Several weeks ago, My Man took me out to eat. Now this isn’t exactly a rare occasion, but definitely rare enough to be a treat.
We went to a place that mom and dad have been recommending for years – The Haysville Fish Company, a little hole in the wall, mom and pop joint. I must admit, I wasn’t dying to go there when they mentioned it. I love holes in the wall for sure, but fish? Ok, I’ve developed a pretty serious like for fish in my adult life, but going to a place that serves just fish? I have flashbacks…
…we are sitting in grandma and grandpa’s tiny kitchen – me, my grandparents and parents, a couple sisters and a scattering of cousins – all crammed around two card tables. Fresh back from a fishing trip at the farm pond, our catch of bass and catfish sizzle on the stove, battered and prepared in grandma’s southern Alabama fashion. The scene is classic. The memory is precious. But the smell…ugh. And the taste??? Like drinking pond water I always said. (I guess I don’t really know what pond water actually tastes like, except eating pond bass and catfish is what I always imagined the water to taste like.) Nuthin’ but fish for supper. We had caught a lot of fish. There wasn’t enough Ranch dressing to drown out that taste.
Well, back to the present day. We went to this Fish Company restaurant, and I was a little timid about the outcome.
Oh. My. It was good. I mean, real good. And the ambiance? (Don’t you just love the word ambiance?) Classic. The “menu” was multiple sheets of paper, typed and handwritten, taped to the wall. The owner took the orders up front, made suggestions of his favorites, called people by name when they came in, answered the phone, gave the order to the lone chef in the back and served the order in a styrofoam box. You want a drink? Here’s a cup. Water pitcher is in the corner. And don’t be in a hurry while you’re there. All that work takes a long time for one owner and his lone chef. But the results are amazing and worth it.
The hush puppies…oh, the hush puppies. That is the first time I’ve actually liked them, nay, LOVED them. And, yes, the fish was pure yumminess too.
Serves me right for driving by that place year after year with memories of pond fish haunting me. I have learned my lesson and will step out of the box sooner next time…I hope.