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Friday, July 27, 2007

Thing 53: Eamonn's

I woke up this morning with a fried fish hangover.

Did you think that was possible? I sure didn't. And yet, I woke up this morning tired, thirsty and with a raging headache. Hungover. And with only one beer under my belt from the night before, but enough fried foods to fatten up even Nicole Richie.

Was it worth it? Oh, yes.

Eamonn's Exterior on King StreetLast night, Jessica and I went to Eamonn's, in Old Town. Jessica works around the corner from the place, and yet somehow had never managed to go. I deeply a covet a trip to Restaurant Eve, but can more easily afford Eamonn's -- both restaurants are owned and operated by the same couple, Chef Cathal Armstrong and his wife Meshelle, and are each named for their children, Eve and Eamonn. Whereas Eve is probably one of the best restaurants in the area (just take a look at their tasting menu, and then send me a gift certificate, please!), Eamonn's is but a simple chipper, with a basic menu of delicious fried Irish and British specialties.

"Thanks be to Cod" is written on the glass of the front door. Indeed. The menu is simple. Fried fish (cod, ray or fish of the day, which was yellow tail yesterday). Chips, hand cut, twice fried, small or large. Seven house made dipping sauces. And something called the 'batter burgher' and the 'batter sausage' which I'm hoping means a battered and deep fried burger or hot dog. Sides of coleslaw, English-style "mushy peas" and baked beans. Three kinds of bottle beer and Guinness on tap.

Jessica and I had both come from the gym, and it was already past eight when we arrived. Which is to say, we were really hungry, which may account in part for the fried foods hangover the next day. We ordered a LOT of food. A gorgeous piece of cod for me, small chips, curry sauce, traditional tartar sauce and a Harp. Cod for her, a large chips, Marie Rose sauce and a Harp.

Thanks be to Cod.We doused our chips in malt vinegar, laid out our sauces and got to work. The fish is battered and fried to a beautiful, greasy, golden brown, the coating crunchy, the fish inside purest white, flaky and meaty and fresh. Piping hot. Dip it in curry sauce and oh....the curry sauce is the only non-mayonnaise based sauced, served hot and so you are asked to order it with your meal. It is a rich, dark, mustardy yellow, so fragrant with spicy sweet, I joked that I would drink the leftover. Actually, I nearly did:

I would drink this curry sauce. No, really.And I very nearly took the leftover sauce home to cook with in some capacity, but didn't think it could survive the metro ride home in my purse. Oh sweet curry sauce, how I long for thee!

So we dipped and ate, dipped and ate. The tartar sauce was creamy and delicious. I wasn't a huge fan of the Marie Rose, a mayonnaise base with sun dried tomatoes and nicoise olives, mostly because I didn't like the bitterness of the olives with the fish -- too overpowering. The fries were crispy and dark brown, thick and long, twice fried as all the best fries are meant to be. (Side note -- a really good fry must be twice fried, once at a low heat to cook the potato all the way through, and then again at a high heat to crisp and brown the outside. There is much writing on the science and method behind the french fry. It is something I have studied). Are these the best fries? I'd still stand behind the fries from Amsterdam Falafel. But these ones are definitely a pleasure.

Chips.  Malt Vinegar.  Harp.  Heaven.And then we sat, digesting. We dissected Britney's and LiLo's latest antics, discussed the minutiae of our relationships and professional lives, and mulled over the idea of crabs in Annapolis. You see, we were waiting. We were waiting for the food to settle so that we could eat...A DEEP FRIED MILKY WAY BAR! (da da dum!).

Holy cow, people. Holy cow. HOLY. COW. Now, I had heard of the fried Mars bar when I lived in England. One of my best friends at the time was Glaswegian (and yes, that is what people from Glasgow call themselves, and yes, it is the funniest word I know). He swore by the fried Mars bar, but for some reason, I was reluctant. I think because it sounded like the worst thing a person could put into their body. But, six years later and still thinking about the possibility, it is a regret of mine that I'd never indulged. I'd like to think of myself as more of a culinary adventurer, both low- and high-brow.

So how exciting that I could finally try one out at Eamonn's. For dessert the menu is, again, very straightforward. Milky Way. Snickers. Banana. Dough Balls. All deep fried. I ordered the Milky Way.
A deep fried Milky Way.  It doesn't look too exciting.It arrived a fairly unexciting tube of deep fried dough, dusted in cinnamon sugar. We cut it in half, and went for it.

Fried and melted chocolate, caramel and nougat.People, this is one of the greatest things I've ever eaten. RUN! don't walk to Eamonn's and eat this. (And you may also want to run back. And then around the block several times. And then over the gym. Delicious? Yes. Healthy? Are you kidding?) The candy bar completely melts in the fryer, so what you end up with is a shell of sweet fried dough, with a viscous, gooey, chocolate/caramel/nougat filling. I guarantee a state of eyes-closed, finger-licking, sugar-coma, bliss:

Bliss.
Now, as you can tell, this was a tremendous amount of fried foods, and it is no surprise I was hungover the next day from all the grease. Having never been there, Jessica and I did not have a proper game plan. So if you are reading this and have never been to Eamonn's, learn from our mistakes, and stick to the following suggestions:

  1. If there are two of you, order a small fish, and a small chips, to share. I cannot stress this enough. It's filling food. You don't need a lot of it to satisfy you. If there is only one of you, order a small fish and a small chips, and use all of your willpower to only eat half.
  2. Order the curry sauce. Maybe even two of them. Bring it home with you. Make some kind of spectacular rice dish with the rest of it for lunch the next day.
  3. You know how you just split a small fish and small chips? So you wouldn't be too full? That's so that you can order an entire fried candy bar for yourself. Be greedy. It's worth every single indulgent calorie.
  4. Visit the gym the next day.
  5. Repeat.

11 comments:

DC Sarah said...

Ok. Is it sad that I literally wanted to dive into the screen and cram that milky way bar into my mouth. I will need to make my way to Old Town VERY soon. VERY SOON. YUM.

Matthew said...

I'm from Manassas and have eaten at Eamonn's more than a few times. Their fried food is unparalleled by any other in the area. Cant wait to go back.

(P.S. this is a really great local blog that i've been to several times and just thought you might be interested: i'm writing from the local desk at thenewsroom.com where we provide free news content to be used by local blogs)

dc365 said...

DC Sarah - If you couldn't tell, I would be a VERY willing dining companion if you want to go before the Boy gets back.

Matthew - I know your boss. I will put in a good word for you.

anny said...

j'ai cru que j'allais me sentir mal en lisant la description de ce que tu avais mangé! Je préfère aller à la tarte flambée avec ta maman et ta tante demain soir. Tu nous manques ici, à bientôt j'espère, au moins par mail, bons baisers

DC Sarah said...

Oh GOOD! I told him about it today....and he wasn't as gung-ho about going as I thought he would be. In fact, I think his exact reaction was "nah". It pains me. So......Let's go! Cheers!

Matt said...

Speaking of food...Saw you're a fan of the Jamaican food in Petworth.

There's going to be a big Jamaican celebration in DC this week in honor of the country's 45th year of independence, August 3 - 5 featuring lots of free food, music and artwork on display.

Fri., Aug 3 @ Zanzibar on the Waterfront: Jamaica Night Featuring Bare Essentials Band

Sun., Aug 5 @ Gardens of the Organization of American States
17th St. & Constitution Ave. NW
Independence Sunday Market with Jamaican food, art, and craft on sale; Special guest Shaggy, John Holt, Bob Andy, Oscar B, Bare Essentials, Image Band, DJ Sprang and Jamaican Jerry D as MC

Golden Silence said...

Wow...oh-so-bad-for-you fried food, but tasty at the same time!

I must make a trip back to Old Town some time to check it out! I've always been looking for a place with good fried fish.

OldTownie said...

You have certainly inspired a trip to Eamonn's tonight. Thanks for the heads up about the curry sauce.

dc365 said...

Anny - moi aussi je prefere la tarte flambee, mais on en a pas ici! Gros bisous.

DC Sarah - give me a minute to recover from my last trip, and we'll head on down.

Matt - looks fab! I will try and make at least one of the events. Are you connected in some way to this festival?

Golden Silence - Good fried fish is what they have, in abundance. The fish stays incredible firm and moist after its trip to the fryer. Let me know how you like it!

Oldtownie - mmmmm, curry sauce. I just have this vision of a next-day lunch of basmati rice, that curry sauce, and maybe raisins and chicken. Mmmmm.

OldTownie said...

I managed to get the curry sauce home, and used it over some tuna and jasmine rice. No raisins, but still delicious.

dc365 said...

Yes, oldtownie, you have exactly the right idea. Oh boy how I need to go back!!