Thursday, January 28, 2016
Ted's Fish Fry: Guilderland Outpost. Some Fish Fry Rambling W/Bonus Lamenting on the State of the Local Mini-Dog Scene.
You know those "Capital Region Savings" coupon books that come in the mail all the time? I love them. Go ahead and flip through one. There is kitsch comedy gold in there from time to time. Some of our local independent eateries put delightfully bad examples of food photography in their ads. So I was looking for some of that in the one that arrived yesterday, but something else caught my eye.
Mini-dogs? At Ted's Fish Fry? I made haste to the new Guilderland location to see what is afoot.
I am beginning to see a local trend. Lot's of rando local food establishments (not dedicated hot dog joints) are suddenly throwing mini-dogs on the menu (Chester's for example). This seems to be a side affect of the "local" craze in modern marketing. As if throwing mini-dogs on the menu gives a restaurant a certain level of Capital Region street cred. I don't like this trend at all...
I may be overstating my influence, but I shudder to think that my years of evangelizing about our local mini dogs via this hack blog have contributed to this fad. When I started spewing my drivel mini-hot dogs were decidedly uncool. Now they seem to have achieved some sort of hip/ironic status.
This is awful and makes me want to puke. Our local hot dog joints (Charlie's, Gus's, Famous, Del'z , et al...) are very special indeed and should be protected at all costs. All this proliferation weakens the brand somehow I think. To keep from being too pessimistic I am telling myself that the product of the dedicated joints will shine when compared to the unstudied imitations... Sigh...
Anyhow, with some trepidation I got two of the little bastards with the works from Ted's.
You know what? They weren't actually awful. Pretty traditional, but sort of bland. The sauce was under salted and needed some pop. A little cayenne or something perhaps. I will say the dogs did lack the godawful "pie-spice" flavor that a lot of cut-rate hot dog purveyors seem to inflict on their hot dog sauces. For a fish-fry joint, this is really not a bad attempt at this hot dog style.
I broke my superstition concerning eating mini hot in even numbers because I also wanted to cram a fish-fry down my cake hole (I am turning into a horrible glutton). I figure that having eaten 3 things on buns I am in the clear as far as bad juju goes.
I don't think I have ever written about actual "fish-fry" (I did write a quick post about Bob n' Ron's). This is surprising as I have gone on about most other indigenous area foodstuffs... I was thinking about this the other day in concert with another regional food that I have never written about -- Brook's Chicken (and Cornell Chicken in general).
I think the explanation for this is that fish-fry and church chicken were so ubiquitous during my youth that I just never considered that I needed to post about them. My mom was an Irish Catholic who grew up with the Lenten fish tradition and carried it into adulthood. She used to get "fish-fry" all the time and it was just a normal part of life for me. Same thing with Brook's chicken. They would come to the church up the road from me all the time and we would have the chicken. Again, the chicken was just part of life.
So here I am posting about fish fry. I owe a post about Cornell chicken too, but that will have too wait.
Here is a Ted's fish-fry --
I always forget how much I like these ridiculous things! A piping hot, foot long, strangely skinny piece of fish jammed into a hot dog bun. They are so good. Although (the now defunct) Bob n' Ron's was the fish fry of my childhood, I declare that Ted's makes a goddamn beautiful example of a fish-fry.
I like to break the ends off and shove them into the sides of the bun. Then I slather on as much of the weird sweet chili sauce as the bun/fish can hold. I then eat the whole thing in about 5 bites. You have to eat a fish-fry quick as the sandwich really sings when it is at a temperature just below mouth burning.
I like Ted's Fish Fry and I think the Guilderland spot will do just fine. They have a nicely varied menu--
-- and seemed to be doing a brisk business for lunch. People like Ted's and they have a pretty good reputation locally. Nice people, good food, history... All of that stuff. I am actually pretty excited about having a Ted's relatively close. Fish-fry is a nice treat, and for some reason never fails to elevate my normally dismal mood.
Also, you get a bonus at the Guilderland Ted's. You can have flashbacks to when the building was a Wendy's with the weird Taco/Pasta/Salad bar thing. I used to make taco meat/nacho cheese spaghetti there when I was a kid...