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Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review – With Black Garlic and Wine Risotto

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Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review I personally think that the sudden glut of frozen heat and eat meals at the grocery is due to the success of the “meal kit” business.

Those deals where they send you portion cut ingredients and a recipe and it’s supposed to be so easy to create a gourmet meal with no fuss.  ( I tried them when they came out, read about that here. Spendy and no less work, sez I).

So all sorts of frozen food companies have come out with meals, kits, and there are fast food branded ones, and even the big grocery chains and WalMart have their own take on the concept.

My experiment today is from the Gorton’s company, (over 150 years old)  the people you’re used to buying crispy seafood filets and fish sticks that never get crispy.  This is a shrimp bowl, with ‘black garlic and wine” (sauce) rissotto.

I know a dozen people who won’t even try risotto from scratch at home, so this is a surprise.  In smaller print, there’s a reference to ‘parmesan cheese,’ but to me, that was the predominant flavor in the rice.

Here’s the full ingredient list: (Cooked arborio rice, Shrimp (Shrimp, salt, sodium di-, tri-, and polyphosphate [to retain moisture], sodium bisulfite and sodium citrate [preservatives]), water, mushrooms (mushrooms, water, salt), olive oil, cream, Parmesan cheese (pasteurized cow’s milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, black garlic and wine seasoning (maltodextrin, dehydrated garlic, vinegar solids, modified corn starch, spices, malic acid, dehydrated parsley, black garlic powder, soy lecithin, lactic acid, jalapeño pepper, white wine solids, natural flavors), onions, corn starch, garlic (garlic, water), butter, white wine (contains sulfites), sea salt, parsley, tara gum).

There were  about 8-9 shrimp in the bowl, which are frozen solid, of course, so when you microwave (three minutes, stir, one minute) a lot of the trapped moisture in the shrimp is going to escape and they are going to shrink.  So I added a half dozen, because I had them on hand, and I could.  There are mushrooms, which retained their texture well. They look like slices of baby bellas.  The box says a “hint of parmesan” but as I said above, I think it’s a pretty dominant flavor.

The risotto was creamy as it should be and the shrimp remained very firm, as they should be too.

Bottom line?  I surprised myself and liked it.  Not sure if it’s supposed to be two servings or not, it wouldn’t have been at my house.  It was a comfortably sized serving for me.

It was $5.99 and a bogo yesterday.  There’s a coupon below you might want to try.  Their Entire product line.   Where you can pick some up.

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Frozen, out of the box

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Plated after microwave

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Coupon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

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JJs Lakeside Cafe Review, Lake Village AR

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JJs Lakeside Cafe ReviewNorthbound on US Highway 65 through Arkansas the other day, was feeling a might peckish and decided I was in the mood for some catfish, a specialty around these parts.

A quick stop and visit with the helpful people at the Lake Village Visitors Center pointed me to JJs Lakeside Cafe.

The kindly old lady advised me to scurry, tho, it was 11:30 and soon the townsfolk would show up and it’d be slammed.  So off I went. The big feature at JJs is a daily lunch buffet, where for under $10 you can embibe on several entrees, side dishes, a salad bar, dessert and tea. Seriously.

But I had somewhere to be, couldn’t linger, so these people fixed me a catfish plate to go, with perfectly fried fillets, crinkle cut fries and tangy slaw. I told them I was a slaw fan and they doubled up on the portion for me. Nice. Also got a monster ice tea (brewed) and forked out less than $9.00.

The fish breading had a slight kick to it, one of the Cajun seasonings or an in-house blend, maybe, very flavorful, enjoyed it bigly. Crinkle cut fries were done and seasoned to perfection.

Wish I had time for the buffet, no doubt would have been some other delights I would have enjoyed.  Someday.

JJs Lakeside Cafe is open Monday thru Saturday, 6A- 9 PM.  Sunday 10:30A – 3PM. Breakfast served all day, everyday.  Menus are below, click to enlarge.

JJs Lakeside Cafe Review

JJs Lakeside Cafe ReviewJJs Lakeside Cafe Review
JJ's Lakeside Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

JJs Lakeside Cafe Review

JJs Lakeside Cafe Review

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Soul Fish Review – Little Rock, AR

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Soul Fish ReviewIt can sometimes be a challenge to find satisfactory restaurants in Little Rock that are open on Sundays.  Fortunately, there’s Soul Fish, right downtown on Main Street.  Emphasis at this eatery is “bonafide Southern,” with a further emphasis on seafood. (See menu below).

We started with the smoked catfish dip, something I’ve never encountered, and I’m sorry about that, because it was delicious.  Smokey, salty, creamy, accompanied by tortilla chips which I would bet are made in house.  A light fry, crispy without being jaw jarring, light salt. The perfect go-with.

I went for the fried catfish basket, there are three choices for the size of serving, I went for the small one, since I was on the road, didn’t want to have leftovers.

The fry breading on the fish is exceptional. Cornmeal based, with a hint of one of the Creole seasonings (my palate isn’t sophisticated enough to tell them apart – could be Tony Chachere’s, Zatarains, Old Bay, or a concoction dreamed up in-house.  In any case, it’s really tasty.

There’s a wide choice of sides with baskets and plates, I chose natural cut fries, and slaw and hush puppies were included.  The slaw was excellent, rough chopped cabbage with a dressing that is creamy, sweet and tart at the same time.  Other sides?  Cucumber Salad • Black Beans • Corn • Cajun Cabbage • White Beans • Baked Sweet Potato • Fried Okra • Coleslaw • Black Eyed Peas •  Mashed Potatoes • Green Beans • Sweet Potato Fries • Broccoli • Mac N Cheese • Zucchini • Collard Greens • Pickled Green Tomatoes.

My dining companion was my daughter and after a major assist of plowing thru the dip, she opted for the Caesar salad with blackened shrimp added. Also delicious. Very fresh greens and the shrimp were cooked exactly right.

Children’s menu, desserts, beer and wine available.  I’d return.  You should go.  Appetizer, two entrees, two beverages, tip, $40.

Open daily at 11A. Soul Fish has four locations; in addition to Little Rock, find three locations in greater Memphis.

Soul Fish Review

Smoked catfish dip

Soul Fish Review

Fried catfish basket

 

Soul Fish Review

Menu – click to enlarge

 

 

 

Soul Fish Little Rock Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Soul Fish Review

Soul Fish Review

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Panamei Seafood Review – in Grocery Stores Nationwide

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Panamei Seafood ReviewPanamei is one of the brands available from Quirch Foods, an importer, exporter, distributor of quality products to groceries and industrial accounts.

They trace their roots back to the early 20th century in Cuba, then after 59, immigrated to Puerto Rico, set up there, and finally to establish a base in the Miami area, where they are today.

The work the entire gamut of food – beef, pork, poultry and seafood – fresh and frozen.

I was attracted to their frozen seafood because of specials one of my local grocers was running, several weeks in a row.  I hadn’t noticed the product line in the past.

First item up was one pound frozen blocks of lobster meat.  Their lobster comes from Central America. The package ingredients say: lobster. Period. You should slow defrost it in the frig for 24-36 hours. It is raw. I chose to steam it, then gave the meat a quick char under the broiler.  Mind you, this isn’t one or two small tails, this is loose meat, from tails and claws.  Good for sandwiches, salads, bisque, bouillabaise, and casseroles.

The reason I broke the speed limit to get to the store the day I noticed the product in the circular, is because it was marked at $7.  A pound. Lobster meat.

And it was delicious.  Yes, there are a few packs in the freezer.  This time around it evolved into tasty lobster rolls, split buttered, toasted bun, slight memo and finely diced celery bits in the salad.

Following week it was shrimp.  Good size (13-15), great value at $6 a pound.  Sourced from Southeast Asia, package ingredients, shrimp, salt, water.  The flesh was very flavorful and firm.  It was great on skewers on the grill. I’m damned picky about my shrimp, having lived in New Orleans for years. This meets the grade. Yes, I stocked up on this, also.

Check the products out if you run across them. Don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Panamei Seafood Review

 

 

Store locator.

Panamei Seafood Review

Panamei Seafood Review

 

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Boston Fish Market Review – Des Plaines, IL

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Boston Fish Market ReviewA Greek fisherman, the proprietor eventually made his way to the US, working in Greek restaurants, rising to head chef, but all the while aspiring to open his own fish market.

Eventually, it happened, and Boston Fish Market  grew and grew until it became the Midwest’s largest processor of salmon and whitefish, running through 300,000 pounds a week for their wholesale customers.

As a “market” open to the public, they have fish and seafood from around the world which they will happily sell you, provide you with cooking instructions and helpful hints for accompaniments and serving suggestions.  Even exotics.

BUT…..they are also a restaurant, serving just about anything you can think of that swims. Here’s the full menu.

Walk in the front door, and you’ll see the display case of fish and seafood for sale in front of you.  At the left end of the counter sits the cashier, order taker.  He’ll hand you a menu, you’ll make your selection (including drinks), and pay. He’ll provide you with a number table topper so the servers can deliver right to your table.

I had recently been on a tour of the Southeast which had left my affection for grouper unrequited. I kept running into restaurants who had run out. No such problem here in Des Plaines (the birthplace of Ray Kroc’s McDonalds empire, as well).

I had  a delightful plate of crispy, lightly fried grouper, on a toasted French roll, with fries and slaw.  My tablemate went for grilled salmon. Both selections were superb. They have their own secret tartar sauce recipe, it has a little kick and is really nice.

A peek at a custom feast!

 

Boston Fish is five miles north of O’Hare airport, just off Mannheim Road, the main surface street outside of the airport.  It’s 20 miles from Chicago’s loop. Market and restaurant are open Monday through Saturday, 1030A-8P.  Servings portions are AMPLE!

They are opening a second suburban location in the near future.  Go. Eat. Or take home and cook. Superb.

Boston Fish Market Review

Fried grouper sandwich

 

Boston Fish Market Review

Grilled wild caught salmon

Boston Fish Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Boston Fish Market Review

Boston Fish Market Review

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The Sand Bar Review – Twin Lakes, WI

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Sand Bar ReviewStop me if you’ve heard this.  So a few weeks ago I was on one of my food tours, back down to the Southeastern U.S., Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and one thing I was looking forward to was a lot of seafood and fish, of course.

One particular item I was hot for was grouper fish, a quite common offering in Florida, I ate it a lot living there, and it’s also popular in Southeast Asia, so I had my share living there, as well.

So after having my fill at all you can eat catfish buffets, I started a search for grouper. Two places had it on the menu, both were “sorry, we’re out.”  Pretty much gave up after that.

So I spot it on the menu at this boater’s bar on the Illinois/Wisconsin border (literally). WTH?  They bill themselves as a “Tropical Oasis in the Least Likely of Places.”  Apparently the owner spent quite a bit of time on FLA’s west coast, and wanted to transfer a bit of the culture and cuisine to Illinois. I mean Wisconsin.

It’s cutely decorated on a marine theme, with nets and decorative fish and crustaceans, as well as theme “signage,” and a list of exotic sounding tropical drinks.

But I came for the grouper, fingers crossed, please don’t be “out.”  They weren’t.  And chef delivered.

Perfectly grilled, a dusting of blackened The Sand Bar Reviewseasoning (not actually “blackened” as the menu states, and that’s just fine, it’s a delicate fish. It’s plated as a sandwich on a toasted bun (firm enough to cradle the contents, pretzel bun available as upgrade), with a lemon zest mayo, which is an interesting addition.

Lettuce, tomato and red onion slivers.  Fries or slaw are standard accompaniments. I upgraded to get rings.

Rings have medium thickness of breading with a beer based batter. Done correctly.  Nice crisp.  Nice sized onion.

Lots more interesting things on the menu, worth a return visit.  I’m sure curious where they source the grouper around here.

Sandwich is a little spendy at $15.95 plus $1.98 upcharge for the rings, but this place is probably jammed jammed jammed in season and they have a captive audience.  If they can do, they should.  Oh, full bar including large selection of “tropical” cocktails.

Modest amount of indoor seating, outdoor patio for more temperate weather.  Server Cate did a fine job, checking in as necessary, but not too often.

Co-located facility has water toy rentals available by hour or day.  Boat launching facilities and dock.  Saw a sign for live bait, as well.

Finally, a note to women. I am told that the women’s facility is small and narrow.  To the point that the only place to put one’s purse is in the sink basin. Unfortunately, it’s an auto-on sink.  So if you don’t want a complimentary purse wash, have a different solution.  Might be good if a couple hooks were placed somewhere on a wall?  That’s all.

Highly recommended.  Menu is online and also below.

 

 

The Sand Bar Review

Grilled Grouper with Rings

The Sand Bar Review

Sand Bar Food Menu – Click to enlarge

Sandbar Bar & Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sand Bar & Island Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
The Sand Bar Review

The Sand Bar Review

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New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review – Multiple Locations New Orleans, LA

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New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co ReviewI’ve been coming to this place for almost 20 years. It used to be for the hamburgers, and it was the hamburger because the location I used to frequent had a very large “fixin’s bar,” which was quite nice.

That feature seems to have vanished.  Now I come for the thin sliced fried catfish, cause I think this is the only place in the city you can get it, unless you’re in the mood for a Sunday drive and want to go about 40 miles north to Middendorfs, an old timey place which is really great as well.

What they mean by “thin-sliced” is the filet is sliced length-wise, resulting in a paper thin piece of fish.  It’s then flash fried in their unique breading, resulting in an extra crispy filet.

New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger’s menu has all the usual suspects of local dishes. Fried and grilled seafood, oysters, gumbo, and throw in the burgers for good measure.

They have great fries, extruded potato fry shape drenched in garlic butter and sprinkled with herbs. They’re kind of addictive.

This time around, I had the thin filet cat poboy, it was good, good bread, fully dressed, too large to eat at a sitting.  (If you’re a first time visitor to the city, servers will ask if you want your sandwiches “dressed” which means lettuce, tomato and mayo. Most people say yes.

This location (uptown, on the St Charles streetcar line) has a couple large rooms, so it’d be ok to bring your family thing or a tour bus here, I imagine. Full bar and a number of draft beers, and the sign said video slots, but I didn’t see them.

I think I’ll revisit the burger next time.  Good grub. Good value. Sparkling clean facility. Efficent service.

A bunch of locations in the New Orleans metropolitan area.

Full menu. (also below).   Kid choices, too.

 

New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review

Fried Catfish Poboy

 

New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review

Click to Enlarge

New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review

New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review

 

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Crab Shack Review – Tybee Island, Savannah, GA

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Crab Shack ReviewTybee Island is the easternmost point of the U.S. state of Georgia, and is one of the barrier islands off the east coast of the U.S.

The Crab Shack therefore is the easternmost restaurant in the state of Georgia, 18 miles from downtown Savannah, and worth the drive.

Built from the ground up by an enterprising returnee couple, from the remnants of a local marina and bait shop, the restaurant, bar, and gift shop features a menu that offers  fresh seafood, local and otherwise, as well as Georgia style barbecue.

This unique attraction is the perfect place to sit in the sun (or not) and have a great meal, mosey your way through an afternoon of tropical cocktails, or  ……. wait for it. ………….. show the kids the pond with SEVENTY EIGHT (yes, 78, count them!) live baby alligators!  No,  I’m not kidding!

I went for the “low country boil” – something you’ll see on a lot of area menus, which is concocted via  a massive pot of boiling seasoned water, into which is dumped sausage, corn cobbettes, smoked sausage and shrimp. A lot of peel and eat shrimp.  It’s a very generous serving, dumped out onto your plate and serve with condiments of your choice.

(BTW, if your kids get antsy waiting for the food – there’s a giant bin of saltines at each table, but the food comes quickly).

I dug the boil plate big time. Pretty much like a New Orleans crawfish boil, except substituting shrimp, of course.

Also on tap, local favorite Brunswick stew, a flavorful tomato based thick broth with pulled chicken, sausage, pork and vegetables. Simply marvelous.  Brunswick, Georgia, claims to have originated the dish in 1898. Earlier versions were made with rabbit and/or squirrel.  No such luck these days!  here’s a traditional recipe if you want to try it at home.

If you’re visiting Savannah, don’t confine yourself to the tourist areas downtown and along the river. Get out of town, feed the gators, then feed yourself at the Crab Shack.  Highly recommended.

Can’t get there?   They’ll ship you their seafood, stew, ‘cue and condiments.  No kidding!  Brochure below, or order here.  Ask your server about the local atomic bomb!

Crab Shack Review

Low Country Boil

 

Crab Shack Review

Baby gators! They’re alive!

Crab Shack Review

Have Crab Shack Food Shipped

The Crab Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Crab Shack Review

Crab Shack Review

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Fiorellas Cafe Review – New Orleans, LA

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Fiorellas Cafe ReviewOnce upon a time there was a good and decent family that owned and operated a local favorite restaurant near the French Market for many, many years, until finally the time came for them to take it easy and they sold the establishment.

But like many people who create something with passion for a living, after a period, they missed it and made a family decision to start all over again, and opened Fiorella’s Cafe in the Gentilly neighborhood of the city.

As the old establishment was known for its exemplary take on fried chicken, so is the new eatery, winning the New Orleans Fried Chicken Festival two years in a row.

The simple neighborhood cafe serves all of Southern Louisiana’s favorites:  fried seafood, po boys, Italian specialties, along with daily specials.

All dishes are very fairly priced for the neighborhood, not to extract as many tourist dollars as possible.

The food is exemplary. This is possibly the best fried shrimp I’ve ever had anywhere, crispy fry batter, flavorful Gulf shrimp. The muffaletta is a good one, too many “legendary” places make them in advance, and refrigerate them, and they lose their luster, IMHO.  This sandwich moves into being one of my top two in the city.

The chicken lives up to its rep. Nice crust, perfectly fried, juicy on the inside, not greasy.  Fresh cut fries, done and seasoned perfectly.

Really, I finished this meal and I wanted to tell Chef that his/her food was art.  It exemplifies one of the passions of New Orleans, simple fare, prepared well, with love as one of the ingredients.  It’s easy to identify places like this – all the employees are smiling all the time.

I wish the family all the success in the world.  They deserve it.

Menu is here and below.

Fiorellas Cafe Review

Half muffaletta. Perfect.

Fiorellas Cafe Review

Fried shrimp basket with fresh cut fries

Fiorellas Cafe Review

Click to Enlarge

Fiorellas Cafe Review
Fiorella's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Fiorellas Cafe Review

Fiorellas Cafe Review

 

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Roadside Seafood Review – Charleston, SC

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Roadside Seafood Review Once upon a time, before the magic ribbon of concrete (interstates) criss-crossed America, the main highways were chock-a-block full of small businesses drivers would stop at for rest, relaxation, and refueling. In this part of the world, often the eateries were referred to as “clam shacks,” selling fresh, local seafood, prepared in a number of regional cooking methods.

Those days are gone, but one can occasionally stumble on a restaurant that is trying to recreate that ambiance, cuisine, and “Roadside Seafood” in Charleston is one such place.  They started as a food truck less than five years ago, and immediate, overwhelming success enabled them to quickly go into a brick and mortar location.

Like their predecessors, they sell fresh, local (and some not) seafood (menu), prepared as sandwiches, tacos, or baskets, your choice (for most items) fried or grilled. It’s always busy, you order at the counter, and they’ll bring your grub when it’s ready – it doesn’t take long.

I was specifically in the hunt for grouper, very common in Florida, not so common elsewhere, but alas, they were out the day I was in.  I substituted flounder (fried), and was not disappointed.  Flounders live on the bottom of the ocean, occasionally venturing into estuaries, living off small fish and crustaceans.  They grow to 25″ so they pack a good side filet.

Also tapped into the catfish, and an order of rings.  In every case, the fry coating had a very pleasant bit of seasoning to it (Old Bay?) and each dish was fried to perfection.

This place is a bit of a drive from the tourist enclave in downtown Charleston, but the quality of the food and the value for the price are well worth the trip. Oh, and ‘baskets’ come in large and small.  I couldn’t finish the smaller basket at a sitting, just sayin’.  (Yes, their truck still travels the road, and also does private events, schedules posted on their site).

Roadside Seafood Review

Flounder and rings

 

Roadside Seafood Review

Catfish and fries

 

Roadside Seafood Restaurant & Food Truck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Roadside Seafood Review
Roadside Seafood Review

@roadsideseafood

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