“The Chippy- Fish and Chips” 2222 Michelson Dr. #216 Irvine, CA 92612
I am guilty of occasionally craving deep-fried food, also known as “Friedaphilia” (this is not a real condition, nor do I play a Doctor on T.V.). When I get this craving, I usually want something really good. When I say good, I am not referring to cryogenically frozen mystery meat, I am referring to fresh ingredient fried in hot oil. Fried food doesn’t have to be the freak-show of the culinary world when it is made with love, style and fresh ingredients it can be a mouthful of heaven.
I went to England twice in 2010 and during both of my stays there I was stricken with “friedaphilia”. To your blogger’s luck, I happened to be in the birthplace of Fish and Chips, the “King of all Fried Foods”. Although the origins of fish and chips is under some debate, especially in pubs, it is generally considered that the first fish and chip vendor originated near London in the early 1800’s. By the mid 1860’s, Fish and Chips vendors became a staple in British Culture and vague references to it was made by author Charles Dickens. Modern day fish and chip shops in Great Brittain are commonly called the Chippy or Chipper. But yet again I digress…
There I was in my office experiencing a little “friedaphilia” on a Friday afternoon. My English colleagues had told me tales of an authentic fish and chips shop in one of the local food courts, called the “The Chippy”. I also remember seeing a tweet from OC Weekly saying that it was one of the best fish and chips in Orange County. So a short walk led me to the “Palm Café Food Court”, located 2222 Michelson Dr. #216 Irvine, CA 92612. For those who have read my previous food blogs, it is located next to the OCWineMart.
Even though The Chippy had a diminutive spot in the food court, it was popular with a line wrapping around the court. First thing I noticed was the cook make the fish and chips from scratch. As someone ordered the food, the cashier would tell the customer that it will be just a few minutes and then call out to the cook the order. Next the cook would pull out a couple of pieces of white fish (probably Haddock or Pollack) from the fridge, hand-dipped it in batter, and individually drop the fish into the oil. Made to order and not frozen!!!! Things were shaping up! There was also a sign on the countertop that said they use Zero Trans-fat oil, my conscience sighed in relief. I ordered the two piece combo, which came with fries “chips” and a medium soda for $8.65. After about 8 minutes I was eating.
The appearance of the fish was light golden-brown with a light and crispy battered crust. The fish fillet had nice sharp peaks and valleys of fried batter and This dish was still piping hot; it was so warm that my cell-phone got greasy from the steam as I was taking pictures! The fish filets were of a good girth, 1 ½ inches and respectable length 7 inches (that’s what she said).
When I broke the fillet open, the fish had a very bright white color and the juices rushed out of it’s deep-fried cage. I aroma of fried oils, fish and potatoes was pleasant and made me want to eat more. When I placed the fish in my mouth, it has a crispy feel on the tongue and overall firmness. The batter was rich in flavor, but did not dominate the overall flavor. I was able to taste the savory and sweetness of firm whitefish and it was complimented by a rich batter, a very good execution. The flavor and texture definitely reminded me of the fish and chips I tried in England. The major difference is that London fish filets had their skin still attached, battered skin and all. Also the cuts of fish were more carnal in England, usually the full side of fish, minus head and tail. It looks like they slightly tamed the dish for American preferences. None-the-less the flavors were spot on in comparison.
I should have ordered a single fish fillet and chips as I was feeling full after the first fillet and a handful of chips. They actually had a decent menu including fish and shrimp, fish sandwich, chicken sandwich ,po’boys, and fried seafood combos and for the more health conscious salads, grilled chicken, and grilled seasonal fish.
My Final Thoughts
Overall, the Fish and Chips were excellent. I felt good about eating the dish because it used fresh ingredients, it was made to order, and was fried in zero trans-fat oil! Bonus! I gave this dish a 4 on my scale of 1-5, meaning I will come back here often just to order their fish and chips and will recommend it to friends.
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