This town is out of control with Lenten Friday fish fry events. If you cannot find yourself a filet or two, forget it. You must not be freaking trying. For this, we turn to our Catholic friends and hit the parish parking lots. I intend to hit every one of them before Easter, so if I miss one or two, let me know!
St. Mary’s Knights of Columbus (KOC) were shoveling out plates by the truckload this past Friday. It was our first stop. We ended up with one plate of cornmeal batter, the other flour. Both were good, but the cornmeal stood out. Fries and hush puppies, of course, accompanied. We preordered ours a little late, Friday afternoon. Plus we picked it up at the last minute, so we didn’t get a chance at the slaw. There was, however, a scoop of something close to maybe grits? Anyway, the fish was great. So were the fries. Get there early if you can. It’s a popular spot for $7 per plate.
Pickup is from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the west side of the parish rectory by way of the McGill-Toolen parking lot. There will be a few walk-ups available, but it’s best to preorder. Visit stmarymobile.org to get a jump on things.
St. Pius X’s KOC are doing a similar event. They are giving you the choice of a “Purple” or “Gold” meal, both of which feature a couple of catfish filets and coleslaw. Purple gets you cheese grits and Gold subs French fries. Its drive-thru pickup is at the Family Life Center across the street from the church on Sage Avenue. Throw in a tip and ask specifically for a piece cooked by Ross. His is the better of all the fish.
Preorders are from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with a limited number of non-preorders available from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Those go quickly. Order yours at firstname.lastname@example.org or text Griffin Shreveport at 251-689-9933 to ensure your spot.
Little Flower Parish’s KOC are in the game this year too, every Friday during Lent, beginning at 6 p.m. Their $8 dinner includes fish, baked beans, coleslaw and grits. Desserts will be available for purchase from the KOC Ladies’ Auxiliary. Find them at 2103 Government Street.
West Mobile should pay attention to the St. Dominic fish fry. These orders must be placed online from Saturday through Tuesday at noon before each event. Regular plates contain three pieces of fish for $7 and the “Hungry Man” plates cap out at six pieces for $10. Both come with slaw, fries and a roll. Pickup is on the right side of the church at the Murphy Center between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at 4156 Burma Road. Wear your mask and save your receipt on your phone. Visit stdominicmobile.org or their Facebook page for ordering instructions.
The “fast fish” battle begins
It’s a showdown reminiscent of the Chicken Sandwich Wars. We are still feeling the effects of those battles two years later, but fast-food chains are at it again. More shots have been fired, and the fight for the best fast-food fish sandwich is on.
If, like me, you grew up with the occasional McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish, the world has changed a bit since its birth in 1962. This sandwich has largely stayed the same, the only variable being the composition of the fish over the years. Make no mistake, this was the original fast-food answer to dropping hamburger sales on Fridays, and it’s still around, knocking on the door of 60 years.
The square fish patty (Alaskan pollock in the U.S.) is offset atop a square slice of American cheese and a generous amount of tartar sauce. But it’s the soft, steamed bun that makes this trashy attempt at meat-fasting memorable. It is what it is, and it was what it was, until other greasy burger and chicken joints threw their hats into the ring.
Nowadays, almost everyone has a fish sandwich. These are usually temporary, but the Filet-O-Fish has remained a constant menu item. You don’t have to like it, but you’d better respect it. I can choke one down every now and again, but I rarely get to see the drive-thru.
So remember the one that started it all as we rate the ones who followed. We will rank Filet-O-Fish at #5.
Whataburger’s Whatacatch sandwich ranks #4 on the list. The fish is a little larger, and lettuce and tomato are a nice touch. I don’t miss the cheese.
Don’t forget about Wendy’s Crispy Panko Fish Sandwich. It also features cheese, pickles and a dill tartar sauce. It’s a very solid offering, barely behind at #3. This one isn’t bad.
I’d place Arby’s Crispy Fish in the #2 spot. It’s a good size and the batter raises the bar. Research says they use a beer batter, and though I gave up beer for Lent, I’ll make an exception for this. Don’t get the one with cheese. It cheapens it.
I feel like I’m jumping on a bandwagon, but the #1 fish sandwich has got to be Popeyes’ Cajun Flounder. Graham and I shared one from the Government Street location, and both of us were impressed. Yes, it’s basically the coveted chicken sandwich with fish, but if it ain’t broke …. The bun and pickles stand out, but that’s not to discredit the fish. It’s a touch spicy, but oh-so perfect.
I’ve had a lot of fish and shrimp over the last couple of weeks, but I am showing zero signs of slowing down. I’m not likely to hit any more fast-food restaurants anytime soon, but grocery store delis and gas station catfish are not off my list. Just throw me in the bay if I start growing gills. Fish on.
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