Gotta Get Down on Fryday (Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

You get the title reference right? Right? Mike & my mom & I went to a fish fry on Friday, & they both got reaaaal mad at me for reminding them that this song exists. (P.S., Rebecca Black just came out with a new album.)

The cause for celebration was the fish fry itself. It's the (other) most wonderful time of the year!

As an American Jew, I've never much liked Easter season. Frankly, if you're not a Christian, there's not much to celebrate. I'm not big on Jesus, & Easter doesn't have the same cozy, celebratory secular vibes that the Christmas season gives off. Instead, I've always found myself waiting for spring to end so I can stop hearing about Easter.

But then I moved to Cleveland & discovered Lenten fish frys, & now Easter is truly a time of celebration - or at least, the season leading up to it is. (By the way, The Plain Dealer says "frys" is the proper spelling in this case. I feel weird about it.)

I'd never been to a fish fry before moving here, but now I'm hooked - & I've finally gotten my Yiddishe mama hooked, too. 

There are fish frys all over the Cleveland area, so many that you could never hit them all up over the course of Lent. Some are more popular than others, but it seems like most people pick the fish frys closest to them (or at their own church, if they attend one). 

We don't belong to a church (Jew & atheist here), but we do feel a strange fondness toward Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in our neighborhood. We've been there for the Greek Festival & for holiday markets, so last year, when we were trying to figure out where to attend our first fish fry, it made sense to hit up theirs. 

We liked it so much that we've never gone to any others. 

The fish fry takes place in the church basement - or ballroom, I guess, as there's a dance floor & a stage & a full bar. The servers are all little old Greek women with heavy accents; their grandkids help you carry your food to the table.

And man, it's a lot of food.

For $10, you get three huge pieces of fried whitefish, fries, coleslaw, & two hushpuppies (they have baked fish options, too, but who's getting those?) Add-ons cost extra: a side of mac & cheese is $3, baklava is $2, a bottle of water is $1... & did I mention the pierogis? The $8 pierogi platter comes with four very dense pierogis smothered in onions, with sour cream on the side.

I don't even like fish, but this food is so good.

This time around, my mom, Mike, & I split two fried fish platters & two pierogi platters. Yeah, it was... an accidental feast. We ate as much as we could, but since Mike & I have cut down on carbs, we've gotten, well, less adept as consuming mass quantities of carbs. We left feeling stuffed to the brim, to-go boxes in hand. 

I've been poring through local fish fry guides to figure out where we should go next, but if I'm being honest? Well, all I want is to keep going back to Annunciation, alllll Lent long.

So tell me: Have you ever been to a fish fry? Are they "a thing" where you live, or does this seem bizarrely Midwestern to you? 

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