fontas food

eating my way through suburbia

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The True North (the best place to get real fish and chips!)

I'm back from my trip to the true north (strong and free) and I'm happy to report that I was able to fulfill both of my culinary checklist items. I picked up a bottle of HP sauce to bring back and I ate some "real" fish and chips.

"Real" is, of course, a relative term. Here in Sacramento, Fins serves a tasty "fish and chips" dish but, if "fish and chips" means battered fish to you, then breaded fish doesn't quite taste "real". I won't even mention the "chips" here.

When I was a teenager, I worked in a fish'n'chip shop as a waitress/kitchen help. Mercifully, we had a mechanical potato peeler so that task didn't need to be done by hand but chipping the potatoes was definitely done in the old-fashioned manner.

Once the potatoes had been peeled (in case anyone is wondering, think "rock tumbler for potatoes"), they went into large garbage cans along with water and "whitener". Whitener stopped the potatoes from discolouring; perhaps it involved phosphates or something. At any rate, when we were low on chips, the garbage can would be dragged over to the chipper, a wall-mounted, lever-operated machine-thingie. An empty container was positioned under the chipper and then the fun began!

Using a chef's knife, I'd stab a potato and hold it in place in the chipper. Pulling on the lever would bring the top blade down and hold the potato while I pulled out the knife. Then a lot of upper arm muscle action would force the blade through the potato. Chips would fall into the waiting bucket and I'd be reaching for another potato.

Needless to say, those types of chips are hard to find in Sacramento. When I planned my trip home, I also decided that it was time to remind myself what "real" fish and chips tasted like. My mum and sister met me at the airport in Victoria and we made our way directly to Haultain Fish and Chips. Willows Galley on Estavan has excellent fare but is limited in the way of seating; Haultain seemed to be the logical alternative.

I wasn't disappointed.

And there it idea of "real" fish and chips. Halibut fillet, battered (but not too heavily), and fried. Served along with chips and coleslaw.

Heh. The rest of Sacramento doesn't know what it's missing.


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