Menu Advice

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EC.Mason
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Menu Advice - Wed, 08/1/12 8:40 PM
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Ok; so I bought my trailer to suit the needs of what I wanted to sell, however I think I'm going to change my menu to onion blossoms, hot dogs, chips, nachos and drinks. I'm debating on funnel cakes as well but I don't want to get in over my head starting out. What do you all think? Too much food? Not enough? Does the menu sound like it would sell?

Dr of BBQ
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Re:Menu Advice - Wed, 08/1/12 9:20 PM
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Like so many new people you didn't give enough information.
 
Where are you selling events only.....daily.......fixed location.......on the city square from 11:00 until 3:000 .....
 
What equipment do you have on board
 
Why did you change your mind/menu
 
What past food experience do you have
 
What were your original menu choices
 
Can anyone tell from Chicago what will sell in California, I doubt it? But a bunch on here will offer their heartfelt advice.
 

CCinNJ
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Re:Menu Advice - Wed, 08/1/12 9:29 PM
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Don't know how much experience you have with onion blossoms. You have to have a system that includes prep hold drop and hopefully not hold again when done. Get a system down and some great experienced instincts. They will hold a hand or two hostage compared to other items. You can't get too far ahead of orders and you can't fall too far behind in service.

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Wed, 08/15/12 9:53 PM
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Dr, I plan to work mostly festivals and fairs. I'd like to get in at some flea markets but they seem a little harder to get into. I decided to sell onion blossoms because I have a friend who used to sell them and he made good money. He had to sell his concession business because f the lack of time due to his and is wifes work. I don't have any experience in the food industry besides working a concession trailer for the Masonic lodge.

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Wed, 08/15/12 9:56 PM
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CC. Thanks for tour advice. I am going to start buying some equipment in a week or so and I am going to practice making onion blossoms to get a good routine down. I do worry about keeping up with orders and not getting too far ahead. I guess that will be a learn as you go situation.

Dr of BBQ
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Re:Menu Advice - Wed, 08/15/12 11:57 PM
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EC,
I think onion blossoms were a bigger hit a few years ago than today. Do you have a Smash Burger Restaurant anywhere near you?
They are in
Kentucky
Highland Heights - Highland Heights
Hurstbourne Corners - Louisville
Lexington - Lexington
Louisville - Louisville
UK Campus - Lexington

If you need to take a weekend trip go to one and try their Haystack Onions.

I worked for a bowling alley for a time ran the bar and all food and a guy I forget who told me about onion sticks. I made some and fell in love with them. And we sold the hell out of them.

They are so simple to make and cost pennies. Smash Burger sells what they call Haystack Onions for 1.99 per cup. I'm thinking with the cup out the door cost is around 34 cents.  You fry as needed and frying time is seconds you'll need a little salt, pepper, flour and a deep fryer. All though I would use a meat slicer to slice the onions it could be done on the cheap to start.

One other thought if you have the heart go to a Smash Burger and get a job, work for a week or two and you'll know enough to make a great high profit item and great money at events. If you have a current job do it on vacation time. It would be worth it.
good luck
jack

 

RodBangkok
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Re:Menu Advice - Thu, 08/16/12 12:27 AM
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With the onion product you will probably be looking at cycling your oil in the neighborhood of 4-7 hours depending on volume.  The amount of sluffed breading is huge.  I'd be looking at a fryer with a built in pump/ filtration system for that application.  Here's an old thread about doing them:
http://forums.foodservice...forum&FSF_ID=17600  
Make sure you cost in a large amount of oil usage for these.  Also mixing product may be a problem, depending on what other items your frying.

Dr of BBQ
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Re:Menu Advice - Thu, 08/16/12 12:48 AM
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Onion product? No with onion blossoms yes but not with onion sticks or hay stack onions.

CCinNJ
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Re:Menu Advice - Thu, 08/16/12 12:57 AM
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Other than Outback (they put it on the map) I'm trying to think what restaurant has stayed with the onion blossom. Chili's moved from the Awesome Blossom to onion strings about 5 years ago. It's been a good spell since it's been all the rage.

It can be a pain in the ass..for sure
<message edited by CCinNJ on Thu, 08/16/12 1:00 AM>

chewingthefat
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Re:Menu Advice - Thu, 08/16/12 5:51 PM
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Go from the onion to fried Dill Pickel chips, make your own potato chips seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic. put out a killer chili, forget the nachos, If your going to do Dogs, Hebrew National...that said, if I were you I'd make a garlic Lamb sausage myself, Kentuckians love their lamb/mutton. Set yourself apart! Good Luck!!

CCinNJ
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Re:Menu Advice - Thu, 08/16/12 5:58 PM
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If you make chips you can offer a malt (vinegar) salt seasoning. That gets people thirsty and sells some drinks.
<message edited by CCinNJ on Thu, 08/16/12 5:59 PM>

Foodbme
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Re:Menu Advice - Fri, 08/17/12 4:21 AM
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Onion blossoms are a PITA for even an experienced person. Labor & Time consuming. You need several people to work your rig if you do them because its a full time job for one person if you are busy. i'd suggest doing something else.

CCinNJ
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Re:Menu Advice - Fri, 08/17/12 10:34 AM
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When you do a practice session (and you really should) do the complete menu in your space as if you had to bang out orders. Time it from start to finish with all of the times from the start. See if you can handle everything with one set of hands.
Sometimes people practice with one item in their own kitchen with no stress and complete focus on that one item. Until everything is working at once and you need more more more of one item because there's so much to it...you have no idea how far you can fall behind.

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Sat, 08/18/12 7:15 PM
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Dr. I will check out that resturant. I am about  an hour and a half away from Lexington but I am at UK often. Im a high school principal so I am there for meetings and such quite often. Ive never heard of onion sticks and that might do very well here. Thanks so much for your help and advice!

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Sat, 08/18/12 7:16 PM
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Thanks for the advice on the deep fryer. I am planning to buy one soon and have been wondering what exactly to get. This helps a lot.

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Sat, 08/18/12 7:18 PM
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There will be two of us at all times working the trailer. After we perfect the onion blossom (with a practice session) do you think two can manage it? Thanks.

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Sat, 08/18/12 7:22 PM
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Thanks CC. I had planned on practicing the onion blossoms, but doing it all would benifit us greatly. Maybe I will have a family get together and try evertything at once. I really do appreciate your alls advice and am absorbing every bit of information you all are giving me. Thanks for replying everyone! Please keep the advice coming.

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Sat, 08/18/12 7:25 PM
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Chewing, its funny you mentioned mutton. That is what my Masonic lodge serves every year at the local festival. I like that idea, but I know it takes a lot work serving mutton. We actually slaughter the lamb and everything. Something to think about though.

CCinNJ
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Re:Menu Advice - Sat, 08/18/12 8:10 PM
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They might line-up for popular items like fried bologna & chili buns in Kentucky. Those are items that you could bang-out with little stress....and if nobody else does ithose at events ...they would really sell.

lornaschinske
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Re:Menu Advice - Sun, 08/19/12 11:10 AM
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Once upon a time (2008) we stopped in at a small diner and had their onions. They were very thinly sliced with a light dusting of flour with lots of black pepper and deep fried. Very good. I liked the lack of breading. I've often thought about making up a batch or two just for snacking on at home. Only I would use a Cajun seasoning blend instead of black pepper.  Would work great sold in a big cheap paper cup or on a cheap paper plate (note the word "CHEAP). I've always thought onion blossoms were all about presentation.
 
Darn it... Now I want fried onions!

oqanani
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Re:Menu Advice - Mon, 08/20/12 9:20 AM
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we use drakes fry mix for our onions that we deep fry.  We slice it thin on the slicer and serve it as a garnish but i dont think i can eat it straight not as a meal.  But thats just me.  I remember the blooming onion being big, the trend has definately fallen off.

Dr of BBQ
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Re:Menu Advice - Mon, 08/20/12 9:46 AM
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lornaschinske
Once upon a time (2008) we stopped in at a small diner and had their onions. They were very thinly sliced with a light dusting of flour with lots of black pepper and deep fried. Very good. I liked the lack of breading. I've often thought about making up a batch or two just for snacking on at home. Only I would use a Cajun seasoning blend instead of black pepper.  Would work great sold in a big cheap paper cup or on a cheap paper plate (note the word "CHEAP). I've always thought onion blossoms were all about presentation. Darn it... Now I want fried onions!

 
Those are Onion Straws or Haystack Onions. The trick is right after they are sliced lay them out and slice across the circle, so you have sticks not onion rings. Then throw them in a big bowl of ICE & WATER just in and out. Drain and batter then fry. They fry very fast in 350 oil, if they are sliced very thin. And they are not a meal lol. They are meant as a side like french fries.

CCinNJ
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Re:Menu Advice - Mon, 08/20/12 9:59 AM
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Another thing about the onion blossom...they can become very greasy if you're not careful or don't have experience with them.

Out of curiousity I checked to see if they are still hangin' at the Fairs. The big big State Fairs still carry them (not as many as years ago). In 2009 an onion blossom cost $8 at the MInnesota State Fair.

As far as the nostalgia factor of "remember those things?" I want one!...it has not been that long since they fell off the radar for that. It might be more like...."oh those things...I still have an onion blossom maker in the pantry that I need to put out at the next garage sale"

By the end of the run the dollar stores were full of onion blossom paraphernalia.
<message edited by CCinNJ on Mon, 08/20/12 10:06 AM>

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Tue, 08/21/12 6:54 PM
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Dr. After the ice water, would you drop then in a dry or wet batter? Also, I am practicing deep frying a few things at home but can't get the batter to stick good. Should my batter be a little thick or thin?

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Tue, 08/21/12 6:57 PM
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Also what exactly is the ice water for? Is it so the batter will stick?

Dr of BBQ
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Re:Menu Advice - Tue, 08/21/12 7:21 PM
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EC sorry my bad. There really isn't a batter it's just salt pepper and flour. After the ice water bath spread them out so they dry somewhat. Then just throw them in some flour. In fact I used a flour sifter and they don't get a heavy coat. Just a dusting, very light. And as you grab a bunch to throw them into the fryer yes a lot of the flour will fall off no problem. Fast fry and your good to go. I really wish you had a Smash Burger in town so you would no what to expect when your trying them at home. They are addicting or at least they are to me.
jack

Dr of BBQ
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Re:Menu Advice - Tue, 08/21/12 7:23 PM
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The ice water will take a little of the onion smell and taste out of the onions and it helps to separate them so you don't end up with a big clump or ONION BRICK. By the way I like onion bricks also. LOL

Dr of BBQ
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Re:Menu Advice - Tue, 08/21/12 7:29 PM
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This site used an egg wash I didn't when I made these.
http://deep-fried.food.co...haystack-onions-270076
 
I'll go to Smash Burger tonight and ask how they make them. They may or may not tell me but I'll drop a note here later.

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Tue, 08/21/12 7:38 PM
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I'd appreciate that Dr. I like the idea of the onion sticks because of the ease to make them. A lot less work then the blossom.

CCinNJ
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Re:Menu Advice - Tue, 08/21/12 8:28 PM
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I've never been to Smashburger but I could easily make a meal of onion strings...and I don't eat too many fried foods.

You can experiment a few ways. Try a buttermilk (or milk + a spoonful of vinegar) soak while the oil is heating to 375. Then into seasoned flour...coat..fry...eat...enjoy.

Dr of BBQ
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Re:Menu Advice - Tue, 08/21/12 9:35 PM
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Well I guess I have led you all wrong on how they make these things. And for that I apologize, I guess my memory isn't what it used to be LOL. But they do use an egg wash but it's very very thin. And they are not cutting them into strips as we used to do but are using only the onion ends because they are smaller in diameter. The rest of the onion they are putting on their burgers. But you could as we used to do cut the bigger slices or use them as you see fit.
 
 


 
I know the cup looked half empty but that is how much they serve for $1.99.
 
 
 


 
 
They are worth $2.50 in my mind and with no more product than your serving you'd make a good profit. In the last two photos you can see how little flour is on them. That helps to fry them faster and makes them lighter and in my mind better.
<message edited by Dr of BBQ on Tue, 08/21/12 9:39 PM>

CCinNJ
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Re:Menu Advice - Tue, 08/21/12 9:43 PM
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I'll take 2 orders! Hold the burger.

Dr of BBQ
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Re:Menu Advice - Tue, 08/21/12 9:53 PM
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CC you so correct on hold the burger. I went over there and thought well I'm here and I want some onion straws so I'll try a burger again. They suck. Ate the onion straws and about 1/2 the burger and threw the rest away. I doubt they will last long here in Springfield. They are in a high dollar location and at 7:30 they had two other customers.

CCinNJ
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Re:Menu Advice - Tue, 08/21/12 10:12 PM
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For some reason where you often find the best onion strings or rings...the alarm goes off to skip the burger. That happens all the time here. Unless you pay $30 for a burger and get lucky. But how lucky is that?
 
New York Burger Company makes some of the BEST onion rings EVER. Skip the burger.
 

 
They are so good. I'll have to snoop around next time I go for an order...and run to another place for a burger.
 
Smashburger is in Brooklyn... but none in Manhattan. If in the neighborhood...onion strings it is!! They look excellent.
<message edited by CCinNJ on Tue, 08/21/12 10:15 PM>

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Wed, 08/22/12 7:07 PM
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Dr. Thanks so much for the info and pictures! Those things look great. I believe I am going to try these instead of the blossom. They would be economical to prep, cook and serve. Glad I got your alls help before I bought a bunch of equipment for the blossoms. I wonder if these would be good with a dip?

CCinNJ
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Re:Menu Advice - Wed, 08/22/12 7:17 PM
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Excellent EC!!

I think they are great with a sauce. I usually make the zesty sauce or use Peter Luger sauce (which is like a delicious cocktail sauce) alone or mixed with sour cream. Because the structure is different from an onion ring (and your customers will be mobile) careful its not too thick like the thickness of sour cream & onion dip or too thin...it will be drippy. Experiment away with your favorite flavors.
<message edited by CCinNJ on Wed, 08/22/12 7:19 PM>

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Wed, 08/22/12 7:18 PM
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Dr. Are these Vidalia Onios?

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Wed, 08/22/12 7:19 PM
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Onions... Sorry for the spelling.

EC.Mason
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Re:Menu Advice - Wed, 08/22/12 7:24 PM
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Thanks CC. We make a home made dip for the blossoms. That may work out. Do you think I should double what's in the cup and sell them for $4? Or should I stick to the size and sell for $2.50 like Dr said? I'll be selling these at festivals.

CCinNJ
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Re:Menu Advice - Wed, 08/22/12 7:39 PM
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I know they sell as a side a meal or a feast in this area! Billyboy posted about this place a few years back. Smokin' Al's on Long Island. This order is $14.99.
 
Festival pricing is different than brick & mortar and better to get an opinion from someone who knows the drill.

chefbuba
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Re:Menu Advice - Wed, 08/22/12 8:19 PM
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It all depends what your paying for onions.....Last week they were $6 a sack, this week, $14.......winter time they hit $50.
I don't make squat on rings during the winter, Takes one onion to make an order, at about a buck each, plus cost of the batter, boat, napkins, condiments, etc.