Sunday, June 27, 2010
Fish and Chips
Moving swiftly on from that last post about football.
The big expat news for me right now is an 'authentic' British fish and chips shop that's opened downtown. We've been watching for the grand opening, and I was more than a little excited when I snuck a peak through the papered up windows a couple of weeks ago and saw a packet of Jaffa Cakes sitting on the counter. Clearly the outfit was being run by people in the know.
Practically every restaurant in Santa Barbara offers fish and chips. When you order it, you'll get fish and fries, and the fish will be delicious and people will challenge you that it's the best fish and chips you've ever eaten, but it's not real fish and chips from a chippy. That wonderful fish and chip smell that carries through the drizzle and lures you in to the steamy, greasy shop with it's piles of pies, chips, fresh fish and pickled eggs (even I will draw the line on that one).
I'm sure every English person thinks their local chippy is the best. Maybe so, but I think if you grow up in Yorkshire you have a pretty good claim to the best fish and chips in the world. Even if your husband does order the 'toona' on his first visit to York's Petergate fisheries.
I was so excited to get a little bit of home right on my doorstep. Not that we go out anymore, but I had visions of us celebrating our new tenants moving in by splashing out on a fish supper.
*Sigh*, it was not to be. They have fantastic mushy peas, and a pretty good battered sausage - even special sausage mix from Whitefoot Meat market - Julia Child's favourite butchers when she was living in SB. They even have haggis, deep fried 'candy bars' and shandy. Talk about promising.
The chips though. That's where it matters. They were the right shape, and even came in faux newspaper, but they'd been cooked in canola oil. Gutted. They just didn't taste the same. Fake chips. I'm sure the magic ingredient is some horrifying amount of rendered beef fat, combined with the blood sweat and tears of a Yorkshire chippy, something the FDA would never, ever approve, but without that magic lard, that mixture of steam and grease from a real chippy, you might as well be eating fries. LK didn't care, and he quite rightly said that 99% of the people visiting the shop would be none the wiser. Still, real chips right on my doorstep, a girl can dream.
Didn't stop me eating the whole portion though, just to make sure.