pm
    Post #20 - June 20th, 2018, 7:23 pm Post #20 - June 20th, 2018, 7:23 pm
    Don’t know where they are sliced; don’t know where they are breaded; don’t know any nuances of the cooking process.

    All I know is that the onion rings at Moody’s Pub are big, perfectly cooked and they taste way more of onions than breading.


    I love Moody's onion rings and I am not trying to start a rumor but I swear as we were sitting there one Friday night a couple of years ago I watched them wheel in Sysco boxes that said onion rings. Not sure if you can (or would) buy pre-sliced onions to make onion rings so maybe that is what it was. Hasn't stopped me from ordering them every time I go.
  • Post #21 - June 21st, 2018, 8:59 am
    Post #21 - June 21st, 2018, 8:59 am Post #21 - June 21st, 2018, 8:59 am
    Ram4 wrote:If you're even in Detroit, try the onion rings at Scotty Simpson's Fish and Chips. Possibly the best I've ever had (girlfriend as well). Not too thick, battered sweet onions, light as a feather - all for $2.50.

    This is the best photo I could find online. Curiously with a burger.
    Image

    I forgot about Blimpie Burger in Ann Arbor Steve. I'll be hitting that this month as I'm going back to Detroit for a few weeks.


    Yeah, that's the style of onion rings I prefer: battered, not breaded. I have the same issue with mushrooms as the OP has with onion rings. A light batter balances better with the delicate interior of both (in my opinion.)
  • Post #22 - June 21st, 2018, 9:41 am
    Post #22 - June 21st, 2018, 9:41 am Post #22 - June 21st, 2018, 9:41 am
    The minute I saw this thread I thought -- Popeye's and Moody's! So -- apparently when I do eat onion rings, I eat the right ones. Moody's, though almost always perfect, are completely over the top in quantity and when I go with the fiance, he never wants any. I can never eat more than 3 or 4 (because they are HUGE) and the order is enormous. It's a first-world kind of problem, but leftover onion rings are not appealing. I'm eagerly waiting to see other onion ring suggestions....
  • Post #23 - June 21st, 2018, 10:38 am
    Post #23 - June 21st, 2018, 10:38 am Post #23 - June 21st, 2018, 10:38 am
    Funny thing about Moody's, especially in light of this discussion, is that Onion Rings are not even listed on their website menu (unless I'm missing something). They are available to order via their delivery partner, though. But if you only went to their website, you'd never even know they had them.

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

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    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #24 - June 21st, 2018, 12:46 pm
    Post #24 - June 21st, 2018, 12:46 pm Post #24 - June 21st, 2018, 12:46 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Funny thing about Moody's, especially in light of this discussion, is that Onion Rings are not even listed on their website menu (unless I'm missing something). They are available to order via their delivery partner, though. But if you only went to their website, you'd never even know they had them.

    I noticed that too. But they're on the version of their menu in a photo posted on Yelp.
  • Post #25 - June 21st, 2018, 1:26 pm
    Post #25 - June 21st, 2018, 1:26 pm Post #25 - June 21st, 2018, 1:26 pm
    Great onion rings at Marco's Northside Grill in Highwood. More of the beer battered style.

    Marco's Northside Grill
    329 Waukegan Ave
    Highwood IL
    http://www.marcosnorthsidegrill.com/
  • Post #26 - June 21st, 2018, 6:30 pm
    Post #26 - June 21st, 2018, 6:30 pm Post #26 - June 21st, 2018, 6:30 pm
    For whatever it matters: a few months ago the Jewel word-of-the-day products were Veggie (tater) tots and (onion) rings made of cauliflower, white bean and onion.

    These rings are baked for 20 minutes until crisp or as crisp as you like them. There is no kid in the world who would be fooled. It is a product to make some parent's happy.

    I baked them crisp to the edge of over crisp, because sometimes you need to fool yourself. They have been consumed and now can be forgotten.

    When you go to Burger King, they are always hand over dipping sauce for the onion rings. I never use it. These cauliflower, white bean and onion rings could use the Burger King sauce.

    Regards,
    CAthy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #27 - June 22nd, 2018, 5:07 am
    Post #27 - June 22nd, 2018, 5:07 am Post #27 - June 22nd, 2018, 5:07 am
    Today is National Onion Ring Day.
    Fun promotion here
    https://patch.com/illinois/lincolnpark/ ... -free-swap

    Closest Popeyes to me on Golf in Morton Grove told me Popeyes no longer has onion rings on their menu. Didn’t realize they may have meant the menu at that location. Would like to know of other locations in north or northwest suburbs still selling them.
  • Post #28 - June 22nd, 2018, 8:47 am
    Post #28 - June 22nd, 2018, 8:47 am Post #28 - June 22nd, 2018, 8:47 am
    earthlydesire (and others with LTH-antithetical ideas about limiting your intake)—

    At the risk of being vilified for heresy, I offer a strategy that will allow you to enjoy that enormous quantity of HUUUGE rings without discomfort: Break off some/most of the delicious breading and eat all of the onion in each ring.

    Even a fraction of the breading provides a great deal of satisfaction. Also, by re-balancing the onion-to-breading ration you can make it whatever you like AND you get to convince yourself that you are “eating healthy” because, after all, you are rejecting fried-stuff and eating more vegetables.

    It won’t fool your cardiologist, but it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face as you reduce the enormous order of heavenly onion rings to a pile of fried-breaded rubble.
  • Post #29 - June 22nd, 2018, 9:06 am
    Post #29 - June 22nd, 2018, 9:06 am Post #29 - June 22nd, 2018, 9:06 am
    I've found the onion rings at Chuck's Southern Comforts Café with locations in Darien and Burbank to be very good. They're also served with an addictive Cajun ranch dipping sauce, but they are fine sans sauce as well.

    I'll also recommend Pappadeaux's Seafood Kitchen (Westmont, IL) as another favorite place for onion rings (or any fried foods for that matter).
  • Post #30 - June 22nd, 2018, 1:51 pm
    Post #30 - June 22nd, 2018, 1:51 pm Post #30 - June 22nd, 2018, 1:51 pm
    B2B wrote:Today is National Onion Ring Day.
    Fun promotion here
    https://patch.com/illinois/lincolnpark/ ... -free-swap

    Closest Popeyes to me on Golf in Morton Grove told me Popeyes no longer has onion rings on their menu. Didn’t realize they may have meant the menu at that location. Would like to know of other locations in north or northwest suburbs still selling them.


    The Popeyes on Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach serves the old style onion rings. They are not listed anywhere on the menu in store. They are very tasty.

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