Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. As we drive back from the beach, our skin tight from laying in the sun all day, hair still damp from salty ocean water and sand clinging between sunscreen-slicked fingers and toes we pull off the Belt Parkway and drive along Emmons Avenue. The smell of salt water still fills my head.
Driving along the bay, restaurant after restaurant, across from the fishing boats that take you on day trips is Roll ‘N’ Roaster.
The place looks like it hasn’t changed a single thing since the day it opened. I love places like that. To some they may look tattered and old, but to me there is history in those places… Stories to be told. Every person I’ve ever talked to about this particular place has stories of going there as a child and the first thing they say is “It looks like it did when I was young”.
The plastic bench seats, the Formica tabletops, the dangling heat lamps. All the same.
There is comfort in that, in things not changing. So many things in the world change at such a rapid pace we can barely keep up. You buy a new cell phone and six months later, there is a new, better version of it hitting the market with lines of people wrapped around city blocks camping out to get it.
I like my old things. They are worn and weathered, but there is history there. There are memories attached to those old things, those old places.
Stories of going there with parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles… Maybe that is partly why I loved going there so much. There was a story with every visit, it was part of a ritual and it was almost always, after the beach.
The order, however, never changes: roast beef sandwich, corn fritters and orangeade.
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 - 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- oil for frying (canola or peanut suggested; roughly 2 quarts, depending on size of pot)
- In a deep, heavy pot, heat oil to 350 - 360 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg, buttermilk and melted butter together. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and whisk to combine.
- Stir in corn kernels.
- Carefully drop batter into hot oil by the spoonful or using a small cookie scoop. Drop as close to the surface of the oil as possible to avoid a splash. The corn will "pop" a bit causing the oil to spatter, so be careful when turning fritters in the oil.
- Let fritters cook until golden brown, turning them every so often so they brown all over. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon (or spider) and set on a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil.
- Serve immediately, preferably with an ice cold beer and a sweet & spicy dipping sauce.
- - crumbled bacon
- - crab
- - bell peppers
- - cheese
- - lobster
- - hot peppers