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MonMauler's Profile

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Perfect french fries

I'm a big fan of making my own fries and do so probably once a week, on average. Here's what I do:

Russet potatoes. I scrub them with a brush under cold running water to remove any dirt and stuff. Then I hand cut the fries to my desired thickness; usually I cut them as steak fries, as that's the generally favored cut of my dining companions. As I cut the fries, I toss them into a colander under cold running water.

After all the fries have been cut and rinsed, I transfer them to a large bowl filled with ice, cold water, salt and vinegar. Then I let them hang out in there for a while. At least once, usually twice, I'll drain them and put them back into a bath of the same mixture.

Before frying I drain them and pat them as dry as possible using clean dish towels.

For frying, I generally use peanut oil, although I love to use duck fat if it is available.

I do the first fry at 350 degrees for about six minutes. Then I remove them from the oil, pat them dry and allow them to rest for a little. If I don't plan to commence the second frying relatively soon, I will transfer them to the refrigerator or freezer at this point.

I then fry them a second time at 375 degrees for 1.5 - 2 minutes. Remove them to a paper towel-lined dish, salt them while they're still glistening with hot oil and give them a quick toss to disperse the salt.

I have played around with my fry making method a lot over the past couple years, and this is the best I've been able to come up with. If they aren't perfect French fries, they're damned close.

Note: for thinner-cut fries I will decrease the duration by about a minute or the oil temp to 325 degrees for the first fry, and they will only require a minute or so for the second fry.

Aug 28, 2015
MonMauler in General Topics

What is your perfect breakfast?

For me, nothing beats a good, traditional Eggs Benedict with a side of home fries.

Jul 29, 2015
MonMauler in General Topics

$15 Minimum Wage=No Tip

I tip mostly according to custom. In the United States, I find it customary to tip around 20% of the final bill when dining or drinking out. As I understand it, this custom stems largely from the fact that several types of service workers are paid below minimum wage and that tips are expected to raise their pay above that threshold. If these types of service workers have their base pay raised to at least the minimum wage, then I would feel no obligation to tip. That said, I would continue to tip in accordance with what local custom dictates regardless of how the service personnel is paid.

Jul 27, 2015
MonMauler in Not About Food

How come my tuna fish never tastes as good as sandwich shops?

I'm pretty low-down with my tuna salad, I think, but I definitely prefer it to any variation I've gotten from a deli or sandwich shop.

I buy cheap, canned tuna: starkist, chunk light in water. (If I'm getting good tuna in good oil I prefer not to fuck it up with the following.) then I mix it with about a teaspoon and a half of mayo and about a half teaspoon each of yellow mustard and hot sauce. I mix in a few sprinkles of garlic powder, onion powder, some lemon pepper, and some cayenne. I like it on a sandwich or in a wrap with sliced dill pickles, sliced raw onion, and some slices of tomato. I'll add cheese and/or lettuce if they appeal to me in the moment.

Sure, it's not the height of culinary achievement, but I'm never displeased, and I do prefer my tuna sandwich to any I've ever had from a deli or sandwich shop.

Jun 30, 2015
MonMauler in General Topics

More food expiration date hype, this time on Dr. Oz

I know the OP is old, but this bears repeating: Dr. Oz is full of shit. The Food Babe, LLC. is full of shit. The Doctors (the TV show) is full of shit.

Dr. Oz and The Doctors have been shown to provide scientifically unverifiable advice over 50% of the time. If the Food Babe, LLC. ever agrees with science, I'm sure it's only because a broken clock is still right twice a day. Bittman has a column in the NYT, and when it comes to science he has no clue what he's talking about.

Breaking news: health-related stuff you read in books, newspapers, magazines and on the Internet is probably wrong!

Bobby Flay and Wife to Split

That's the assistant + Giada + Betty draper. Score another one for bobby!!!

Also, the assistant is an actress, singer and a dancer! That's a whole lotta talent in one buxom, blonde package.

Poor Ms. March just didn't stand a chance...

Apr 20, 2015
MonMauler in Food Media & News

Bobby Flay and Wife to Split

January Jones and Giada on the side? Sure, Giada might get around, but being in the lineup is better than not playing at all. And this is versus Alex Cabot, an aging AD that had to go into WITSEC from a drug cartel, who has an f'd up appendix to boot? And Bobby has a generous (to him) pre-nup in place?

Go forth and prosper, Bobby!!!

Another tipping question?

I would definitely deduct said surcharge from my normal tip. That surcharge, as implied by the language in the line item ("healthcare surcharge") is going exclusively to the staff, which is the same intended function of my tip. So it is logical, to me, to deduct an equal amount from my normal attempt. However, I hate the nickel-and-dime game, and surcharges such as these infuriate me, so I'd probably (unfairly) deduct my tip by more than the surcharge just out of frustration.

If you want to provide your employees with healthcare, great. Good for you. I really don't care one way or the other. I'd prefer you didn't so as to keep menu prices low, but whatever. It really doesn't matter much to me. But if you are gonna provide healthcare and feel you must raise prices in order to do so, then just raise prices. It's another in a long line of business expenses. I don't want to hear about it, especially in a way that implies management isn't raising prices when they are. It's disingenuous and frustrating, and in addition to making me less likely to patronize the establishment because management is trying to justify their price increases with a guilt game, I'm probably gonna reward my server less than is warranted as a result, too.

dinner host responsibilities

In my circle, dinner and drinks are inextricably linked. Alcohol will be ordered if it's available, regardless of whether or not the host is drinking. I can't recall a dinner in which alcohol was on offer and at least one person did not have a drink.

Feb 22, 2015
MonMauler in Not About Food

The best first date spot, especially for foodies: the Sushi Bar. Agree or Disagree?

Yeah, sushi is definitely not the best first date place...

Going to the bar and drinking until you can't feel feelings is clearly the best option for a first date.

Feb 20, 2015
MonMauler in General Topics

does silence on an rsvp mean they aren't coming ?

I have hesitated to respond because I am clearly the outlier here, but...

I am the asshole that doesn't respond.

I often go weeks without opening my mail. I rarely answer telephone calls and don't bother to listen to even half my voicemails. I do not have facebook or twitter or participate in social media. There are only two reliable ways for me to receive a message: text and email.

If someone outside my relatively small circle of about a dozen good friends tries to communicate with me, their message will probably be ignored. If I hear from one of my friends, however, that "person x was trying to get a hold of you because of y," then I'll likely take a look at the message or listen to the voicemail. But that does not guarantee a response.

A response from me is hardly guaranteed even when requested by friends and people I like. To use the OP's example - if my best friend texted me and requested I respond to an invite to a housewarming/bday party for his kid, there is absolutely no way I would respond to that more than a day or two in advance. It might be important to my friend, but to me it shouldn't be any more than a "Hey, why don't you come over and drink with me xday. We're celebrating. It's Spawn's bday, we finished the addition to the house, there should be some good food around, and I got a couple nice bottles of scotch" type of event.

Really, when it comes to committing my time more than a few days in advance, I'll reliably respond vis-a-vis weddings, attractive women and golf. Always golf. Otherwise, there's always a party.

Yes, I understand this behavior could be construed as disrespectful. However, I would never just show up without responding after a response was requested. That would just be rude!

Feb 17, 2015
MonMauler in Not About Food

Just what IS Cincinnati Chili?

I'm a fan of Cincinnati Chili. Once or twice a year I find myself in the Queen City, and I generally try to stop by Skyline if time permits.

My understanding, as others indicate above, is that Cincinnati Chili is a Greek-inspired meat sauce.

I also make my own once or twice a year, usually when my hometown football team plays the Bengals, for novelty's sake. I've found the following recipe, from roadfood to be an easy and faithful representation:

Feb 12, 2015
MonMauler in General Topics

Lent Starts One Week From Today

Yep. 'round these parts it means the bar I go to most Friday's, which sells a pretty good fried fish sandwich, is super-crowded and the servers are even surlier than usual as a result. It also means that all the churches around here will be pressing their congregations into compulsory Friday night service that for the unlucky means making food-like substances for the general public and for the unluckiest requires consuming the gruel prepared, which they all call a "fish fry."

It's almost like a bunch of people got together and conspired to make it even more frustrating to go out and have a good time on a weekend in the dead of winter...

Feb 11, 2015
MonMauler in General Topics

GMOs: Why people are all mad for the wrong reasons

Seriously, isn't it frustrating when people debate scientific, legal, and economic principles they don't fully grasp?

Feb 03, 2015
MonMauler in General Topics

Pizza Hut's new menu, anyone give it a try?

I really like that serious eats pan pizza recipe. Whenever I feel like making a pan pizza, that's the one I go with.

Dec 17, 2014
MonMauler in Chains

Thoughts on this?

Yeah, I'm definitely not going to put an additional tip for the BOH on top of the tip I give the waitstaff.

Where I dine most frequently, in the United States, it is customary to tip the waitstaff. The way I understand it, this custom has developed as a way for restaurants to have the cost of employing waitstaff subsidized by patrons. This is indicated by laws under which restauranteurs can pay waitstaff lower than minimum wage as long as the difference between a server's take home pay and the minimum wage is covered by tips.

Traditionally, the expected tip amount at full service dining establishments is somewhere in the 15% range. Accordingly, I generally tip 20% and round up a bit just because the math is easier, especially after a number of refreshments have been consumed. If the expectation were different, then I'd behave differently; I am merely adhering to custom. Beyond that, I couldn't care less who gets paid what at any place I dine.

Frankly, if an employer is losing staff because the competition is paying more, then he should pay more if he wants to keep that staff. If he would rather just replace staff, then he shouldn't pay the staff more. In this case, I applaud the employer for trying to find the middle road - the staff isn't so irreplaceable that he's willing to pay them more, but they aren't so replaceable that he won't do a little something by asking his customers to help him pay BOH more than he's willing to on his own - but an additional tip line for BOH would be a turnoff for me.

Dec 10, 2014
MonMauler in Not About Food

Football during Thanksgiving dinner - am I a snob?

Agreed. I'm not sure why the issue is so contentious. The people that prefer football with their thanksgiving are not wrong, and the people that prefer their thanksgiving sans-football are not wrong. It is not a big deal to go to the type of celebration you prefer. Usually the details of such celebrations - including the accessibility of televised sports - can be discerned with little effort. That leaves the choice to the invited. Don't go, or leave if you've already arrived, if the situation isn't worth it.

For my part, I will not go to thanksgiving celebrations at which the NFL games cannot be watched, and I've left thanksgiving celebrations after I've arrived to find the games would not be on the tv. Simple.

Dec 07, 2014
MonMauler in Not About Food

Football during Thanksgiving dinner - am I a snob?

Hey, amoule's house, amoule's rules. Apparently, the guest is permitted to check the score during dinner, and that sounds (begrudgingly) acceptable to both host and guest, so I guess that works.

I will say, though, that if I am invited to a Thanksgiving celebration that does not have the games on or does not welcome alcohol, then I will decline the invitation or leave asap upon learning the situation, both of which I've done in the past.

Nov 25, 2014
MonMauler in Not About Food

If a recipe calls for, simply, a "fresh red chile" would a fresno pepper work?

Not sure of anyone else, but I follow recipes loosely, and when a recipe calls for chile(s), I just roll with whatever I have available that will add close to the desired heat and flavor. Peppers are so versatile.

May 06, 2014
MonMauler in Home Cooking

Natural Cut Fries - Cost-Cutting Measure, or Do Some People Like Them?

Agree with all you say, sunshine.

Pizza toppings - over or under the cheese?

I'm on board with just about all you say, itsmejessica.

I prefer a little browning on both my toppings and the cheese, two toppings is usually ideal for the type of pizza I'm making or eating, and pepperoni + banana pepper is possibly my favorite two-topping combo.

Natural Cut Fries - Cost-Cutting Measure, or Do Some People Like Them?

When I'm making fries for myself, I leave the skin on because I prefer the texture. Similarly, I prefer a well-fried, skin-on tater to a skinless one. All that said, I usually just hope for properly fried potatoes...that's the key.

May 06, 2014
MonMauler in General Topics

Tipping delivery or take out. Do you? How much?

For years I've tipped 20-25% on delivery and take-out, largely as an artifact of my extensive dining-out experiences, where a generous tip is almost always well-earned or, at least, an entree to better service. Neither is ever true of delivery or take-out in my experience, and I mostly eschew either, but when I do, the most I've been tipping on delivery or take out has been about 10%.

It all relates to food quality. Virtually no food I will order from take-out or delivery can survive even 5 minutes transport from where it was assembled without severe decline in quality, outside of some Americanized-Chinese stuff. So, when I get a lukewarm pizza I need to throw on my pizza stone, or the wetter ingredients turn the whole dish soggy, or the packaging steams food that shouldn't be steamed, which is every-single-time, I'm only gonna throw some change at the delivery man...maybe a couple bucks...10%, tops. More is almost never warranted.

May 06, 2014
MonMauler in Not About Food

my friends have no social sense at all

I understand the frustration. I'm always trying to stop people from bringing fresh roasted turkey to my joint.

May 06, 2014
MonMauler in Not About Food

A Serious Sociological Red Lobster Query

This is far from a Red Lobster or other chain phenomena in the mid-sized, kind-of Midwest, super-backwards town where I live (Pittsburgh). On Sunday morning/afternoon every mediocre chain, from RL to OG, the Original Pancake House, and all the regional non-alcoholic diner-type places will be packed to the gills with surly people in their rumpled "Sunday best," while the slightly more fortunate patronize the joints that will attempt a real Bloody Mary and linger over it for a few hours. Going out Sunday morning/afternoon is a PITA. Fortunately, god made golf courses, so there is absolutely no reason to wade into the post-church feeding frenzy unless absolutely necessary.

May 06, 2014
MonMauler in Chains

My First Tin of Old Bay: What should I make??

Ha, I did the same thing, used the same recipe. Everybody raved.

Feb 26, 2014
MonMauler in Home Cooking

How do you brew your morning cup of coffee?

I have a Keurig machine and have a local coffee shop grind the beans appropriately. I usually buy some fancy-pants beans that cost way too much...I like my coffee dark and strong...but, after you dump a couple shots of whiskey in there, it doesn't really matter if you're drinking Folgers instant or Kona airmailed from Hawaii.

We were kicked out of a restaurant because.....

I apologize for not responding sooner to you, lala, roostermom and dirtywextraolives, but that is my point: anybody that can more or less blend in with other people should be welcomed in any restaurant. If that is not the case, however, then they or those responsible for them should have the common decency not to impose their dysfunction on the general public.

Feb 13, 2014
MonMauler in Not About Food

We were kicked out of a restaurant because.....

Kids that require bottles, food, juices and a veritable "picnic" do not belong in restaurants.

Feb 11, 2014
MonMauler in Not About Food

What Makes Customers Think its Okay to Stay Past Store Hours?

It happens. Deal or get a new job.

Feb 11, 2014
MonMauler in Not About Food