Category Archives: Seafood

Lemon-Dill Salmon

Still doing the Paleo thing. One surprising detail, butter is considered a no-no because of the milk solids, which sounded excessive but made sense for me on my quest to eliminate lactose. However, ghee, which is ‘clarified’ butter, is acceptable. I knew about ghee, a staple in Indian cooking, but I didn’t have time to make a trip down to the Indian groceries so I tried making my own. I was super impressed with the flavour; surprisingly nutty and rich, better than butter. Next time I’ll post the relatively straight-forward process for making ghee.

LemonDillSalmon1 LemonDillSalmon2
  • 1 1/2 pounds Salmon
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1 t Ground Black Pepper

Lemon-Dill Ghee

  • 3 T Ghee
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1-2 T Fresh Dill , chopped

Let the ghee come to room temperature then mix together ghee, dill and lemon zest and refrigerate again to harden up. Wash and pat dry the salmon. Lay the salmon in a baking dish and sprinkle the lemon juice on top, sprinkle salt and pepper on top of that. Scoop out pieces of the lemon dill ghee  and lay those across the salmon. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. I usually do about 6 minutes per 1/2 in of thickness measured from the thickest part of the fish. As always, after removing from the oven, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving; strange as it sounds this actually completes the cooking process.

LemonDillSalmon3 LemonDillSalmon4

Notes

Not changing a thing here, this is excellent. The ghee totally makes the dish, its sweet and nutty flavour pairing so well with the salmon, I can’t imagine using just butter. The lemon and dill are subtle but also pair extremely well!

 

Advertisements

Tampico

Two co-workers quit last week but they didn’t give any notice so I couldn’t leverage their exit for a work-lunch outing. Luckily someone let it slip that two other co-workers had birthdays, so I leveraged that to try another from my growing list of recommended restaurants.

Over the past year more of my younger friends in Houston have moved to the EaDo and Greater Heights neighbourhoods. Greater Heights has always been primarily a well-established Hispanic community but now the subway extension has afforded direct access to downtown combined with still reasonable real estate costs; its demographics are changing quickly. It’s probably why I’ve noticed more and more Instagram photos from this place, Tampico.

IMG_2004 IMG_2005

Its Mexican but not Tex Mex. Its also a seafood market. When you take into account both, you  can expect seafood dishes with a Mexican flair. Its developed a solid reputation for its Red Snapper, cooked whole with options of sauce.

Atmosphere
IMG_2007From the outside Tampico definitely stands out with its eye-popping yellow coat of paint. You’ll definitely need the yellow color as a beacon to guide you through maze of road construction. The inside is small, lined with booths and community tables and a small but well-appointed seafood counter, in case you want to pick your own Red Snapper. Its not fancy, its not a scene, its not on anyone’s buzz-list and its definitely geared for large families out for a casual, relaxing time and great food.

IMG_2011 IMG_2009

Food
You can get items other than seafood but in a restaurant with a fresh seafood counter why would you?

Shrimp Cocktail. Definitely get the small order if you are planning to order other items. A dozen or so medium sized gulf shrimp suspended in a tomato-based sauce laced with chipotle and lime; avocado slices are along for the ride. Refreshing, spicy and definitely on my short list for a return visit.

Red Snapper Mojo. It was hard to decide which sauce but the garlic-butter Mojo sauce seemed a good first dip. The whole snapper almost refused to be contained on their large serving platter. Garlic, onions, bell pepper and butter with just a hint of chili definitely enhanced the sweet and slightly nutty flavors of the fresh snapper without overwhelming. Our snapper was  over 2.5 pounds, so I would suggest +1 to share or be really hungry.

Service
It was slow but likely an artifact of being at capacity with several large groups and their kitchen looked painfully small. In any case, friendly, helpful and they enthusiastically answered all of our questions about sourcing and preparation.

Price
Reasonable. Small Shrimp Cocktail (which would be large elsewhere) $9. Red Snapper Mojo (enough for two) $29

Lunch: May 2014

Tampico | 2115 Airline | HTX 77009

 

Bar Harbor, Maine

I liked Bar Harbor, it had exceptional coastal scenery, a compact, quaint ‘downtown’ with a density of local crafts and eateries and its an ideal base from which you can explore other areas on Mount Desert Island.  The only negative was the regular cruise ships calling Bar Harbor a port of call. The ships’ water-hogging size destroy the coastal view and the regular herd of cruise tourists make the traffic and noise in an otherwise sedate town seem anachronistic.

BarHarbor5 BarHarbor17
BarHarbor18 BarHarbor2
BarHarbor30 BarHarbor25

Curiosity about Lobster Mac & Cheese got the better of me in Bar Harbor and any number of places proudly serve their versions. Side Street Cafe serves both full and half portions. I opted for the half with a side salad. I could only finish half of the half portion and was left wondering how any mere mortal could consume a whole portion in one sitting. The ultimate in richness, making Alfredo seems like dainty carrot sticks with no dipping sauce, it was macaroni tossed in a 4-cheese sauce, topped with butter-poached lobster. Of course it was good!

BarHarbor31 BarHarbor23

Dinner: 10 Oct 2013

Side Street Cafe | 49 Rodick | Bar Harbor ME 04609

Camden, Maine

Camden has incredible architecture and scenery. If you’re looking for a walkable city with 200 year old homes better preserved than most, then Camden is a destination. A native walking his dog gave me a mini tour of his historic neighbourhood, explaining that the small oval plaques on the front of the homes weren’t street numbers, they were the years the homes were built. I’m glad he cleared that up, it thought it odd so many homes had the same address and they weren’t numbered sequentially.

Camden2 Camden10
Camden5 Camden19

After a day hiatus from seafood, I was ready to dive in again; this time I was curious about fish chowder. The restaurant I had bookmarked had a 45 minute wait thanks to a cruise ship dumping its human contents all over the marina, so I walked further down the marina to Fresh. Glad about that.

Camden21 Camden20

The fish chowder was excellent; slightly creamy and savory with chunky potatoes and almost whole fillets of Haddock. I was also curious about the localvore salad of roasted butternut squash, blue cheese, micro kale and balsamic drizzle. Flavors were good but the warmth from the squash melted the blue cheese and made it gloppy which was definitely not a good texture play.

Dinner: 8 Oct 2013

Fresh | 1 Bay View Landing | Camden ME 04843

Ogunquit, Maine

After a 1-2 stop in Cape Neddick I made my way up to the village of Ogunquit. I was interested in Ogunquit only to see the scenery from Marginal Way, a mile walk around the coast which is always highly publicized in Maine travel references. While in Cape Neddick a fellow tourist mentioned that I should definitely try the Lobster Roll at Barnacle Billy’s in Ogunquit since I would be in the neighbourhood.

I’m sure Marginal Way is spectacular when the sun is out, but the rain and low clouds added a sense of mystery.

Ogunquit1 Ogunquit9
Ogunquit7 Ogunquit12

I took the advise of my fellow tourist about Barnacle Billy’s. Glad about that. In Maine there are restaurants and there are lobster pounds, the later being bare-bones establishments serving lobster on a plate and not much else. Billy’s is in-between; order at the counter, table delivery. What’s important to note is the Lobster Roll here is excellent. Whats a lobster roll? Take the meat from a whole lobster, toss in a small amount of mayo and spices, serve in toasted bread. Must be accompanied by chips and pickles; I’m fairly certain this is a state mandate. They cost  $18-20 everywhere and I suggest you have as many as possible while in Maine.

Ogunquit-BB1 Ogunquit-BB2

Lunch: 6 Oct 2013

Barnacle Billy’s | 70 Perkins Cove Rd | Ogunquit ME 03907

Manchester, NH

Manchester? New Hampshire?

Yes, exactly. When planning Maine trip I took a lot of criticism about my decision to fly into Manchester, NH rather than Portland or Bangor. ME. But the naysayers did not have all the facts and like most people armed with opinion only, they were unceremoniously ignored.

  • Flight to Manchester $249, Flight to Portland/Bangor $540
  • Car rental Manchester $240, Car rental Portland/Bangor $525

QED

I didn’t have much time in Manchester since I arrived late evening and was leaving early morning but I like the little of downtown I saw walking to dinner; narrow streets, typical New England architecture, everyone walks, the nightlife is dominated by students from several small colleges. I asked a gaggle of college kids where would be the best place to have dinner at 11pm. Answer, emphatically and unanimously was Red Arrow Diner.

Atmosphere
Diner extraordinaire. Built in 1922, it really hasn’t changed much except a little makeover when RedArrowit changed hands in the 80’s. Booths, Formica. Red vinyl swivel stools anchored at the long bar which takes up most of the space. Odd music from the 50’s through the 90’s blurts out over the rather animated crowd. There was an interesting situation two stools down when I arrived; it seems a patron refused to sign his credit card bill and would only initial it because some government people were tracking him through his signature. He was serious, loud and probably schizophrenic;  he was finally asked to leave after a 10 minute rant that made absolutely no sense.

The place has character.

Food
With 8 pages of menu, I punted and went with one of their “specialties”; Crabcake Bene. Its CrabBeneexactly that, Eggs Benedict with two rather generously sized crab cakes, which were mostly crab. Definitely fresh and definitely one of the best Benedicts I’ve had in a long time. Crispy English giving way to loads of fresh crab with a good dose of well-prepared, homemade Hollandaise. I like breakfast for dinner and since it was almost the next morning, it was serving a dual purpose as breakfast.

Service
I was impressed with the young man at the counter who was seating, taking orders, ringing out and trying to get the schizophrenic out before he went ballistic, all the while joking with me and giving me the history of the diner. My order was in and up in 20. Excellent.

Price
Crabcake Bene, side hash $9.50. I left a $5 tip for reasons already covered.

Dinner: 5 Oct 2013

Red Arrow Diner | 61 Lowell | Manchester NH 03101