Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Off the Map: Almost a Healthy Dish -- Almost

Beer-Battered Fish and Chips -- The Dandelion, Philadelphia, PA
The Dandelion

In truth, The Dandelion is not even on today's itinerary, and we end up here only after we discover that Parc Brasserie is incapable of producing mashed potatoes before 5:00pm (but more on that later).  After barging out of Parc in various states of disgruntlement (Ginger murmuring, "This is what I hate about Philadelphia - from massive win to massive fail"), a fast perusal of our Best Thing I Ever Ate database shows that we are a mere two blocks away from The Dandelion, where they serve beer-battered fish and chips, Marc Summers's COMBOS choice.
Cheerio, Darlings!
Vodka makes us an OpenTable reservation when we are less than one block away (as it turns out, there is plenty of room, as all of Philadelphia seems to be at Parc).
And Anyone Who Is Not Is Afraid of The Dandelion's Decor
Rather than actually sitting at said reserved table, we do as we always do and saddle up to the bar and consult the cocktail menu to find something to take away the sting of the lost mashed potatoes.
Pommes Puree Consolation Prize
Ginger decides on the Pimm's Deluxe, which features Pimm's #1, beefeater gin, lemon, and muddled cucumber.  To some, this would be considered a faulty choice, as neither of us have a clue what "Pimm's" is (or, for that matter, why one would need to muddle a cucumber).  The genial bartender, upon hearing our moronic conversation, brings us over a taste of Pimm's (which he describes perfectly as tasting like "Dr. Pepper with alcohol").
If That Lamp Said "Vodka," Vodka Would Steal It for Her Apartment
"See, people are nice here," Ginger muses.  "Nobody's ever nice to us in New York."

"How about you test how nice he is by asking for a sample of every other component of our drinks?" Vodka suggests.
Now Can We Please Try a Cucumber, Extra-Muddled
Rather than push our luck, we instead try Vodka's cocktail of choice, the Tartanka, which includes Smirnoff vodka, fresh-pressed apple juice, cinnamon, and a red apple wedge.  Tasting surprisingly like something out of the a Minute Maid juice box, we decide that this is the kind of apple juice we could drink every morning.
Makers of Musselman's: Take Note
As we wait for our fish and chips, Ginger prattles on about why one should never make new friends (reason: new people are boring), which is not exactly the best philosophy to have when we're heading straight from here to our lone homecoming activity: a football game.  In truth, we only plan on staying at this game for twenty minutes or less, just enough time to join the band alumni on the field for halftime.  Nevertheless, Ginger is off-put by the whole endeavor and broods over the fact that her cocktail is "a good precursor to my football experience."
But THIS Many Would Be Even Better
When our fish and chips arrive, we realize that neither of us knows a great deal about the stuff, being that we have only consumed it in England many years ago.  This fish is especially thick and round, and the breading looks only lightly tanned rather than fried to a crisp.
The Better to Cod You With, My Dear
Breaking through the center, large hunks of pearly white cod can be found tucked within the coating, and we are impressed by how the fish itself has not been lost among the outer shell.
Hunka Hunka Burnin' Fish
Dividing the fish in two, we each begin spooning helpings of tartar sauce (featuring actual capers) onto our plates with great delight, along with a small dash of the malt vinegar.
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
The fish is as light and satisfying as it looks, and the cod is so ample that we are almost tricked into believing that we are consuming something healthy.  Thankfully, even with the "beer-battered" name, we do not discern anything ale-like in the breading (a good thing for us because beer is one of approximately five things we are both incapable of liking).
The Great Fish Massacre of 2011
In contrast, the chips do not taste remotely of health food.  Solid rectangular potatoes, apparently triple cooked, are pleasing in their salty crispiness.  They seem almost identical to the chips served at The Breslin, but a bit more overworked than those at A Salt and Battery (our two go-to New York British establishments).
If These Are "Chips," What Are Ruffles Called in England?!
Indeed, even though neither of us is generally enthusiastic about fish and chips, and even though we have just consumed half of the cuisine of Greece less than an hour before, very little food remains on our wooden tray when we leave The Dandelion.

And our cocktail glasses are, true to form, completely drained.

The Dandelion's Beer-Battered Fish and Chips: 4 stars

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