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Everything posted by johnnyd

  1. OK! Let's Eat... We were a four-top, sat on time by the window overlooking the Pier which was cool. The place was mobbed. As you know the open kitchen plan is an appealing feature, but I can still smell the smoke on my clothes a day later. Never got a chance to interact w/bartender but when I went out for a smoke between courses I peeked through the window and saw a fully occupied bar, mostly couples, looking happy and well attended by a tall, shiny-pated dude with a winning smile. Same guy? I don't see SamH tolerating anyone who alienates his customers so maybe that jerk you spoke of is done. The ladies had House Salads, I had Grilled Sardines which only made me miss the real beach shack fare of the Algarve, but I had to try 'em. My chum from England, a big fan of anything edible (and drinkable) had seared Monkfish Liver which I thought spot-on. Eliot ordered a Vouvray which was perfect. Entrees were all spectacular... except mine: Like an idiot, I ordered Hanger Steak M/Rare and it was like rubber. My Wife was laughing cuz I make a really good Hanger myself, so what-up-wit-choo 2nite, boyfriend? She had an amazing Duck, Amy had - she boasted - the best scallops she's ever had, and E had the tuna. I'd elaborate on the method but we were well into a third bottle of wine by the time our food came (reasonable wait) and things got, um, more and more silly. One thing is when A asked if the scallops were local our server said yes (they were huge hockey pucks too), "but not diver scallops... they don't do that anymore, it's too dangerous," (Okay, the servers out there know you've got a little wiggle room on the truth about the specials. The odds that a former scallop/urchin diver was at the receiving end of that line of crap are infintesimal, but it happened, and I know the guys who are still diving and yes, it is dangerous, and yes, I still wince at the bump on my shin where my wife kicked me when she saw me start to squirm when I heard that server LIIIIIE TTOOOOOO MMEEEEE !!!!! ) Fore Street placed a plate of BRabe and Mashed in the middle for us to share, which made the main presentation more striking, and allows each to decide to what extent their sides are applied to the main course. A nice touch, I thought. I stole the Dessert/Cheese/Port and DWine list which look delicious enough to go back tonight and finish our meal. In conclusion, we had a pretty good time and all was tasty and I'd eat there in a jiffy, especially if someone else was paying for it! SKEETER: I think my critique is little lacking, but we were having too much fun to pay too close attention! I'd be happy to detail the dessert list for you in an email, just let me know (their cheese list is worth a visit alone). BTW: Has VHaven got broadband yet? My friends on Swan's Island are steaming about their connections, last I heard.
  2. It would be safe to assume that mid-tier SushiBars use the less expensive frozen grades and peddle it as fresh to the unsuspecting americans. If I've been eating once-frozen maguro and toro sometimes, I'm not going to quible if it tastes good and the place is honest. Naturally I prefer the freshest possible so I patiently wait for the appropriate season. Our sea-side sushi places take full advantage of seasonal hauls in to port so I KNOW it's fresh: Scallops (Hotate): Nov.15 - Apr.15 Shrimp (ami-ebe): Jan 15 - Mar.1 Urchins (Uni): Oct.1 - Mar.1 Tuna: Jun.1 - Sep.1 These change slightly per year but the place I frequent puts the location next to the sushi special so when urchin season ends, the uni starts coming from chile, etc. When Shrimp season (UNfrozen, my friends... and sublime) is over, they take it off the menu 'til next year. Some items, like herring roe, come from Japan. Once I bit into my Ankimo (Monkfish liver) and my teeth froze: it was like this crazy fishy ice cream. I blew a gasket at the chef who whipped up a nice yam/ikura dish...
  3. Dear Friends, You will probably kill me for this but one has to take risks sometimes. A friend of mine in the local mountains collects matsutake when the conditions are right. She called me in desparation one autumn day because she had collected far more than usual and thought my connections with japanese buyers for seafood here in Portland Maine might help getting her supply into the right hands. To make a long story short and simple, the negotiations were, well, difficult and we ended up with a surplus of thirty pounds after shipping. I prepared all the Matsi recipes I could find and gave away some to better local restaurants, then decided to freeze the 10lbs I had left, (worth about $400). When I removed them from the freezer this winter, they were rubbery and un-usable. Following your thread today, I see that freezing is not very successful with some varieties. Anticipating surplus harvest in future seasons, is there ANY way I can freeze these delicious and valuable fungi that you can recommend? With many thanks, John
  4. In Europe the roe sac is prized but in the USA, the scallop boats have to shuck all animals and return everything but the abducter to the sea before reaching port. Failure to do so results in a fine. If you ever get an item called "Scallop in Shell" on the menu, you can bet the abducter and the shell are not family.
  5. When I read this I suspected Tsujimura-san was making a political correct response in defense of the whole sushi freeze/fresh arena. A non-commital, keep- the-apple-cart-stable-and-no-one-will-get-offended, type statement. In other words, he's lying. Bring on the NYT Panel! Maguro Battle! Haaiii-YAH!
  6. Skeeter et al I've made a res at Fore Street for this weekend. I'm curious about the bartender so I plan to have fun with him based on your post! Review to follow...
  7. Diving out of San Pedro sounds like a picnic except for getting confused for a seal at the surface by a shark. I dove for seven years out of every Maine port in the Gulf of Maine from Kennebunkport to Jonesport. That's a five hour drive between the two if your wondering. The difference btwn CA and ME is our peak season was December when the water is about 45 degrees, so it's strictly a drysuit affair with wool sweaters and everything you usually ski in underneath. CA diving is deep water diving using surface supplied air, while we used scuba tanks in the surf zone where the better light nurtured beaucoup kelp - urchins' favourite food, thus the unholy neon colour orange the market clamored for. The drawback was if it's blowing 20knots out of the SW the heavy seas were going to f*ck you up, big time. SLBUNGE: tell your chum that we used hockey pads, even on the elbows! More later, dinner is ready...
  8. My favorite Ceviche dressing for our local scallops has juice from limes and/or Meyer lemon, minced garlic, ripped cilantro and a few pepper flakes. I usually don't touch 'em until the next day.
  9. Back when I dove for Sea Urchins, (early 90's) the market fell off in summer since the roe were not yet mature. We used to hang around the buyer stations who would hire us to build tuna coffins. The smallest I remember were 400lbs, the largest 850lbs. They were not frozen, as they were brought in by smaller boats. They were encased in ice with plastic buffering, and they were out of there pretty fast. We got paid in belly meat and rum... Interesting "Standards" page for anyone interested: http://www.ledafish.com/tuna.htm
  10. I thought I read somewhere that Sushi was a clever invention by a japanese streetcart vendor around the 1830's, thus rendering one of the world's first "Fast Foods". Anyone?
  11. Ella, Saltwater Grille is adjacent to the Sunset Marina directly opposite the Maine State Pier on the harbour. It's tricky to get to once you cross the bridge and get to Ferry Village. A water taxi from the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal is easier. See specifics including last year's menu/prices at http://www.saltwatergrille.com I once ordered a scallop/risotto type dish there that was an unappetizing mess. And they had a "salmon burger" special the other day at lunch... sorry, I'm not a fan. As for Italian, you should do very well at "Cinque Terre" tucked into Wharf Street whose old cobblestones are currently being used for a Miramax backdrop. Note this from a review at http://www.foodinportland.com : ...okay, I thought, but why did my waiter scoff when I asked for a little fruit and cheese plate to wash the rest of the very expensive wine down with? I got a handfull of berry garnish I had seen elsewhere that night with a shaving of parm for 7 bucks. C'mon!
  12. Chad, What a piece! Well done. I was most struck by this: I just KNEW they were living and breathing! I learned some freehand back in the day on a three sided oily thang but can't afford that rig. Your article has shown me alternatives w/in my reach. Before I got my new 8"Wust, I looked in the phone book and found a promising solution to the broken tip on my old 8"W: "Never a Dull Moment" said he'd grind away the broken tip and re-align the edge... for five bucks. I should have stopped there. It came back with a helacious edge and off-balance, but hey, it's unique! Who else has a 7 and 7/16" Chef's??? (Sorry, I'm new here... (looks around furtively)... there, um, might actually BE people with such an abomination around these parts!) When I got my Shun, it was so beautiful I couldn't quite trust myself to sharpen it myself, and my local sushi bar guys are "honored" that I would allow them the task of honing it for me. I repay them with repeat plates of Toro, Aji, Uni and Men-Taiko, and anything else they throw at me...
  13. Hey I saw your Dogfish post and had no idea it was worth a visit. Many Thanks, I'll try it, in spite of the crappy location. I can see Saltwater Grille out my window (and the fabulous Portland Harbor). They were open this winter but not at all times. I heard thru the vine that somebody quit in a huff around Xmas(?). Went there a month ago and it was way off the mark from opening month. I still miss the Moules Portugaise from a prior incarnation: Bay Harbor. Pat's is on Stevens Ave, not Forest. Let's Eat!
  14. I have suffered the same anxiety but found the solution: If he's a sushi fan, you have a favorite sushi bar. Next time you go, bring the Shun with you and, on one knee (or both), ask the least busiest chef to sharpen it for you while you consume vast quantities of their tasty wares. Profuse apologies with a hint of shinto respect will surely add bonus points. G'sai!
  15. BBoy, Yup! They are sharp! Mine is the 6.5, and I screwed up the second day (see above). I can't imagine the ten-spot without a serious breaking-in phase to adjust habits, heft and hold.
  16. Skeeter et al, I can't resist a gentle plug for Chef Tak's "YOSAKU", his new japanese eatery where "Giobbi's" used to be (the bottom of Danforth St.). He used to be BenKay's star and before that, a Tuna-buyer on yon waterfront. He knows his fish. He started out stellar and has stumbled here and there but whenever I have his Toro I feel positively stoned. May he and his crew live long and prosper. A recent (mixed) review here: http://www.foodinportland.com
  17. bpm77, Received exact same knife as a wedding present in Feb. Also received a new Wusthof Chef's to replace the 23 year old one I bought for prep/sous. One meal later and the Santoku is out full time, the Wusthof is back in the box. I bow low and long to the superior Shun spirit and power. Word of Warning: The second meal I made involved a few cocktails and I ended up shearing off about 7% of my index finger, some nail included. Assuming you do this, expect 8 days for the sub-nail to heal enough for air, and 4 weeks before you can jam on your guitar again...
  18. When in Saranac Lake, do not miss "Casa Del Sol - (518) 891-0977" especially on summer nights. Consistently good Mexican effort in the Adirondacks.
  19. johnnyd

    Lobster stock uses

    Hi folks! Living in Maine, it's considered a crime NOT to have a quart or three of frozen lobster stock on hand (Okay, maybe not a crime, but it should be, c'mon!) which we use for all chowder creations. The result is a lobster-flavor under-tow that pulls your ingredients together. Delicious! Speaking of delicious, Stovetop and Spoonbread have some excellent ideas. I've got to try Spoonbreads Mirin deal, wow! Also, the tomalley butter Malawry speaks of can be frozen for future use... keeps 90 or so days. This site is outstanding. Thanks to all who put in the hard work. Note to KATHERINE in PORTLAND: I can't afford to shop at Browne Trading either and Harbor Fish does more volume so that's that. I've stopped in at the "Free Range Lobster Co." a few times since Tiny sold it and they are improving steadily. Did anybody get a chance to have FRESH MAINE SHRIMP this winter? The season was only two weeks last year, but six weeks this year so the price was ridiculously low: 2lbs w/heads, tails, roe for $2!!! ...and THOSE shells make a BETTER stock!
  20. Gul, I spent some years in Brasil as a youth and searched mightily up here for a cachaca substitute for my caipirinhas before it finally became available a year or three back. I came up with two possibilities: 1) Cuervo TRADICIONAL, is 100%agave, and not too aggressive. "Pinga" has a mysterious quality that separates it from the rum family that I found only tequila can approach. TRADICIONAL is a younger agave and resembles some of the local Cachacas that are brewed in the rural areas of Brasil. Avoid Cuervo Gold, it's mostly corn syrup. 2) Any younger rum from small-batch producers (hard to find). A certain Mount Gay product labeled "100% sugar cane rum" (green and gold labeling) appeared now and then did the trick. Tres Marias from Martinique was pretty close too. I ran into a Brasilian couple in Vermont who had adapted their caipirinhas by using Absolut (Caipiroska - thank you, beans!), but they insisted on peeling the rind off the limes before mashing, a travesty in my book as the lime-oil is essential. You might find Cachaca back on the list once the warmer weather arrives. Cross your fingers!
  21. johnnyd's Quick Meditteranean Cod A fisherman friend dropped by with 20 lbs of fresh cod. What to do? I remember a tomato-based cod stew from Spain/Portugal that I tried to re-create here. Feel free to adjust/add/subtract at will. Also, use as a base for "Zarzuela", a spanish seafood "riot of the table", or other tomato-based seafood creations. Sauce: 1 large onion - chopped 1 poblano pepper - chopped 3 cloves garlic - chopped Oregano - liberal shakes Saffron - one healthy pinch 1 tsp whole coriander seed 1 tsp paprika 1 big bayleaf simmer above gently in rendered salt pork fat (or Olive Oil) until soft and fragrant, then add 2 cans diced tomato w/ juice 1 cup chicken stock 1 cup white wine 1/2 lb sauteed chorizo slices simmer gently for fifteen minutes, then add 3 or 4 pounds of codfish cut in two-inch chunks salt pork cracklings if desired. Keep heat low and allow Cod to come to temperature and become firm. Cod will flake apart into sauce. Serve with good country bread and white wine. Keywords: Seafood, Spanish/Portugese ( RG1981 )
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