Friday, July 25, 2008
Mostly I want to say something about shrimp. I have been often chided and mocked for my reluctance (bordering on the phobic) to eat shrimp anywhere other than on the Gulf Coast, where I was born and raised. Having just returned from New Orleans I am able to say with confidence I AM NOT CRAZY. Shrimp taste exactly one thousand times better when you eat them on the Gulf Coast. "Clean," I would say, and "non-shrimpy" they taste. I understand modern technology and the shipping of fresh seafood, but I cannot help the truth! The garlic shrimp on the lunchtime menu at Rio Mar will make you understand how wrong you have been all these years about everything, and how much you should have listened to me. We had dinner at Rio Mar a night or two after our lunch, and tasted something even better than the shrimp. It was a salad - a revelatory salad - comprised of CRAB AND MELON! Who could dream of such a thing? A chef, I guess. Theresa and I agreed that it was one of the best things ever created, much like the TV show THE WIRE. We made a number of faces at one another as we sampled the crab and melon, indicating through nonverbal means (because our mouths were full of crab and melon) how pleased, satisfied, and surprised we were by the combination of crab and melon. Our faces were many! The chef and owner, Adolfo Garcia, came out and greeted us. I had met him once before, very briefly, at - where else? - City Grocery. We had a nice time talking about West Indies salad and other things, and he used the word "clean" to describe his crab and melon salad, the same word I had used about his shrimp a day or so before! He also said, unless I misheard, that the salad had come to him in a dream. I believe it! What else did we eat in New Orleans? Because you are spending your time reading a "blog" I am going to assume that you care what strangers eat. Grilled octopus, oysters, crawfish, pan-fried rabbit, hen and andouille gumbo, the best ham hocks EVER (at Cochon), these are some of the things that leap to mind.