Tuesday, April 12, 2011

5th Friday of Lent: Part II.

5th Friday of Lent

St Matthias

F remarked with some relief that giving up on inciting religious genocide for Lent is going well, though the first two weeks were kind of hard.

This week our master blogger was trapped in Dayton, so she entrusted the dinner choice and keyboard to us and the three of us ventured out to St Matthias, 1566 Ferris Road on the north side of town.

St Matthias was the 13th apostle; chosen after Judas betrayed Jesus Christ. The remaining disciples needed to fill in the line-up. They narrowed down their choices between Joseph and Matthias and then they prayed about it, asking God to help them with the choice. Then the rolled some dice, God intervened and Matthias got called up to the majors. He is often depicted with an axe.

Matthias is the Patron saint of alcoholism, carpenters, small pox and tailors. In the US, he’s the patron of Gary, Indiana and Billings, Montana.

Depending on what you read, he died of old age, beheading or stoning and is buried in modern Day Georgia, Ethiopia or Jerusalem respectively.

But enough about history, right? You came for the review, didn’t you?

The Fry is actually served in the attached school gym. Once you get to the parking lot, signs are pretty easy to spot. The school must decorate for this time of year, for there were shoals of fishes tacked to the hallway corridors leading to the gym.

It seems they do a brisk carry out business. The first desk we came to had a line and a number of people waiting. This was for take-away.
If you’re staying for dinner, walk into the gym. Volunteer staff will seat you. Menus are at the table. Waitstaff take your order, tally up the money, give change and deliver your order. It seems like this would have a lot of people handling the money, but it seems to work for them. They also bus the tables and reset them, so they’re busy bunch.

The staff we spoke with didn’t seem to know what they were raising money for and whether it was for the school or the church. The lady next to us thought that it went to the General Fund, but she goes to a church down the road.

In addition to baked fish, which looked very good there are 3 options for fried fish. There is a 1 piece small or a 2 piece large, plus a 9 oz piece. (Largest?) The former were the same type of fish, uniformly triangular and seemed processed. The 9 oz piece was a nice piece of lightly breaded cod. We shared pieces around and all believed that the 9 oz piece was the best. F didn’t think there was any reason to order a Large dinner since a bigger, better fish dinner was just 50 cents more.

French fries were had by all, and they were bad. Probably the worst we’ve had all season. Dry and dusty; no amount of condiments could save them. Letting them get cold only made them worse.
Others around us raved about the baked potato. We should have tried one.

The coleslaw seemed tart and was not too well received. The apple sauce was cinnamon-ny and this was a plus.

Fruit punch and ice tea were included. Pepsi products were extra. Perhaps because St Matthias is the Patron of alcoholism, there was no beer or wine available at any cost.

I did try the clam chowder. It came highly recommended by our waitress, though she did admit that it was not homemade. I think that would be quite a feat to cook clam chowder for hundreds each week. Our table mates reported that they get it from GFS. It was not bad.

Maybe the highlight was the desserts. St. Matthias caters in pies from “Just Pies” in Worthington. These are circulated on carts, dim sum-fashion. Large wedges of pie are $2.25 which is the highest we’ve paid for desserts, but on a per calorie basis they’re probably competitive.

This event had lots of regulars. You could feel the sense of community in the familiar greetings and hugs amongst the diners. From a quality point of view though, this location was pretty average with the 9 oz. fish and the desserts being the high points.

There were pictures to go along with this entry, but I couldn't get them inserted with Blogger.com. Will work on that and try for next time.

See you next week!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Week #5: The Drive Through Experience. St. Michaels

A night on my own. I spent an extra long day in Dayton on Friday. A job site visit that I thought was going to take, at the most two hours, ended up taking four. So at 4:50 I was on the phone to my loving family telling them that they will need to be off without me.

Thom reminded me that it was Fish Fry night, which I knew, but I was sure that they could soldier on in my absence. He then suggested that I search out a location in Dayton to give it a try, but I wanted nothing more than to get back on the road to Columbus. I knew I would have to figure something out if for no other reason than the fact that I had missed lunch and was now running on vending machine cheese and peanut butter crackers.

On my drive home I remembered that one of my favorite Fish Fries also offers not only good food but a unique twist on the standard carryout experience: a Fish Fry Drive Through. I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out.

The location is St. Michael’s on High Street in South Worthington. My kids refer to this place as the fish hat place because most of the men run around with various fish hats on their head. When you pull into the drive there is signage directing you into one of two lanes, one for eat-in and one for the drive through.

There are two drive-through lanes with an attentive group of men, in fish hats, waiting to take your order. Very friendly guys come to your window. You need two people; one to take and process the order and one of the rather young, think 15ish, variety to run for your food.

I ordered the standard adult dinner, fried fish, French fries, and coleslaw. Each meal gets a roll, condiments (ketchup, tartar sauce and vinegar) and a beverage. Once my initial order was place, my runner was off like the wind. Now, I know that the kitchen is downstairs and through some hallways,so I figured I was going to have to wait. My order taker finished with my order (tartar sauce, vinegar and bottled water) and took my money ($7.50 for my whole meal), and before he was back from his short jaunt across the parking lot, my runner was back with my dinner. Very Impressive! All of this took about 10 minutes.

Once I was home it was time to see how everything held up. The fish was as good as I remember and still hot. St. Michaels is routinely one of our favorites. The coleslaw was tangy and creamy and the roll was fresh and soft. The fries fell short. They were a bit on the soggy side, so my guess it may have come from being sealed up in that Styrofoam container. They were still tasty though.

I would still give St. Michael’s “a thumbs up”. The drive through experience was excellent. But as with all fried food it’s better to eat it as soon as you can if you want it at its best.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

4th Week of Lent- St. Brendans, Hilliard

This week’s Fish Fry was a whole new adventure. The Mak family plus our honored guest my Mother-in-law K, went to St. Brendan’s Catholic School in Hilliard for our dinner.

This was our first visit to a school for a Fish Fry, and it was great to see the kids working for their fundraiser. St. Brendan’s Fish Fry is a fundraising activity for their Eighth Grade’s class trip. We did some research and discovered that they are headed to Philadelphia and Gettysburg.

We also tried to discover the amount of their fundraising goal, but neither the kids nor any of the parents were able to tell us or how much they raised on a weekly basis. They did assure us that they raised a good amount of money. From the size of the crowd, it would seem they could all travel quite comfortably.

Because we were in a school, I was intrigued by the name of St. Brendan. There were pictures of him in a sail boat, and the school mascot is the dolphin. A quick trip to our friends at Google told me that St. Brendan was a monk in Ireland born in 484 AD.

The legend behind the boat is tells that he set sail with some other monks and found and island known as Paradise. There seems to be speculation that the land they found is part of North America.

After last week’s post, I can let you know that their signage was excellent. Well-placed street signs guide you into the parking lot and once you are there signs on where the Fish Fry is and what the menu is are well placed in the building.

We can tell you that they were a really nice bunch of kids from what we saw. When you arrive, you pay at the cashier who also takes your order, fried fish or baked and potatoes. Then one of the students seats you and serves you your order.

We all ordered the adult menu, $8.50 each, no family discount. Every one of us ordered fried fish and I ordered the baked potato. The rest of the family had fries. Our meals also came with coleslaw, canned green beans and rolls. Beverages are included in the meal, tea, coffee, soft drinks, lemonade. Beer was an additional cost of $3. Kid’s meals were available with pizza.

We all agreed that the fish was very good, lovely breading and very tasty. The fries were crispy and hot and my baked potato was well done. We also appreciate the attempt at a vegetable, but canned green beans are never any good. The rolls were said to be baked fresh and I am sure that they were, but they were also average.

Throughout the meal, kids and adults come around with cups of condiments for you, coming back to make sure that you have what you need. We tried desserts as well, all homemade and all very good. If you are on the west side I would recommend this one. The food was good, and I am a sucker for supporting kids in their effort to fund raise.