The Frying Scotsman – Fish and Chips

I feel so unfortunate that I work out in Beaverton instead of downtown where there is such bounty of food. I rarely enjoy a food cart meal, and only if I make special plans and block time on my work calendar for it. But, as it was a morning meeting only Friday before a long Independence Day Holiday weekend, I made some time, specifically I had an interest for fish and chips.

If you come after 1:30, it’s a totally different atmosphere at the Alder Street Carts- the rush is gone as everyone is back to their offices, and you can take the time to chat with the owners without bumping elbows with people who fill the sidewalks. Some carts may run out of certain ingredients depending on how much they are slammed- I saw 808 Grinds had several “Sold Out” stuck on their menu… though even with the many people in front of Frying Scotsman so recently after their profile on Eat St on the Cooking Channel, they were still at the ready.

They fry everything fresh, so when you see the line in front of the Frying Scotsman cart to order, or the people gathered around waiting for their name to be called, take it in good stride. When I visited, his son was there to give a hand too- with the same lilting Scottish accent. They managed the rush well – everyone was in good spirits, sniffing the scent of fried fish and chips and anticipating.

The Frying Scotsman - Fish and Chips, food carts, Portland The Frying Scotsman - Fish and Chips, food carts, Portland

I had the large order of haddock and chips. A large is a lot of fish- 8 oz- enough for two people, two big chunks of fried fish filet laid on just enough chips, with one each of tartar sauce and cole slaw alongside.

The Frying Scotsman - Fish and Chips, food carts, PortlandThe Frying Scotsman - Fish and Chips, food carts, Portland

The chips are essentially large slices and wedges of potatoes that are crispy but firm on the inside and thick- they also give a side of tartar sauce which I didn’t want to use with the fish, but I did use with the fries now and then as the crispness started to wear off. The tartar sauce is ok- a bit too much mayo- the cole slaw was a better counterpoint in its tartness as opposed to the creamy heaviness of the tartar. Once in a while I would do a teeny forkful of their cole slaw as a palate cleanser so I could re-appreciate the flavors. I didn’t salt and pepper them when I got the potatoes and they come unseasoned. I saw plenty of others pouring a lot of ketchup- I had wanted to taste them as they were- but they do have several options of condiments to season your compostable container of fried goodness.

What makes the Frying Scotsman stand out and why they have such fervent followers is the authenticness James brings when you order from someone who is using a recipe passed through generations, and then, the taste of the batter coupled with the perfect execution of frying. The batter is golden brown and crisp without being greasy- but the fish inside was moist yet flaky. There was something about the batter that just tasted unique. You don’t want to get that something something lost in tartar sauce. As I was waiting in line and saw those before me open their fried treasure boxes, every single one looked equally golden and consistent.

The Frying Scotsman - Fish and Chips, food carts, Portland

I didn’t try for the dessert of the fried Mars Bar- I think eating the fish and chips already hit my “fried food” limit – but I think their batter could coat anything and make it tasty.


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