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Aug 9, 2006 06:40 PM

Oh... the Irony: Help with a Fresh-O-Matic 4000 Tortilla Steamer....

So last week on the L.A. board I did another tyrade on Steamed Tortillas that are used in Mission Style and Chipotle type burritos. This was all much the chagrin of my SO, who lived in SF and LOVES Mission Burritos.

Well, this weekend we stopped by the Surfas Sale and found a Fresh-O-Matic 4000 (The same one Chipotle Uses) for $40 dollars (Original price new: ~$1,000). SO's eyes nearly bugged out of his head... my response?


Well, SO just called me. He went by to Surfas to pick a few things, and out of curiousity asked if they still had the steamer. It turns out that they DID (Someone attempted to use it to make flan, but of course it didn't work and they returned it!). He took it as a total sign and bought it for the two Jacksons...

And NO. I'm not having a burrito party for you S.F. to L.A. Transplants... yet...

We're actually going to give it as a 'gag' wedding gift to his friend who is another HUGE Mission Burrito Fan. We're pretty sure she'll LOVE it (Although I have told SO to tell her that we'd take it back no worries... the thing is HUGE!!)

But before the nuptuals, I want to test it out just in case. We got the instruciton manual and tortillas. But I was wondering if there is any hints or tips on how to use. I'm somehow scared of it burning a hole through my counter!! Here's what it looks like:

Also, any other ideas on what to make with it, ASIDE from Tortillas. I'd like to give her some recipes and such.

Oh, and if I DO get it back... I'll let the SCARFER's know the date of the party... LOL!



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  1. Is this a Lincoln Fresh-O-Matic? That's what many of the taquerias in SF use. If so, here are a few tips --

    1) You have to fill it with water and maintain the fill level. There should be a window gauge somewhere on the front of the unit and the fill hole is probably on top. If you're in Southern California, make sure to use distilled water since our local water is extremely hard. Prolonged use of SoCal water will result in a build up of those nasty lime deposits.

    2) Once you've filled it with water, plug it in and let it heat up, it doesn't take long. Press the handle a couple of times to release steam to make sure it's really working and to blast out any residual desposits in the steam holes.

    3) There should be an insert tray to put stuff on during steaming. You don't really need to use this, but it's nice and makes clean up a breeze.

    4) We found that for large tortillas, 12 inchers, or the thicker 6" flour tortillas that 1 1/2 - 2 compressions on the handle will do the job. The longer the unit sits unused and on, the hotter the water inside gets. The hotter the water, the fewer pumps with the handle you need.

    5) This is a source of immediate moist heat, so anything that benefits from moist heat can be put in it. Yesterday's pastries or a bagle that's starting to go south? Zap it with the Lincoln steamer and it refreshes the product. It heats and softens almost any bread product really well without making them gummy. It'll also melt cheese. Left over cooked or grilled meats and veggies? Slice and lay out on insert tray or parchment paper. Pop it in the Lincoln steamer, give the handle a couple of pumps and leave the lid down for a minute or so. You should end up with moist reheated meat. It's kind of like a low tech microwave with moist heat and longer cooking times.

    We have one of these in our Deli station at work. I love it but it doesn't have as many uses as we thought it might when I first bought it. I am not sure how much application this piece of equipment has for non-commerical, home use. I know Surfas has great prices, but at $40 that's beyond a steal. I think I might be inclined to ask why it was priced so low; and there are several legitimate reasons it could be so low. At $40 even if it turns out to be or have a problem, you haven't really lost that much on it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      Yep it's a Lincoln Fresh-O-Matic

      According to the folks at Surfas, this unit was bought by someone in order to cook Flan. After much Trial and Error it was returned to Surfas since it did not make flan very well. It has sat on a shelf un-sold {Dommy! would say because Angelinos have no use for a Steamed Burrito] and so it showed up in their weekend Blowout sale to get rid of it at the aforementioned $40 price tag. It didn't sell during the sale which when we were there was a mad house. Reminded me of Filene's Basement during their once a year Wedding Dress Sale. [Those from Boston know what I mean. The lunitics with 10 dresses in their hands made Local TV news every year] I showed up on Wednesday where it had been wrapped on a pallet for possible recycling and paid $40 for it. It looks in decent shape although I think the previous owner did not use distilled water with it since i've seen some hard water stains on it.

      I was also hoping it might reheat Tamales as well, so I think that migh be something we'll try before we hand it over.

      Take Care

      - P. [aka Dommy!'s S.O.]

      1. re: DiningDiva

        Is this kind of like what Firehouse Subs uses to make their "steamer" subs?

      2. In case your friend does not want the steamer, I have a friend who has been looking for one of these for about five years. I'd gladly pay $50 plus shipping to Missouri to give it to him as a gift. Where did you get an instruction manual? Is it available online?

        1 Reply
        1. re: stereo3d

          Yes, I am sure you would love to buy this for $50 + Shipping. I think the Cheapest I saw on Craigslist was $400. Alas, the recipient schlepped it to a Cinco-de-Mayo Party and it was a hit. While retelling how wonderfull it was, she was glowing as much as when it was given as her wedding gift.

          Yep, the Manual is online at the Lincoln Smallwares site. [who da thunk this beast was a smallware]

          Take care.

          - P.

        2. Back East there was a place called Frank N Stein, a hot dog joint. They did a "pizza dog" with pizza sauce, mozzerella cheese and pepperoni and they put it in a steamer to melt the cheese and warm the dog. Yum.

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