I didn't see this blog coming and that's okay. It just snuck up on me last night while I was minding my own business, enjoying your Italian Beef submissions. And traditionally speaking, I am 100% comfortable receiving beef baptism videos from you guys. I'm inundated with them and I love it. Videos of grown men pouring boiling beef broth into a crockpot over 3.5 pounds of cubed ground chuck. I signed up for that when I took this job and there's no going back.
But lately I've been getting a lot of French Onion soup review requests. Understandably, it's a hot beef-based broth loaded with toasted bread and cheese. Just saying that makes me your guy. But I don't hold myself out to be some kind of expert. In that respect you have to nominate Ed. I've listened to him name 10-15 quality FO spots local to Chicago off the top of his head, cold turkey. It's not like he was coming from the French Onion convention at the West Loop VFW. This was transitioning in-and-out of conversations and it rolled off his tongue. He's a real pro when it comes to French Onion.
But out of all the pros, nobody eclipses the two swinging dicks at the top of this blog and the countless others that can identify with my new favorite power move: Owning your own French Onion soup bowls. You don't just like the soup enough to order it at Outback. You like it way more than getting it at every opportunity. You love it so much you make it at home, but even that's not enough. You need to properly broil the gruyère into aesthetic perfection. You need something durable that can withstand the heat and love in which you prepare and serve your French Onion. You need your very own French Onion soup bowls so you can command and conquer your very own French Onion needs. That's the sweet-spot and I love you for it.
Some key players in the market:
Naturally obnoxious and even more difficult to store appropriately. That said I like that handles and I don't find the price point overwhelming like I'd expect it to be from this place. Like if you fuck with French Onion the way buying your own bowls suggest, I'd expect C&B to gouge. You know plenty of people that would pay $75 for the same bowls. But alas $29.95 on the high end is where they went. Still high just didn't think Crate & Barrell would go that route.
I'd rather be dead then serve you homemade French Onion in a standard white porcelain footed soup bowl from PB. Maybe that's just me but I have too much pride to go homemade with a specific bowl, then be this generic. Like a decent vanilla ice cream after a great meal - there's so much left to be desired. Thanks for being affordable Pottery Barn but we're trying to get laid here. This ain't it.
Finally someone is willing to sell the bowls in a set of 4. FInally some practicality, and of course it comes from the experts at Williams Sonoma. The ultimate American culinary retailer and I'm not willing to take arguments on this fact. This is the big boy. Place always smells fucking awesome and has the nicest middle aged women on staff. Feels like I'm walking into my aunt's house for Christmas Eve with how warm and friendly and full of finger foods that place is. Williams Sonoma gets slept on so hard. These are great French Onion bowls.
The granddady of them all and it's not close. Le Creuset is so much better than everyone on the list and I mean that strictly from product quality. The oven temperature tolerance is going to be the highest. The material will be the most durable. It will hold a broil and clean the easiest. That's what you get with high-end French cookware and it's coming from experience. I'm taking my Le Creuset cast iron skillet to the grave. That's a promise.
From a functional standpoint, you like the color mix because it gives a look into some personality. Probably worth the 10% increase from the Crate & Barrell bowls but that's coming from a traditional individualist. Of course I like the depth of selection. Makes for a great gift for the holidays as does the entire Barstool Chicago store:
Rounding out our list of places off the top of my head that you can get French Onion soup bowls is Sur La Table. It's a retailer that distributes Le Creuset and other brands, but they also carry their own product line and holy shit is it priced to sell. $7 for your own FO bowl is basically a slam dunk for anyone on a budget that wants to make a positive domestic impression. I think this slides to the top of the recommendation board provided I'm not blogging for a bunch of fancy pants assholes. I assume you guys like a bargain and that's why we're closing with SLT. Even if they don't hold the oven power as some of its contemporaries, chances are you don't even know how to use the broil function anyway. So consider this your entry level French Onion soup bowl and don't look back if you have the shelf space.
If you can pull this off, there's really no reason not to have your own French Onion equipment. I never thought I'd be saying this but the way it registered on my Power Move scale over the weekend is no laughing matter. Consider it a spiritual awakening except with perfectly toasted bread in a sea of delicious soup, smothered with smoldered cheese.
Now imagine having the tools to consistently deliver that experience at your own discretion.
That's called Power.
That's homemade French Onion.