Thursday, March 27, 2008

Reuse in New York

More information in this article about the reuse of items from closed churches, particularly stained glass and statues, in New York City. (from the

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Last but not least...another fish fry review

Lent flew by quickly this year. I was fortunate to add more places to the review list this year. I didn't get the audience participation I had last year, but that's one more thing to work on for next year's Lenten season.

Bubba and I trekked around looking for a couple of new fish fries, but, alas, they weren't serving since it was Good Friday. One place, Zion United Methodist on Union Road in South County, has its last fish fry of the year this week (March 28 4-630PM).

We headed north on Union and went to Morganford. We took a right at a sure thing--St. Mark's parish. (NOTE: St. Mark's was also reviewed in 2007.) The signs were out, and the parking lot was full, so we went in to get our fish. Even though, we expected an overflow crowd from the parking lot, it was not bad at all. The lines moved smoothly and in the carryout section, there was no wait at all. Bubba cried because he wanted to stay, but because Hubby was feeling under the weather, we got our meals to go.

The menu at St. Mark's includes baked fish, cod squares, catfish, shrimp, and crab cakes. Desserts are a la carte for to go orders, and all that was in the carryout room was cookies by the time we got there. We got two adult dinners with two sides, a kids dinner with two sides and one extra crab cake for $20. There's also cheese pizzas for the kids. The sides were the usual suspects--pasta, slaw, applesauce and green beans. The coleslaw does still taste like homemade.

All in all, St. Mark's is a nice stop to get your fish during Lent, even if you're just passing through.

Atmosphere: B (only because we couldn't stay to review it!)
Food: A
Price: A

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Fish fry review - St. Pius V, South City

Hubby and I had no child in tow tonight, so we headed to one of our favorite areas of town to check out a local fish fry. St. Pius V parish is located at Grand and Utah Avenues in south city on the southern edge of the Grand South Grand business district of shops and restaurants.

We headed in following the crowd from the parking lot. You can enter the parish hall (beneath the church) from Utah St. The crowd just before 5PM was quite manageable with lots of families, young and old, as well as regular folks like us just magically appearing. You'll pass in a short narrow hallway and on the right you can get your tickets. Carryout meals are available in a separate line. We chose to eat in for this review.

Meals run $7 for adults with your choice of baked or fried cod and catfish, along with your choice of 2-3 sides (you get to pick). Half order plates with two sides are also available for $3, which is one of the best price deals we've seen. The usual suspect sides are available and they're not too bad. I liked the homemade cole slaw (vinegar and oil) with celery seed and my husband was quite taken with homemade red potato salad with a mayonnaise dressing. I chose the green beans and macaroni and cheese for my other two sides. Applesauce is also available as a side. Drinks (iced tea and coffee) and dessert are also included in the price of the meal. The desserts were varied, with most homemade, and the coffee, while decaf, was some of the best this reviewer has had at any fish fry here in St. Louis. In addition, you can get a Bud Light or one of two microbrews available at the bar for $1.50 or $2.

Besides the food, you get some entertainment with your meal. The Clan Jameson provided the music, including the sheets for the sing along, which included a fish fry song. The Cod Squad, famous for visiting fish fries, started showing up as we were leaving.

All in all, it was a pleasant evening on South Grand.

Atmosphere: B
Food: A-
Price: A

Reviewed March 14, 2008

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

STB hits Facebook

Check out the St. Boniface group on Facebook, started by Jenni Owens.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

A tale of two fish fries

I decided to visit two fish fries tonight. After I checked the St. Louis Review's fish fry listings, I hopped in the car and headed to southwest St. Louis City.

The first fish fry I visited was at Epiphany of our Lord parish at Ivanhoe and Smiley Streets. Epiphany is very, very close to Highway 44 at Arsenal St. I arrived about 5:15PM and the streets around the church and the parking lot was very packed.

The problem was, not a lot of people were walking in when I was, so due to lack of signage, I walked around for a bit before I figured out that you do have to go in by the bowling alley (something you can do when you're done eating). I finally made it in and heard the news that the dine-in line was long. The carryout line was much shorter, so I headed there.

Epiphany had lots of stuff going on in the parish center. Besides the bowling alley on the way into the building, the Girl Scouts were selling cookies, the Men's Club was selling raffle tickets, and another organization was selling candles around the periphery of the center. One family had won a primo spot at the fish fry, including reserved parking places on the lot, and a table decorated with roses, glasses and chairs with chair covers from the parish auction.

I noticed a different trend at Epiphany that I saw later at my second fish fry. Epiphany sells sides by the half pint, pint and by the quart. Epiphany does not sell any dinners (fish + 2 sides). Everything, including the bread, is sold a la carte and fish is sold by the piece. I didn't particularly like this, but since I was doing carryout, it was not a big deal. I got the cod filet sandwich, a piece of catfish, and macaroni and cheese and three bean salad as my sides (1/2 pint each). This cost $8.10.

The cod sandwich ($2.35) was okay and the catfish, outside of having too much breading, actually had a good taste and was a huge piece for $3.25 (approximately 9-10 inches long and 3 inches wide.) Jack salmon and shrimp (2 for $1.80) are also available. The mac and cheese was decent, and the three bean salad was sweet with just a little tart and was pretty darned good. It was nice to see a little something different in the sides category. Epiphany had nice spots to eat in the center, even going all out with purple Lenten tablecloths. Drinks and desserts are a la carte. Pie will cost you $1, with other desserts 50 cents.

A couple of criticisms: get friendlier servers on the carryout side. The folks who served my fish looked as if they were forced into it, and the girl who set me up did not even offer sauces to go with my fish. Another gripe: no utensils or napkins are available for carryout customers.

Next, I headed over to Hampton and Pernod to the fish fry at St. Joan of Arc parish. They were busy as well, but I quickly found a spot on the street not far from the parish center entrance. Signage was plentiful at SJA, so I quickly found my way to the fish fry. The Girl Scouts were out here, too, right at the front door, selling their cookies. The fish fry is in the basement of the school.

There are two lines here, too. and they moved reasonably quickly. I was in and out of line within 10 minutes. St. Joan of Arc has one of the most diverse menus I've seen lately. They have both baked (lemon pepper) and fried fish--cod, jack salmon and shrimp. In addition, they also cheese toasted ravioli, mozzarella sticks, and cheese pizzas. They also have a variety of items on their kids' menu.

SJA, like Epiphany, also sells sides by 8oz, 16oz, and 32oz cartons, and they have a wide variety, including Irish potatoes and their own homemade vinegar and oil cole slaw that is really delightful--not too sweet and not too sour. SJA also has homemade bread. I chose the Italian, and it was fresh and good. (I just wish they would have given me two pieces instead of just one!). Drinks and desserts are a la carte, but note that senior citizens get coffee and dessert free.

My dinner with baked fish, Irish potatoes, cole slaw and bread was $7.00.


Epiphany parish
Atmosphere: B
Food: B
Price: B

St. Joan of Arc
Atmosphere: A-
Food: A
Price: A

Reviewed March 7, 2008

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Fish fry review - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, South County

Hubby and I hit the road again with Bubba, our son to visit St. Margaret Mary Alacoque's fish fry last night. SMMA was pretty busy, so we had to park near the church to get into the fish fry. As we walked around to the fish fry entrance, we noticed the sign that SMMA has a drive-thru lane for fish fry pickup, which explains why we saw people hanging in the left lane as we drove back to more parking.

We arrived just after 5PM, so there was a crowd, but the lines moved quickly enough. SMMA segregates the lines for dine-in and carryout, so this should get you moving reasonably quickly if you're in a hurry. Just remember, crowds vary, so take this into account. Lots and lots of kids in attendance, with parents and grandparents. It's a good family crowd if you're thinking of bringing yours.

SMMA offers cod squares, cod loins, shrimp and baked tilapia. Dinners for adults eating in are approximately $7.50 or more and include drinks (lemonade, coffee or iced tea) and dessert. Kids are $5.50-$6. Our baked tilapia included one hot side (green beans, spaghetti or fries) and our choice of cold sides, which included two types of cole slaw, beets, applesauce, or tossed salad. Note: you can pretty much mix and match your cold sides on your plate, since these are self serve items. Beer is also available from concession stand at the entrance.

After we paid, we got our order sheet with our family's order and headed to the line. We found a seat, with Dave, one of the SMMA Fryers folks (you can't miss them in their navy shirts) and he told us about his prep work for the fish fry. He and his wife, Norma, let us in on a few of the amenities at the parish center, including the 1/16 mile indoor track over the gym. We ate, talked some more, and thanked him for the info.

SMMA was also hosting a girls basketball game, so Hubby and Bubba watched that for a while. After that, we let Bubba loose on the track to do a couple of laps. It's a great way to get kids to burn off that excess energy.

Atmosphere, amenities: A+
Food: A
Price: A

Reviewed February 29, 2008

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