It’s true that I go out to eat very often. More often than most. Because of this, many of the people around me have this misconception that I’m very picky and only go to “fancy” places (translation: restaurants where a complete meal for 2 will cost upwards of $100). But what they don’t realize is that when I’m not going out to “fancy” restaurants, I’m not preparing seasonal salads and roasted veggies. No, no, in reality I’m incredibly lazy, which means I secretly stuff my face with cheap, unrefined, unhealthy foods.
And I’m not even talking about a wide range of fatty mcfat foods either! Nah, I like to hone in on one thing that really hits the spot, and then eat it on an almost daily basis for a good month or two; a food that, at some point, has stopped just being a temptation and has become an actual problem. I call these my “problem foods” and, since the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, I’m shedding light on my issues with this first post of my new “Uncontrollable Craving” series.
Problem #1: Phat Philly Onion Rings
Oh. My. God. Why, god, why are these so perfect? So perfectly crispy. Dipped in enough batter to thoroughly coat each onion but not leave it thick and chewy. Not too hot, not too cold. With onions cut to just the right width so that they don’t completely come out in your first bite.
More importantly, why must they be located a mere 1/2 a block from my home? I mean, just knowing that they’re there…only a minute away…waiting by a side of ranch dressing…telling to me to come over and pick them up even though I’ve already had dinner…whispering softly to me, “Kelsey, just pick up an order and call it dessert.” And I listen. Even though deep down I know that deep fried onion rings shouldn’t be a replacement for a cookie, I still listen. I don’t think anyone understands how heavy a burden this has been on my ability to maintain any semblance of self-control and keep a reasonably healthy diet. I’ve been listening to them for well over a month now, and last night, when the sight of a bowl of arugula tossed with nothing more than some olive oil and carrot made my mouth water, I knew that it was time to slow my onion ring roll.
Since I knew I would be taking little break from this indulgence, I finally asked the guys at Phat Philly what on earth makes them so good. The answer made it all clear: the beer used in the beer batter is Blue Moon. What?! Who uses Blue Moon just for deep frying onions? Phat Philly, that’s who. Turns out, Blue Moon also happens to be my go-to beer, the first that I ever really liked, so it’s no wonder why I’m so struck by these ones in particular.
Also, the people running Phat Philly have a great sense of humor, so walking in to pick the onion rings up is very entertaining. They prominently display decor like a framed Fresh Prince of Belair family photo, sidewalk signs that say, “We don’t give a fuck, and neither should you,” and a poster on the bathroom door with a picture of Larry David essentially asking people not to make a mess in a more colorful terms (see picture below). They certainly don’t put up a barrier to dissuade you from indulging your cravings. Could their humor and laid back approach contribute to the quality of their onion rings? Eh, it probably just comes down to heat, technique, and the batter, but it makes me happy to think that there’s a more intangible element that gives them their power over me.
It’s been one day, and so far I’ve been able to resist. We’ll see how long this lasts…
3388 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110