Monday, January 26, 2009

Ode to a Fish Fry

In Milwaukee, the most popular way to welcome the weekend is to attend a fish fry. It really is a tradition in this city, as evidenced by the cover of the most recent issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

What is a fish fry? As I understand it, fish fries started as a Lenten observance among Catholics when they abstained from meat each Friday. It has since morphed into a year round secular activity, community pastime and defining feature of Milwaukee (and most of Wisconsin). Go to any local restaurant or tavern on a Friday, and you will find fish on the menu.

Now, what to expect at a typical Milwaukee fish fry. First – no matter where you go there will be LOTS of people. It’s likely that you will have to wait in a long line surrounded by business people, students, factory workers and families with little children. The wait is fine though because everyone is in a good mood. Second – seating is often at a large table and you will probably sit with total strangers. No problem, it's part of the fun. Third – the food. There’s fish (perch, walleye, cod), potato (mashed, pancake, french fried), bread (rye, white) and coleslaw. Fourth – the entertainment is always quality (even if it’s a little hokey) and sometimes there’s dancing.

So … with all of this in mind, the following pictures are of last Friday when I went with Nora and Spencer to Lakefront Brewery for their Friday Fish Fry.

I had to wait for "my party" before being seated. This is how Nora and Spencer found me, just inside the door.

The polka band. Imagine us eating while singing the refrain "E-I-E-I-E-I-O." I'm laughing just writing about it.

There were lots of people out dancing ...
... but Nora and Spencer preferred to listen.

At last the food came, and it was very good. (I had the perch with potato pancakes.)

Done eating, Nora and I posed in front of some Cream City Brick that the building is made out of.

Good night Milwaukee! See you next Friday!

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