I would normally steer clear of a place in a tourist town that calls itself a “fish grotto”. Perhaps it comes from living in San Francisco and knowing what lurks at Fisherman’s Wharf in quality, price gauging, and the tourist factor. So when researching where to eat on a recent trip to San Diego, I was surprised that the grotto appeared on the Best Seafood Restaurant in SD list. Not only was it on this year’s list but it has been on the list for 11 years. Still skeptical, I took a taxi from the airport to my hotel and as we drove by, the driver called out… “If you want a good seafood meal while you’re here, go to Anthony’s”. Upon check in I asked the concierge where I could get the best seafood dinner and guess what she answered. I had to go.
There are 3 Anthony’s in the SD area and I went to the original. It has occupied the same waterfront spot next to the glut of dinner and sunset cruise boats for 62 years. I was committed to giving it the benefit – hey, if it has spawned 2 off-spring, been in business for 62 years and voted best seafood restaurant in SD for the past 11 years, who was I to judge? Without a raised eyebrow, I sauntered through the front doors and was seated at a window table to overlook the view of Coronado Island and the bay. It was dark outside so I only saw the lights but at sunset time, this would be a sweet seat! Our waitress was the sweetest, most attentive little Hispanic lady; by the end of the meal I wanted to hug her and take her home.
As soon as we were seated there was water with lemon and warm bread served with insanely addicting sun-dried tomato butter. I could have eaten this all night if it weren’t for the fact that I placed an order for a cup of Mama Ghio’s Clam Chowder and the Lobster and Prawn Combo – that comes with a salad, baked potato, and vegetable. Paul ordered the Tuna Poke “Martini” and the catch of the day, Mahi-Mahi grilled with Pineapple Slaw and potatoes. Ok, the eyes were bigger than the stomachs and when the parade of food began to arrive we knew that we would be in for a night of good eating.
Anthony’s has seafood nailed. Each dish we were served exceeded expectations. All seafood was fresh and portions generous. My lobster tail came with the meat removed and resting in the tail and 5 large prawns. On the side was a lemon with a hairnet over the top so no rogue seeds would pop out – love that detail – and a ramekin of drawn warm butter, could it get better than this?
Great service, fresh seafood and a good value… now I am a believer in the grotto and will go back again and send friends with a stellar reference! Does this beg the question…? Should those Fishermen’s Wharf Grotto’s be given a chance?mkmtEAT | Comment (1)
The next book we are reading and cooking from for the MKMT Cookbook Club is Joanne Weir’s Wine Country Cooking. I’ve already read most of it and can’t wait to dig in and start cooking! This weekend I plan to make the Winter White Salad With a Hint of Green and the Pork Tenderloin with Onion, Orange, and Raisin Marmalade. How does that sound for the backbone of a rainy winter dinner with the parents? I’ll be sure to report back on how the meal turns out.
“A Latitude and an Attitude” is the title of the forward which begins with a lesson in the geography of the thirty-eight parallel which runs through the regions in Italy, France, Spain, Greece and Turkey that are responsible for the Mediterranean food, wine and lifestyle influence that we enjoy in our fabulous Northern California wine country. I toast the 38th with a big thank you… we are lucky to be aligned.
This appears to be one of those books that will grow worn with wear and quickly become a kitchen staple. I’ll be cooking from it for the next month and after we gather to sample many of the recipes look forward to posting the feedback and sharing the highlights.mkmtCOOK, mkmtLIVE | Comments (2)
by Louie DuMonde
I’ve always taken my gin martini shaken for no other reason than that’s the way it’s been served to me. In fact the aggressive one or two arm dance of the martini shaker evokes a Pavlovian reaction in me. The only choices I thought I had when ordering were; the type of gin, the level of dryness (I like to leave that to the bartender) and olives versus fruit (I like a twist).
Recently I had to catch a flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for a quick two hour drinks meeting with my publisher. All things being normal, in that my stomach wasn’t empty and I didn’t drink any faster than I normally do, I was feeling really groovy after finishing the first drink. By the conclusion of our meeting and the second martini, I was tossed.
I went up to the bartender and in my best attempt to not slur, I garbled “What the hell do you do to your martinis to make them so … you know … (slight swagger) fabulous?”
“We stir them. Shaking them dilutes the gin.” Came the response.
“Oh my.” I put my hand to my mouth like an interior decorator who just saw a room painted with avocado green walls. “I guess James Bond got it wrong eh?”
Since then I’ve heard arguments for and against shaking versus stirring. To settle the matter definitively I engaged master barman and writer Jeff Burkhart. He made two flawless martinis, one stirred, one shaken. The stirred one revealed all the subtle flavors of the gin. The shaken one was a crisper experience that masked the subtle flavors making the prominent ones more prominent.
It was the kick of the stirred one that got my attention. The effects of the alcohol were sneaking up on me like a summer afternoon rain storm in the tropics. I decided I preferred the taste of the stirred martini. But in social situations requiring me to maintain my best behavior, a slowly sipped shaken martini is the answer. I believe that’s what James Bond thinks as well. A shaken gin or vodka martini will certainly leave you in better shape to save the world.
But how does that explain the Vesper?mkmtEAT | Comment (0)