I tend towards quite bland meals, having had my pick of culinary delights from each and every region of the world I am now inclined to eat more to stave away hunger than for pleasure specifically. Treats still excite me, but not particularly exotic ones, cranberry scones being an example of a current fad, not terrifically exotic, but just different enough to make the palate water and tired eyes sparkle.
Variation of diet in not as important to me as quality of ingredients, I will quite happily consume virtually the same components daily as long as they are of a good quality and well prepared. Whilst no cordon bleu chef I can produce basic dishes to a somewhat acceptable standard and as an extension expect professionally prepared meals to be of a much higher quality than my own everyday amateurish attempts.
Restaurant food need not be fancy, or necessarily avant-garde, but must meet the most basic of criterium, good fresh ingredients, well prepared, well plated, full of flavor and satisfying to the soul. For such fare I will happily pay the required sum with a most happy smile, and a good gratuity for accompanying excellent service.
The majority of professionally prepared meals, from hors d’oeurvres to banquets are in general unremarkably adequate in quality, a reflection on the rather unrefined tastes of many a guest at their tables. Highlights are few and far between and quality can easily vary vastly though the dishes within say a rather simplistic three course presentation.
Fast food is very different animal of course, staggering from the hardly recognizable to most excellently value. The more appetizing enterprises are those that prepare the dishes themselves, as opposed to simply reheating and repackaging ingredients and products provided through some far distant central hub. Establishments with the vital ingredient of a decent short order cook invariably excel, but such wondrous eateries are growing worryingly scarce as the unending franchises gobble up their honored place at the roadside. Food provision has become about investment, as opposed to a tactile profession, the financier having more influence over culinary matters than the cook.
My reasoning for embarking upon such a vociferous and exhaustive blog today, was the most unusual occurrence of having a meal presented to me that was both fully up to my personal expectations but would also unquestioningly please anyone with a semblance of working taste buds in their mouth. The dish was simple, battered fried fish, and chipped potatoes, a presentation that tends to appear on any number of menus, but disappoints any aficionado almost unfailingly.
So let us dissect this particular eateries product, the things that were right and to even handed balanced with any failures. The fish was exceeding fresh, wet, meaning not frozen.
Was a time establishments could only serve fish from Monday through Friday, because no fish markets opened on weekends, so no fresh product could arrive for sale till Monday morning. Yes, wet fish markets, a little integrated explanation for the existence of the likes of Pikes place, Seattle. One of the last European style fish markets still functioning traditionally within the States.
So fresh wet white fish, beautifully skinned and separated, covered in a rich beer batter, then deep fried in good quality oil till golden brown on the exterior but still moist and virginal on the interior.
The chipped potatoes were as they should be, rough peeled and sliced thinly, then deep fried to a nice golden color, but still with some give in the length, not done to a crisp, ‘American style’. Nice to see potatoes prepared in a traditional rough-cut style, rather than the symmetrical exactitudes necessary for easy freezing and portion serving into franchise emblazoned cardboard containers. The variety was a russet of some kind, a good choice for frying. Once again, really good fresh ingredients, prepared on site, cooked as required for orders. Would not have been out of place served in newsprint in a British ‘chippie’, or as a side of French fries or their delicious Flemish equivalent.
Quite the best fish and chips I have been blessed with in twenty years of living in the States, and not a one negative to mar the dish. Congratulations to Buck Bay Farm, I shall be seeing you again soonest.