Lorde of the onion rings: Singer rates Phoenicia Diner – Times Union

“Our onion rings have always been one of the favorites,” said Phoenicia Diner director of operations Courtney Malsatzki. Grammy-winning singer Lorde agrees.
“Never in this reviewer’s life has such a thick, soft batter been encountered,” wrote Lorde in an Instagram post about Phoenicia Diner’s onion rings.
Grammy Award-winning singer Lorde, born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, reviewed the Ulster County diner’s fried snack on her once-anonymous Instagram account @onionringsworldwide. Followed by more than 120,000 people, Lorde’s novelty account is where she reviews and rates (one through five, with five being the best) every onion ring she tries when traveling.
In 2017, she revealed during an appearance on the “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” that she was operating the account after rumors had swirled. Lorde was one of the few users the onion rings-focused account followed at the time, prompting guesses that the now-24-year-old singer, who first gained stardom at age 16 with her breakout hit “Royals,” was the one penning the posts.
The account went dark after just four posts in 2017 but returned in 2020, when she posted a shot of onion rings from an unnamed location with the caption “Don’t call it a crumb back…” in December.
Since then, her reviews have ranged from spots in her home country of New Zealand and Australia to California and now, for the first time, the Catskills. (A Bareburger location in New York City is the only other Empire State ring she’s rated.)
New Zealand singer and onion ring connoisseur Lorde was in New York for the Met Gala on Sept. 13, 2021, as shown here. She posted her Instagram review of Phoenicia Diner’s onion rings on Oct. 3.
In her October 3rd post on Phoenicia Diner, Lorde called the diner’s onion rings “the biggest” she had ever seen. “I don’t know if the establishment is using only the rings cut from the point of greatest circumference, or what, but I could have worn one of these as a fascinator to a royal wedding,” she wrote.
“Our onion rings have always been one of the favorites,” said Courtney Malsatzki, director of operations at Phoenicia Diner.
The onion rings are beer battered, which puffs up when fried and adds significant volume to the ring. They also have a spice to them, Malsatzki said.
“Truly, it was half an inch thick all around, and this amazing orange colour,” Lorde’s post continued. “Once I got my head round that I really enjoyed these. If crispness is a priority, these may not be for you, but large, sweet rounds of white onion encased in a well-seasoned, chewy batter appealed.”
The final rating? Lorde gave the diner a four out of five, saying it’s an establishment she “highly recommends” if you’re in the area.
“The people who love them, love them,” said Malsatzki. “People who don’t like heat, don’t like them at all.”
The crispy snack has remained one of the more popular items on the menu. Since Lorde’s review, people have called and emailed the diner to learn more about what makes them so special.
Lorde added in her posted review that although it’s an onion ring account, the home fries at the diner are “phenomenal.” The diner calls them “Phoenician potatoes,” which are hand cut and made-to-order.
“Everything here is made from scratch,” said Malsatzki. “The fact they’re freshly made puts them a step above.”
Malsatzki said no staff or customers saw Lorde at the diner and couldn’t pinpoint when she possibly was in town. The owner’s daughter originally told Malsatzki about Lorde’s post.
“It was neat,” said Malsatzki. “We were all excited.”
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Cloey Callahan is a lifelong Hudson Valley resident who was born and raised in Brewster and covered news for the Hudson Valley team.


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