Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Rude Awakening

I’ve heard that when you spend too much time anticipating an event, it’s inevitable that it won’t live up to your expectations. That said, this was the case in regards to our recent visit to Sacred Heart in Eureka. I blame our sub-par experience on bad food, high prices and rude staff.

That’s why I’ve compiled the below list of things parishes should NOT do in order to encourage repeat customers. Including:

Don’t burn multiple batches of fish and then continue to serve it to diners who paid $13 for all-you-can-eat fish

Don’t assign your most rude and socially awkward parishioner to serve as the maĆ®tre d’. There’s no reason to make visitors feel unwelcome, especially when they’ve traveled from far away lands such as Kansas City, Chicago and South City to dine at your “establishment.”

Don’t enlist parishioners to direct traffic to the very back of the parking lot, if they’re just going to let their buddies pull into the open spot in the front row. I didn’t see a handicap tag on that sedan.

Don’t yell at a fish fry blogger’s sister when she attempts to alert you that the water pitchers are empty. You know who you are.

Don’t turn out the lights when 30 people are still seated at tables, visiting with one another. Karma will come back and bite you...you feel that one?

In the end, the company was great, and the food was not terrible. However, after waiting a full year and paying almost $13 to partake in the popular Eureka fry (yes, I said popular when referring to Eureka), the food and service would have to measure up to the likes of Red Lobster to meet my expectations.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 10 fish patties

For the record, anyone who says this review was negatively swayed by the fact that the Pastor at Sacred Heart almost failed my sister in high school religion class, you’d be wrong. She slacked off and slept through most of the classes - she deserved the D.

A Sign Of The Times

As fore mentioned earlier in the season, it seems fish fries are coming back in style. No, not since CNN recently reported from the fry at St. Cecilia’s, and not even because I write this incredibly entertaining and educational blog, but the true sign of the times is fish tacos.

Some fellow fish fry attendees may have noticed this year the ever-evolving menus. Gone are the days of fried cod patties and bland green beans; diners are now offered grilled fish specialties and fried mac’n’cheese bites.

Our recent trip to St. Stephen’s in South City opened my eyes to just how creative some parishes are getting to bring customers in the door. The South City parish offers a wide variety of fish dishes, sides, desserts, beer and wine. They even raffle off sweet attendance prizes, such as patchwork quilts, house plants and doodads.

The fish tacos, new to the menu last week, were surprisingly tasty, and the grilled tilapia received good scores as well. The line moved fast, wait staff was pleasant and Grandma gave the pink zinfandel two thumbs up. I give them bonus points for the generous portions and hush puppies.

Overall rating: 9 out of 10 fish patties

Friday, April 3, 2009

Illinois Bureau: Great Entertainment; Edible Food

This past Friday we traveled a little bit off of the beaten path by visiting the St. Ambrose/Knights of Columbus fry in Godfrey. For those of you that are unfamiliar, the Village of Godfrey represents the northernmost limit of the STL metro area. This event was hosted by St. Ambrose but is held at a brand new K of C facility.

Although very busy, the wait time was pretty much average and we had our food within 10 minutes. Unfortunately seating was scarce and our choice of fish was limited to buffalo or whitefish by the time we arrived. Sides were plentiful though and included green beans and onion rings for a change. A standard platter was served with tea or coffee.

On a weird note, when you walked up to the iced tea dispenser a man actually operated the tapper for you! I guess nobody is to be trusted with that kind of high-tech equipment?

A nice surprise at this fry was the 5-piece band that was playing some really old school dance tunes. I particularly liked the old guy that played the trombone! The food ended up being edible but not great, and desert choices were sort of weak. I would suggest arriving early at this popular fry to maximize your experience.

Overall Rating 6.5 out of 10 Crab Cakes