London, England

When we arrive at Maria’s Fish & Kebabs, a line of locals is waiting, which I think is a good sign. A counterman wearing a red checkerboard apron wraps my order in butcher paper.

“Oh, my heart is not going to like this,” Mims says, unwrapping his meal: Oil has turned the paper see-through.

The cod, still wearing its chewy skin under the battered crust, is white as snow and just as flavorful. The chips are a squashy mess of greasy spuds. I gamely eat half the fish and most of the fries. Mims, too, is unable to finish.

“Sometimes you just need to know when to give up,” he says.

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