Monday, May 25, 2009

Lord of the Rings

In my middle years, the 1970s, I was a Lord of the Rings. My job at King's Food Host, a fast food restaurant chain, first in an individual unit's kitchen, then in a large regional commissary stunk.

Or, rather, I stunk. After a day at work, my body and clothes reeked of onion juice.
One of my principal tasks was to prepare fresh onion rings. This was done by slicng off the ends of a 50 # or more bag(s) of onions, send them through a slicer, separating out the irregulars from the perfectas.
From the slicer the raw rings went to the breader. If the slicing stunk, breading was crummy.

The results were worth the tears and stink. The perfectly fried, golden rings were the crowning touch on many a Double Cheeseburger. These were, at least in my memory, the best OR's and the best hamburgers ever.
Since then, despite the smelly and often monotonous nature of the work, I've been big, if fussy fan of ORs.

Back in the U.S.A. for a 3 week visit, we had several opportunities to eat onion rings. The ranged from "good" to fantastic. All that was missing was "The World's Best Double Cheseburger", with its petite OR crown.

My first grab at the ring came at the Randolph Diner, in Randolph, NJ. My Mom ordered a magnificent plate of fried jumbo shrimp, that came with a generous portion of FFs and ORs, and a modest cup of slaw. She granted me on OR and I loved it.

Shrimp, FF and OR at Randolph Diner

My second chance was at the estimable Irving's Deli, Livingston, NJ.
It was a great meal with a half pastrami sandwich, a pretty good hot dog, some complimentary dill pickles, and a basket of really good ORs. They were nearly identical to those at the Randolph. I never would have thought of ORs to accompany a deli sandwich, but when the opportunity arises, you shold grab it.

ORs at Irving's. Who knew?

Let's have another look at the Randolph's ORs, alongside their fairly decent cheeseburger. (Not The World's Best Cheeseburger, but it would do.)

Cheeseburger & ORs, Randolph Diner

During a weekend visit to a niece and nephew in Connecticut, we got in one last OR op, this one at Skooter's Diner, near Bradley Field in Windsor Locks.

The Skooter's ORs are definitely home made, with a lighter, more fragile breading. I enjoyed them, but I'd give top honors in this group to Irving's, followed by Randolph.

Fragile, golden beauties at Skooter's

Skooter's is a sweet little place, which I'd probably patronize regularly if i lived nearby, but not, in my mnd, worth a special detour. By the way, the hamburgers were serviceable but not outstanding. The Fried Whole Belly Clams were good, according to my wife. (WBCs is perhaps another topic in this North East U.S. series. Later.)


Steve Cotton said...

"If the slicing stunk, breading was crummy." Ouch!

Don Cuevas said...

Steve, I once read, in a definitive book on puns, that, "A bun is the doughest form of wheat".

Don Cuevas

Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

Oh, how I miss onion rings!!! Thank you for this wonderful post!