Boston

An unpopular electric eel at the International Boston Seafood Show

I am not eccentric. It's just that I am more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of goldfish.

Dame Edith Sitwell

 

I think this quote appeals to me because I'm often the one who says the unpopular thing that needs to be said. When everyone else is too polite or too timid to say it, I'm often the one that speaks up. I'm okay with that. This feeling of being that eel comes to mind as I head out to the International Boston Seafood Show.

I'll be among a small minority there who are concerned with conservation issues. Unpopular, indeed, among the sellers of all manner of endangered or threatened species. I just remember being floored by seeing miles of tuna and so many other species there with deals being made for what remains of them to be further diminished for profit. It's really one of the hardest things about the show.

Kibo and Hope

There will be glimmers of hope and that's what we look for. Who is practicing sustainable aquaculture? Who is working to reduce by-catch and waste? What are we doing to balance the needs of all species ocean and even land-based mammals, like fishermen? Ultimately, unless we talk about models that work for local economies whether it's in Costa Rica or Gloucester, we will be fighting an unwinnable battle to preserve the last of species like cod or tuna.

That's why I'm so excited to be working with The Friends of MarViva and thrilled to be learning about their success and ongoing challenges in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.

Just last week, it was announced that this new species of shark was discovered in that region.

Kibō is Japanese for "Brimming with Hope" and is the name of an e-book I urge you to order today

From the Random House website:

Kibō was written by Japanese culinary authority Elizabeth Andoh, who was in her Tokyo kitchen when the Great Eastern-Japan Earthquake struck.  Over the following months she witnessed the strength of the people of the Tohoku region--one of the largest miso- and sake-producing areas in Japan--as they struggled with the effects of the resulting tsunami and nuclear accident. She was inspired to write Kibō(meaning "brimming with hope") to not only tell the story of the food of the Tohoku region but also to document the experiences of its people, both before and after the disaster. This lushly photographed original eBook will honor the region and its rich culture on the first anniversary of the earthquake, with a portion of the proceeds going to Japanese recovery efforts.

 

I will go see who's who and what's what and I will go to a special seminar by the Japan's Ministry of Agriculture and Chef David Bouley.

Stay tuned. Eat sustainable seafood. Keep Hope Alive.

Be concerned with integrity over popularity.

Go Here, Eat This - BBQSmith Rolls into Leather District

A surprise opportunity for lunch with my husband leads to a savory, sweet discovery. Boston's burgeoning food truck scene delivers tasty results to Chinatown and Leather District neighbors. Real American Barbecue. On wheels and in the hood five days a week. Meet BBQSmith.

Restraint and BBQ

It might sound like an oxymoron, since BBQ is so often about BIG and BOLD flavors. It's about SPICE and SMOKE. It's about FAT and FIRE. But, restraint?

If you find yourself in my neighborhood, and you want to switch it up from Chinese style BBQ, head toward the Chinatown gate and look for the BBQSmith food truck. These guys balance just the right levels of smoke and spice, exhibiting admirable restraint in a menu of really full flavors.

BBQSmith in the shadow of the Chinatown gate.

The menu - with daily specials. Yes, you can find them on FB & Twitter, but they're better in person!

I chose the smoked beef sandwich. Doc had smoked pork. Both sandwiches were fantastic.

 

We shared a couple sides and the team threw in a couple extras to try. Not only were the sandwiches fantastic, a delicate, not overpowering smoke, tender meat; the meats are natural without added hormones or antibiotics.

Black beans also displayed restraint. Crunchy slaw, green tomato pickle, with optional hot pickled peppers - piquant, textural counterpoints to soft smoky meats.

Sides feature local farm ingredients and the corn, cuke, cherry tomato and dilly bean salad (without the buttermilk for dairy allergy girl!) was a delicious late-summer celebration.

Watermelon lemonade was like a not-too-sweet agua fresca, really refreshing.

Bonus: A frequent diner card!

 

Gave Up the Gym, Hello Greenway!

I'm so much happier since I gave up the gym. Instead of a "should" hanging over my head, I now have a "want." Rather than an opportunity to feel bad for the fee we paid and the use I didn't make of the privilege, I get to see dogs and babies frolic on the grass. I notice the sparrows who have cleverly figured out that only human-sized motion makes the misty interactive sculpture go. On hot days, they lie in wait and when someone sets off the cool mist, they sweep in from the surrounding trees. Some wait right on the paving stones. The other day I got to show a couple of kids how it works and told them to watch for the sparrows. They were thrilled when the mist came on and couldn't believe it when, just as I'd predicted, the birds joined in the fun.

I get to see what the plantings are looking like. Now there's a new silvery green ensemble in a planter.

Another day the black-eyed Susans look like they might take over the Boston Fire Dept building across the Surface Artery. Gorgeous.

I'll stop and talk to Ed at Silk Road BBQ who offered a snack for my four-legged friend Tucker.

And the Farmer's Market!

I found Methley plums, gorgeous and practically bursting with juice, the perfect size for my little buddy Kieran's hand. A surprise in the knick of time for the sweetie who is adjusting to little sister Emma (less than one-week old.)

Today I realized that the Greenway and the Harbor walk are my gym. I couldn't be happier. As I rounded the Federal Courthouse this afternoon, watching the ships in the harbor, circumnavigating tourists with maps, I noticed a huge herring gull pop up from the harbor just feet in front of me. I stopped. What was that in his beak? A crab. Poor thing was gone in such an efficient number of maneuvers I couldn't navigate the iphone to camera before it was no more. The gull first decided if I was going to try to steal his crab. I looked him in the eye and said "go on, I'll wait right here." Snip, one claw gone. Snip, second, third gone in succession. Then the body was gone in a couple of strong pecks. Only when the soft parts were done, did the gull go back to pick up the claws he'd littered around. Amazing. Bad day for that crab, I guess.

Come on down to the waterfront, enjoy a chat with Ed and try his fantastic Silk Road BBQ. Say hi to the Greenway Gardeners, read a book, watch the kids play in the fountain. And if you see someone talking to a sparrow or a seagull, it's probably me, say hi!

Favorite spots

 

  • Dewey Square Market - Always something delicious to try, some fun discovery - This Thursday August 18 it's Salsa! Stop by Kimball Fruit Farm and say hi to Dan, ask him what's new!
  • Silk Road BBQ - Discover what old world "social networking" means. A chat, a nosh, a laugh. Good guys, great food. (You could win a trio of Silk Road BBQ sauces by commenting on August BBQ Bonanza posts. Tried Cervena yet? New Zealand Venison recipe courtesy of Chef Peter Pahk.)
  • Rose Kennedy Greenway - parks, events, places to sit quietly, places to eat, and there's free Wi-Fi so you can bring a little work outside on a nice day.
  • I love the immigrant stories near the Silk Road Yurt.
  • The fountain - you cannot watch the kids (big and small) run through it, squealing and laughing without laughing yourself