On a tour of Bavarian Alps in Germany my Mom ordered shrimps and was very disappointed that she was served popcorn shrimps or teeny-tiny shrimps and my late advice to her was to not order seafood in a landlocked area.
But then again I break the rule whenever in Madrid where you can have the freshest of them even though it is up in the mountain. And I’ve had seafood in Chicago without questioning their freshness. We’re not exactly away from a big area of water – there’s Lake Michigan but like in Madrid, seafood here are flown pre-frozen or maybe fresh frozen.
My boss of almost 30 years was in town for business and family visits. It so happened my 30th year anniversary with the firm was last Saturday so he dropped by to celebrate it with lunch with a couple of my friends at work.
I got to pick the place so I thought we’d try The Pearl Tavern across the street from our building. It is an oyster bar but we were there for the other seafood.
Reservation was difficult to get, we got lucky when a group from the office wanted to cancel theirs so we just took it. Which got us all worked up that it must be that good.
Seafood pasta has and always been my favorite to order whenever I see it in the menu. Theirs has a twist to it – with smoked trout and deep-fried okra. The okra was there for texture as it was deep-fried to a crisp and the smoked fish was to intensify the fish flavor.
At first bite I was disappointed that it was very salty. I suspected they deep fried some of the smoked fish and flaked which turned its flavor to dried fish (believe me I’ve eaten a lot in my lifetime). The salt level was high which totally destroyed the dish for me. And the mussels left much to be desired.
The Bay Seasoning sauce was creamy and delicious and the scallops were huge and perfectly done. There were pieces of the smoked trout.
Adding smoked or dried fish in pasta is not strange to me. After all it has been the trend in the Philippines where we have an abundance of dried and smoked fish in our diet. But if it tastes like it came out of a salty brine, it would not be appetizing.
My friends’ impression of their orders were all positive. I definitely will order differently next time. As to my bad dish – well I picked the place so I could only blame myself.
Besides we were there to celebrate and to be in great company are in themselves blessings.