fish

Sturgeon from caviar to smoked to kebabs

Sturgeon from caviar to smoked to kebabs

[caption id="attachment_6694" align="aligncenter" width="916"]As the great sturgeon repast was being readied, we relaxed with some wine and this charcuterie board of sturgeon pâté, smoked shortnose sturgeon (rear), smoked Atlantic sturgeon, and puffed sturgeon cartilage—much like pork rinds.[/caption] A big part of the “safari” experience is the languorous luncheon that follows the harvest expedition. Cornel Ceapa and his wife, Dorina, had everything ready to cook when we returned from the river (see previous post). [caption id="attachment_6709" align="alignright" width="416"] About a zillion three-day-old sturgeon hatchlings swim in a tank at Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar.[/caption]But first we toured the hatchery, where zillions of newly hatched sturgeon swam in huge white tanks and hundreds of juvenile and adult shortnose sturgeon coursed in others. Ceapa hatches both Atlantic sturgeon and...Read More
Stalking the wild Atlantic sturgeon

Stalking the wild Atlantic sturgeon

Cornel Ceapa (above left) knows his sturgeon. He earned a PhD in sturgeon biology from a university in his native Romania. He studied sevruga sturgeon, an overfished species that is critically endangered and on the verge of extinction. Now a Canadian citizen living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Ceapa is determined that the Atlantic sturgeon will not suffer the same fate. His company, Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar, Inc.(www.acadian-sturgeon.com/en), operates one of the last wild commercial sturgeon fisheries in the world. It also restocks the Saint John River with hatchery fish. The company's sturgeon meat appears on high-end menus in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, and small amounts (along with caviar) are available at Saint John fishmongers. The caviar can also be ordered (in Canada only) directly...Read More
Auspicious beginnings at East Coast Bistro

Auspicious beginnings at East Coast Bistro

A New Brunswick friend had given us a list of her favorite restaurants in Saint John, but her list was longer than our projected stay. So when places began to open for dinner, we walked around and poked our heads inside. We know better than to judge a place on looks, but we were smitten with the design of East Coast Bistro (60 Prince William St., Saint John; 506-696-EAST, eastcoastbistro.com). Clearly, so were a lot of folks who posted online impressions about the clean lines, brick walls, and fine photography. But the menu was what won us over. It wasn't especially long or unusual, but it was clearly built around local products and made nice use of Maritime provinces seafood. We were hooked. Chef-owners Tim...Read More
Saint John City Market reveals the city’s foodways

Saint John City Market reveals the city’s foodways

One of the first places we visit when we arrive in a new city is the public market. Sure, we're curious about what's in season, what the fishermen are catching, and what local food specialties we might discover. But it's more than that. People who make a living nurturing their neighbors are among the friendliest folk you could hope to meet. We always feel welcomed and at home after spending some time chatting with food market vendors. That's why we found ourselves in the Saint John City Market (http://www.sjcitymarket.ca) on the first morning of a short trip to this small New Brunswick city. Given the hour, we made our first stop at Uptown Donuts, where Melissa Whiting from Grand Bay, New Brunswick, has been brightening...Read More
Gourmet pioneer Cafe Gandolfi a Glasgow must

Gourmet pioneer Cafe Gandolfi a Glasgow must

Every city's gastronomic revolution has its pioneers, and one of the most important in Glasgow is probably Cafe Gandolfi (64 Albion St., 0141-552-6813, cafegandolfi.com). When photographer Iain Mackenzie opened the restaurant in 1979 in the city's old cheese market offices, he was running against the tide. Adventurous foodies would take a taxi from Central Station, about a 10-minute walk, because the old Trongate neighborhood was so shady. Now Gandolfi is one of several good restaurants in “Merchant City,” the newish moniker for the redeveloped district. The current owner, Seumas MacInnes, came to work as a kitchen hand in 1983 and took over the reins from Mackenzie in 1995. By all accounts, it was a seamless passing of the baton between two Gaels whose families hail...Read More
Cail Bruich sets the bar high for Scottish cuisine

Cail Bruich sets the bar high for Scottish cuisine

“We serve wild game and it may contain shot,” cautions a note at the bottom of the tasting menu at Cail Bruich (725 Great Western Rd., Glasgow; 0141 334 6265; cailbruich.co.uk). For those who like their meat nice and brown, the menu further advises, “Some ingredients are cooked sous vide.” With warnings like that, who could resist? (Against my mother's admonitions, I was always the child with beans in his ears.) It's a bit of a schlep from Glasgow central city out to this bohemian stretch of West Glasgow near the Botanic Gardens, but it's worth the pilgrimage. Now in its 10th year of serving elevated Scottish cuisine made with classical technique in a semi-casual setting, Cail Bruich (Gaelic for “Eat Well”) continues to amaze....Read More
Tastes of Scotland light up a winter visit

Tastes of Scotland light up a winter visit

We wonder if the Scottish diet was invented sometime at the end of the last Ice Age. On our recent late-winter visit to Glasgow and Edinburgh, we found that such Scottish specialties as cullen skink, neeps and tatties, Arbroath smokies, Scotch pie, and even the ubiquitous haggis have a special appeal when the temperature hovers around the freezing point and the weatherman won't commit to whether it will rain or snow. Nordic cuisine continues to have a moment on the international gourmet scene. We found that eating in Scotland was an excellent way to get in touch with the roots of high-latitude foodstuffs before the trendy restaurants of Copenhagen and Bergen started tinkering with them. There's a pure honesty to a cuisine based on short-season...Read More
Mayan flavors: fish with achiote paste

Mayan flavors: fish with achiote paste

Floating just 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula, the island of Cozumel was first settled by the Mayans about 2,000 years ago. The San Gervasio archaeological site on the northern part of the island shows the Mayan presence long before European contact. The language and the folkways are largely gone, but the Mayan heritage lives on through the foodways. That's why chef Ismael Hernandez of Occidental Cozumel (Carretera Costera Sur km 16.6, Colonial El Cedral San Francicso, Palancar, Cozumel, Mexico; +1 52-987-872-9730, barcelo.com) decided to conclude my introduction to local cuisine with his adaptation of the traditional dish Pescado Tikin Xic. In this case, the “pescado” was the fresh mahi mahi that we also used for a delicious ceviche (see previous post)....Read More
Tasting the Yucatan at Occidental Cozumel

Tasting the Yucatan at Occidental Cozumel

In all my years visiting Spain, I've stayed in a number of Barceló hotels. Founded in Mallorca in the 1930s, the group is now the third largest chain in Spain. They also have properties in another 20 or so countries. On a short winter break to Mexico, I finally experienced their international hospitality at Occidental Cozumel (Carretera Costera Sur km 16.6, Colonial El Cedral San Francicso, Palancar, Cozumel, Mexico; +1 52-987-872-9730, barcelo.com). The property is less than 20 years old, but it has a gracious, settled feel. Low-rise buildings in Colonial Mexican style sit in a natural preserve. Nobody blinks at iguanas lounging by the swimming pool or raccoon-like coatis hanging out near the bridge across a mangrove swamp to the white sand beach. Resort...Read More
Small-town culinary greatness: Patty Queen’s Cottage

Small-town culinary greatness: Patty Queen’s Cottage

One of the pleasures of touring rural France, Italy, or Spain is discovering amazing country restaurants far from population centers. The U.S. has some places like that, too. But few of them can match the Cottage Restaurant & Cafe (427 Farmington Ave, Plainville, Conn.; 860-793-8888, cottagerestaurantandcafe.com) for staying power and consistently terrific food. Located at a nondescript crossroads in Plainville, Connecticut, a little southwest of Hartford, the Cottage should be celebrated as a Nutmeg State treasure. Full disclosure: We met Patty Queen at a 1996 book party celebrating the publication of Julie Stillman's Great Women Chefs (https://goo.gl/Rxutaq). Queen was among the youngest chefs featured. Ever since, we've been driving more than 100 miles to eat at the Cottage three or four times a year. We're...Read More