Chances are it’ll never come up, but if I ever have to list the three best things about when I was 10 and my family lived in England, they will be: castles, fish and chips.
We’re talking real fish and chips — hunks of batter-dipped cod and thick-sliced potato spears.
These fish and chips were fried fast as the back of a shack by the fisherman who’d caught the fish earlier in the day.
They were served so hot that even after I’d lugged an armload wrapped in butcher paper and newsprint home and my mother had opened the bundle and apportioned its contents, steam hissed from the fish when I broke through the crispy batter.
Being exposed to the real thing at such a tender age left me with a lasting aversion to what American restaurants try to pass off as fish and chips.
It would seem a simple order. Get fish. Make batter. Cut spuds. Fry it all. But most eateries find a way to screw it up. A dish with all the character of fish sticks and Tater Tots seems the norm.
That’s what makes the Tower of London, at 420 N.W. Third St., such a pleasure. The Tower’s fish and chips are the only American fish and chips I’ve found that match the English version I remember.
The Tower of London may be long gone, but McMenamins Corvallis stands tall in its place. Feel free to order the Alehouse fish and chips.