Fritters have never enjoyed the spectacular PR of the doughnut, nor have they come close to the warm public opinion of funnel cakes and other deep-fried pastry-type foods.
This could be due to a few things. Nope, we're not going to say it is because the word "fritter" is often used to describe an act that wastes time or resources (though a public relations specialist might look into sweetening that connotation).
Rather, we'll guess that the fritter's propensity for being both sweet and savory has muddled up its identity in certain corners of the food world. Not every corner, mind you -- fritter fans abound -- but some foodies still scratch their heads over the chameleon-like cuisine. Do you stuff it with conch? Apples? Both? Sigh.
Perhaps National Fritter Day can help raise the fried, disc-shaped foodstuff's profile. It falls on Monday, Dec. 2, along about the time many of us have begun to think of sweets again (after that second helping of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving).
The only issue is the fritter is fairly uncommon on restaurant menus, meaning you need to know where to look.
You might look first at Messhall Kitchen, in Los Feliz, which promises a "Free Fritter with any meal (all day)" on Monday, Dec. 2. Good stuff. By the by, the home-food-y restaurant does corn fritters right, which sounds pretty good on a late fall day.
Conch fritters are a delicious Belizean staple, and several Southern California restaurants serve 'em up. Garlic, celery, and spices further solidfy the conch fritter's ruling of the savory end of the fritter scale, and a ketchup-based dipping sauce often completes the dish. Find them at Ella Belizean Restaurant on Western Avenue and Studio City's Sattdown Jamaica Grill.
And while free fritters will not necessarily be the order of the day, you can still buy some LA classics. The apple fritter at Bob's Donuts in the Original Farmers Market are little rave-garnering wonders. Well, not so little: The bumpily treats are moist on the inside, nay, wet, which translates to deliciousness. But whether they're shaped like UFOs, islands, clouds, or Australia will be up to your table to decide. (We agree with all of those assertions.)
Could you go corn, apple, and conch all in one day? You could. Are there other ingredients that might raise the fritter's profile even higher? Chefs of SoCal, please light up the fryers and make soft, chewy, deep-fried magic.