by Alice Levitt
370 Shelburne Rd., Burlington, 802-652-9828
There are things that you eat because they're good for you and will make you feel good. Then there are meals that you know your body will regret, but the delicious memories will live on, even as you're walking into the light. Union Jack's, in the same Burlington shopping center as Waterfront Video, has both options. But who are you kidding? You want the latter and so do I.
That is why, when you go to Union Jack's, you will order the fish and chips (right). The haddock is meaty, but tender and flaky, with nary a hint of fishy taste. The batter is a crispy cloud of greasy beer flavor.
The slab of fish sits atop enough chubby, crunchy little fries to feed at least two people. All of it is wonderful dipped into the malt vinegar you'll find in bottles, along with ketchup, by the drink fountain. Even better, order the curry sauce.
Last night was my first time doing so. The slightly creamy, tomato-based sauce was clearly based on Indian curries. When paired with the fried fish and chips, though, it became a glorious substitute for my favorite Japanese fried pork chop with curry sauce. Heavenly.
Of course, I can't live on fried food alone, and neither should you. Union Jack's doesn't offer any salads or slaws to go with the fish and chips, so don't expect to get your day's roughage there. However, if you're looking for a lunch that won't make you feel too bad about yourself, or necessitate a nap, I recommend the turkey cranberry club panini.
All the breads are baked in house and at any given time, there are usually half a dozen choices, not including wraps. I chose honey oat, topped with its fair share of crunchy oats, to pair with the sliced-to-order turkey and sweet and tangy cranberry relish. The tomatoes were a bit crunchy, but sweet, too. Beneath the turkey I found some unexpected bacon and cheese — it wasn't listed on the menu, but the smoky element certainly added to the sandwich.
I took most of the panino home because I had to save room for dessert. Not just any dessert. A deep-fried chocolate chip cookie.
When Union Jack's first introduced its fish and chips, I made a video in which owner Shelley Cleveland and I experimented with frying various desserts in the hot oil. The store's very own homemade chocolate chip cookies were some of the most successful experiments. They're still not on the menu, but if you call ahead, you can get one of these delicious little heart attacks.
During its quick bath in the fryer, cookie and batter become one — a crispy, melty, chocolaty, nutty dessert orgasm. You know you want it. I'm still feeling a little hungover, but it was worth it.