Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mar. 1- Find a fish fry, tips

Since one of our readers suggested it, I went digging on google and found this older Review article, amongst the myriad items that appear.

  • St. Ferdinand has a menu and information on their Fish Fry on their home page.
  • K-hits radio does a tour of local fish fries every season, including several Catholic parishes, such as St. Margaret Mary Alacoque among others.
  • My tip: go early for best dessert selection. :)
  • Wanna get your Fish Fry listed? E-mail me.

Here's the Review article. Happy Fish Fry taste testing! Bon appetit!

March 19, 1999

Fish fry aficionado casts about for best fish tails

By Jean M. Schildz Review Staff Writer

Connie Stretch's fishy tales have her friends and family hooked.
Hailed as "the Joe Pollack of the fish fry circuit," Stretch casts her net far and wide to find the top fish fries around town. Each Lent, people call upon her expertise for the best catch of the week.
"They trust my palate," the fish fry aficionado explained.

Stretch, who grew up in St. Pius X Parish in Glasgow Village, made no bones about what it takes to be the very best. The best fish fries are the "authentic" ones, she said, "the Old World fish fries, the fish fry of my childhood."

What makes a fish fry top-of-the-line, the St. Louis County resident said, are these core requirements:
Squares and tails. For fish fry novices, squares are fried filets of cod, while tails are fried jack salmon. Fried chunks of fish are acceptable, too, but they are not traditional fare.

A meatless, red spaghetti sauce, preferably homemade.

Oil- and-vinegar coleslaw, also preferably homemade. Her favorite coleslaw includes a cabbage and carrot mix, but no onions, which she said detract from the overall taste.

Homemade cocktail sauce, not pre-packaged varieties or packages of catchup.

Now a parishioner at St. Gerard Majella in Kirkwood, Stretch has been trolling for the best fish fries around for more than 25 years. Even when out of town on a business trip, she'll hunt one down, said Stretch, who serves as area vice president of accounting and administrative services for Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Co. in St. Louis.

She remains loyal to a parish fish fry "until they change their formula, and then I have to start roaming again."
Her all-time favorite? St. Louise de Marillac Parish in Jennings. Though she hasn't been back there in years since moving out of North County, Stretch had no trouble conjuring up the mouth-watering fare. "You cannot believe how cheap these meals were," she recalled. "You'd get two nice squares of fish, red spaghetti that you knew was made by little, old ladies, and the oil-and-vinegar coleslaw was superb. I went there for 10 years."

Stretch's latest forays have been to parishes on the Southside and in Southwest County. The following are her top picks:

Sacred Heart Parish in Valley Park.
Currently, "this is my number one leader of the pack," she said. "This parish has every requirement and it's all good. Even if you bring the fish home, it's great." The parish serves squares and tails, and "their French fries are better than what you get at some of the restaurants." Homemade red spaghetti sauce, fresh cocktail sauce and oil-and-vinegar coleslaw help make this fish fry "the best."

St. Paul Parish in Fenton.
This used to be her favorite fish fry until recently, Stretch said, when a switch was made to packaged cocktail sauce and the woman who used to make the homemade spaghetti sauce no longer does. But, Stretch added, "All their fish is tasty, and it's not greasy." The parish also serves "really good" French fries.

St. Peter Parish in Kirkwood.
"The good thing about this is they have it yearround," not just during Lent, Stretch said. "That's a real plus." The fish fry does not provide cocktail or meatless spaghetti sauces, but it does include fried chunks of fish, string beans "with too many onions," "good" macaroni and cheese and French fries, among other dishes.

Little Flower Parish in Richmond Heights.
Youngsters might really get a kick out of this fish fry, she said. The filet of cod "looks like an enormous Goldfish cracker. We were just in awe when we saw this on our plate." The potatoes also were shaped like stars, she said. Among other items, the fish fry fare included oil-and-vinegar coleslaw and macaroni and cheese.

St. Gerard Majella in Kirkwood.
Labeling it "the yuppie fish fry," Stretch said, "if you need to control your cholesterol, this is the fish fry to go to." Along with fried fish, the menu included string beans amandine, baked fish, and potatoes au gratin. Meatless red spaghetti sauce was not available. And, "you get French bread instead of sliced bread."

St. Joan of Arc in South St. Louis.
Every week, according to Stretch, this fish fry features a different variety of red meatless spaghetti sauce from one of the local restaurants in the area such as Del Pietro's and The Pasta House Co. While no cocktail sauce is available and only creamy coleslaw is served, the fish fry offers both fried and baked cod, as well as cheese pizza and cheese sticks, Irish potatoes and macaroni and cheese.

Angling to find your very own favorite fish fries? Check out the Review's weekly listing of area fish fries in the Calendar section for the locations nearest you.


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