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a tale of two fish and chips

Windy | Feb 20, 200502:22 PM

We went to Edinburgh Castle for hilarious and poignant readings by Tamim Ansary, Kenneth Wong, and Alan Black, supplemented by a couple of orders of fish and chips from Old Chelsea. I hadn't had their fish and chips in a while; I'm not sure if I'd ever eaten them completely sober, so I paid more attention to the food.

The fish is pretty good. Sweet and flaky. The batter has the right fluffy texture, not too much grease, but also not a whole lot of flavor. The fries fall down on the job utterly. They're soggy and authentic without being good. I didn't finish mine, although my companion happily obliged. Everything needed more salt. The price is right ($4-5.50 for a couple of pieces delivered to your table), and it's hard to fault anything in a friendly temple of single malt Scotch. Laphroaig, anyone? I noticed as we were leaving that they have onion rings, fried oysters, etc.

Two weeks ago, I had fish and chips at Wilde Oscar's, a warm little pub with a big menu and no perceptible kitchen. I found these less like what I remember taking away in the UK but quite good for bar food. The batter was crispier than at Chelsea/Edinburgh. The fries were crunchier too, although still probably frozen. A little more expensive but not that dreamy fish and chips I remember from my first fast food job, at Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips, where we fried everything in peanut oil and then went for a swim in the ocean. The other secret was a rice powder that we dusted the fish in before dipping in the batter.

Edinburgh Castle is on Geary at Larkin. Wilde Oscar's is on Folsom & 14th and advertises Irish breakfast. The fish and chips search continues.


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