Whole Snapper. What a wonderful thing it is. Oh yes.
So, a while ago, we went to this great Italian market - Laurenzo's. Well, it's an Italian run market with international foodstuffs. I just wanted to use the word foodstuffs. Anyway, I mentioned the place in the last blog. So, we were looking for something for dinner. We found the seafood counter.
Now, I've looked at a lot of seafood counters and passed them over, wanting to hold my nose. But no need to be dramatic like that. Have you ever been to Seafood City in National City? They have a massive selection of whole fish and other seafood and stuff. But the fish never looked fresh when I went there. Maybe it was the wrong day or wrong time of the day, or it was just a Filipino place, and we don't like to waste stuff. If it doesn't look as fresh, Filipinos will just cook it longer. Even then, some will still leave it out on the kitchen table all day.
Another bigtime offender of non fresh fish was the Albertson's on University in North Park in San Diego. I smelled the ammonia before I ever even saw the seafood counter. Me with my impaired sense of smell. The people behind the fish counter must have no sense of smell whatsoever.
Anywoo, getting back to the seafood counter at Laurenzo's. It did not smell. All the fish were neatly lined up. It looked clean. And the fish's eyes were clear, the skin and scales did not look slimy. So, we got a snapper.
And the FP was supposed to cook it. He had this whole meal planned. Then something happened. I'm not sure if he was drunk, disinterested, bored, recording music or what. But somehow I ended up cooking the meal.
So, I think the FP had wanted to make an Indian curry. Since I was cooking, I did it my way. I made red Thai curried tomato and okra stew. We had some snow peas in the fridge, so I threw those in too.
Then I seasoned the fish, and I coated the inside with some curry paste. I seared it on one side, flipped it, then put it in the oven. Don't ask how long. it was a while. I took it out once, and it wasn't done, so I left it in for several more minutes. then it was perfect.
I know. The photos are getting shittier and shittier. I really need a new camera. Or I need a smartphone which has a way better camera than my camera.
So, yesterday, was the FP's birthday. So, he had been feeling under the weather the day before, so he wanted to take it "easy". So, we went to this bar and restaurant on the intracoastal waterway that we had been talking about going to since we first saw it.
Okay. I have to interrupt my blog to vent my annoyance at this TV show. Extreme Couponing. So this woman is 28, she has lots of cool tattoos that look like they all probably came from children's books or something. And her family is vegan. So, she coupons, but she says that she only buys healthy vegan food. So, what did her stockpile show. Canned beans. I use canned food kind of a lot. But they have preservatives and also have parabens - so the healthiness is questionable. Jars of Ragu or Prego. Not so healthy. Ok, I don't know which kind of sauce she got, but some Ragu seems to have cheese cultures - I assume she doesn't get that one. But both Ragu and Prego have sugar in them. Tomato sauce does not need sugar, and regular refined sugar is not technically vegan because it is processed with animal bone char. I guess some people don't mind it. Also, she got some kind of Mahatma rice that looked like one of the seasoned ones. I felt like picking at the vegan, because I was hoping she would show how one could really use extreme couponing to really support a truly healthy vegan lifestyle. I guess I expected too much. It's my bad, not hers. She's just trying to coupon for her family so she can still afford tattoos. Who am I to persecute her. And being a vegan, I'm sure she reads labels, right?
Getting back to yesterday. So we went to Joe's Tiki Bar & Sushi. That's what it was called. Big tiki hut, which like a dumbass I forgot to take a picture of the outside of the hut. Here's the pictures I did take of the place.
So, we had a little lunch. The FP got the conch chowder. Surprise, surprise. It was pretty good. Kind of standard with the big chunks of stewed veggies in a tomato base.
He also ordered the medium crab claw appetizer. Yummy as usual, but the arm meat is really better than the claw meat, and there's more claw meat. It came with the typical mustard sauce.
The menu had a lot of stuff I wouldn't want, so the clear choice to me was the.... whole snapper! The bonus was, that they threw it in the fryer (not literally, I suppose, that could be dangerous) to cook it. It was so crispy on the outside, tender, moist, yet flaky and flavorful on the inside. The collar meat was the best, of course. But we pretty much killed the whole fish, except for a little end of the tail. The tostones were really good, big crunchy seasoned yumminess. The black beans, while still somewhat seasoned, were the worst black beans I've had here in South Florida. On saying that, they were way better than loads of black beans I've had at other restaurants through the years. I basically ate the tostones and didn't eat much of the beans and rice. We were so busy picking at the snapper anyway...
So, after lunch, we decided to move from the waterfront table to the bar. A musician was playing the standard tiki bar music - Jimmy Buffet, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Cat Stevens. But instead of being cheesy and uninspired, this guy was really good. Great voice, his guitar sounded great, he played really well. We really enjoyed listening to him. Especially with our after lunch margarita:
During the break in the set, the musician came by and told us we were too young to know all those songs. As audiences can loose interest, the crowd clapped loudly for the first song, and then after that, they kind of only clapped for songs they really liked. So we clapped for every song, but more enthusiastically for songs we really liked. Anyway, when the guy said the thing about us being too young, it was a perfect opportunity for the FP to tell him that actually it was his 40th birthday. That caused a ruckus. All the staff came and joined in the conversation to say they didn't believe him. So he pulled out his ID to prove it.
So, when the musician went back up for another set, he sang Happy Birthday to the FP, and then the bartender gave him a birthday cake shot complete with whipped cream, sprinkles and a candle. It was sweet, and it made the FP feel good, as everyone was not blowing smoke up his ass, but really thought he looked younger.
So, the moral of Joe's is that you can't always judge a tiki bar by it's tiki hut. This place looked like a total tourist trap place. And while a lot of the menu was standard tourist trap food, there were some great stuff on the menu, and they offered great cocktails with more than just premix shit (at quite a price, of course).
Laurenzo's Italian Center
16385 W Dixie Hwy
N Miami Beach, FL 33160
Joe's Tiki Bar Grill & Sushi
1318 N Ocean Dr.
Hollywood, FL 33019