Several years ago, my wife and I headed out for a post-Pumpkin Fest pancake breakfast at Stuart and Johns, a relatively nearby maple sugar house and dairy farm with a large group of friends…. we did the same thing again this morning. Our second trip (being out-of-towners). Our friends’ much more frequent haunt.
The atmosphere was simple – folding tables, paper plates, plastic utensils. It kind of felt like a church breakfast, but with waitstaff. The menu was also simple – pancakes, french toast and fritters – essentially items that existed solely for the deliverance of NH maple syrup.
On our first visit, I saw fritters on the menu and didn’t bother to read ahead. Decision made! (Hadn’t had those since I was a kid, and I remember loving them). The waitress informd me that they were out.
Ok :(… I”ll have pancakes then.
Halfway into my stack, drowing in mapley goodness… the waitress came back over to me, with one lone fritter in a paper bowl.
“We found one fritter” she said, placing it down before me.
“Thanks” I said.
She walked away, we all looked down at the bowl, and at each other “What do you mean, she FOUND one? – Like on the floor underneath the fryer?”
Much to my delight, and everyone’s amusement, I ate it anyway. It was good. Crunchy and warm. Everything I hoped for (save 4 or 5 others on my plate.)
Some time later, I bought a box of “Perfect Fritter” in the natural foods aisle, but haven’t bothered to make them after all these years… biding my time for a trip back to Stuart & Johns (perhaps subconsciously).
Cut to two-and-a-half weeks ago, day 5 of our week long Bermuda cruise to be exact. After reading that fritters were one of the local delicacies I quickly found them on my lunch plate, right next to the other local delicacy, fish chowder. Except these weren’t your normal corn fritters. No, the Bermudians dig on the conch fritters – perhaps akin to the clam fritters I’d seen on the menu as a child down on the Cape and would never dare try.
The conch fritters were fantastic! I even liked the curry mayonaise they were served with – that was the bigger surprise for me. Another restaurant used tartar sauce. Ketchup would have worked too. The fish chowder was also fantastic… thought it might be too hot with the addition of the local sherry peppers sauce… but it was perfect. The rum didn’t hurt either. I ended up buying a local cookbook (as well as the same rum, and pepper sauce) so I could recreate these treats back home. Thankfully both companies are online, so I won’t fear running out – no need for a “too good to use shelf” yet.
So this morning, fresh fritter memory in mind, I was determined to have me a heaping plateful of the corn variety – no way was I waiting several years for some more of these. I ordered them as my main dish, not merely a side order.
The first one was good. Crunchy on the outside, cakey, with whole pieces of corn on the inside. I must say though, they started to get somewhat “plain” – dense, like poundcake, and just barely undercooked.
The crispy/savoriness and variety of ingredients in the conch fritters has replaced the corn fritter in my heart. Today’s fare was more like a donut hole by comparison. Good, but relegated back to a mere side dish.
Next time I’m having breakfast closer to the ocean, I may give the clam ones a shot… That or we’ll be Bermuda bound, and enjoy the real thing!