Saturday, February 9, 2008
Fish Fry Friday!
Yay! Now that it is Lent, Friday night fish frys are back at Nativity Parish in Torrance and I couldn't be happier.
I've been attending their frys for about 4 years now--ever since I just happened to be driving past the parish hall and saw the "Fish Fry To-Nite" sign. I drove home so fast and told Dale..."Get your coat honey, we're going to a Fish Fry!".
This year I see they are going to be happening every Friday during Lent, whereas in the past it might have been only 2 or 3 times.
Milwaukee has a huge Fish Fry culture and this was one of the things I did miss when I moved to California. In Milwaukee, most Catholic parishes will host one and every type of restaurant will have some sort of special fish offering. Everything from small corner taverns serving beer-battered cod to upscale places serving fresh walleye or lake perch. The local paper even has a special section in their restaurant guide devoted specifically to Fish Frys. In the last few years there has been a trend for places to offer both the deep-fried fish and a more heart-healthy baked fish. The parish I grew up in, and that my family still belongs to is considered to have one of the best fish frys in the city. They can serve 700 dinners at times.
Attending fish frys on Friday is a tradition in my family. There isn't one particular place we go...the fun is finding new places to try. Whenever I travel back there, I always try to hit one. In fact, I was there for my last birthday and I even got to WORK at the parish fish fry!
The traditional fish fry that I remember the best is lake perch with a cornmeal breading; coleslaw that is more on the vinegar side, rather than a creamy one; hot, thick fries; and best of all a slice or two of dark rye bread with sweet butter. The rye bread was special because not only did it have some caraway seeds but it had a sprinkling of kosher salt on top. Oh man, that is good bread. It used to be pretty common, but not so much any more. Lake perch too, is a thing of the past. Now if it is on the menu at all, it usually has a premium price.
The Fish Fry at Nativity is on par with typical Milwaukee frys. The choices here are beer-battered or baked cod, French fries or baked potato, creamy coleslaw (that seems to be home-made), a roll and all the usual condiments. Also included in the $7 price is coffee, punch and a piece of cake. Beer, wine and soda are also available for an extra charge. The hall where this takes place has been remodeled since the last time I was there and is larger now and quite nice.
The place was pretty crowded when we got there and we sat at a table with some other people. This is always an interesting experience. Dale was unfortunately seated next to an elderly woman who lamented to him how disappointed she was that Mitt Romney left the presidential race. But then again, she also said she had lived in Milwaukee for a short time and didn't like it! Well, nuts to her, I say.