Got the call yesterday; "want fish." Problem is, kitchen renovations are still in full swing. We'd planned to take a trek to our "fish guy" who has inconveniently moved to yuppie ville, miles away from us. Still, he's worth it, so off we go.

The menu is, fish 'n chips or, fish 'n chips. He deep fries in the back of his truck. The fish guy is an artist, he loves his dead aquatic creatures and watching him clean them is mesmerizing. Thinking of him out back with the giant fry daddy is mildly incongruous. It was the best fish and chips I've ever had.

The market with the fish guy is an indoor farm stand thingy. It features local, organic, gourmet, generally foofy food. As it usually goes with such things, some is truly exceptional and some merely thinks it is. So, after the best fish fritter ever, I visited the pretentious little gourmet nook for some rice pudding and pana cotta; we couldn't decide which.

The pana cotta was ill conceived. Citrus and dairy is tricky. Grapefruit and dairy is possibly impossible. Neither the topping nor the pana cotta was exceptional, together they were far less so. However, compared to the rice pudding it was haute cuisine.

The rice pudding has chunks of orange in it. Orange peel would have worked; chunks of kind of fresh orange, no so much. That alone would have made it unfortunate. It wasn't really pudding... There was rice, but it was under cooked. Yet, it was coagulated into starchy little overly toothsome nuggets. This, combined with either no seasoning or anti seasoning, made it one of the most vile things I've ever eaten on purpose.

The woman who sold it to me gushed about it. She didn't normally like rice pudding, but she loved this. I offered mild criticism, and she, in turn, questioned my palate. I agreed that people certainly have different tastes and silently wondered if she ate paste as a child.

I had, unfortunately, also gotten a brownie from the same stand. The brownie offered no surprises. As a brownie, it was alright. It was chocolaty and rich and oddly heavy handed. With distinct flavors of margarine and baking soda under its gooey mass.

Today, I ended up making dinner. Recall, the major kitchen renovation thing? Steak tartar was the plan, but it hadn't been my plan. Getting the mise en place together, I felt like I was on a reality cooking show. My prep surface was the corner of a plank on a saw horse. I had disposable bowls, paper plates, and a single chop stick for a whisk. Happily, I did have a good knife. When if comes to tools, knives are a given.

The cracked egg made a hollow sound on the plank. I managed to to get the second yolk perfect; I normally would have just used a hand but lack of running water called for the shell to shell method. ( The first shell suffered from the unexpected plank bounce. ) I actually chopped the shallot too fine; a few more larger chunks might have made it better. Over all, though, dinner was good.


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