Okay, I borrowed that from the folks at the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, but it’s true. In the summertime it is all about fish on the grill, in a taco, on a salad or skewed on a kabob. I’ve got to hand it to the barbecue industry they have come up with the coolest stuff to grill fish with but I still urge you to stick with the basics: on the grate or wrapped in foil. The challenges with grilling fish are twofold. Your first intent is to sear the fish so that you achieve a crispy outside while ensuring that the fish will be cooked all the way through. The end goal? A nicely charred exterior that envelops the smooth and luscious texture of the fish. Fish such as tuna, salmon, halibut, and swordfish, whose texture is more, like beef or pork, should be grilled on the grate. More delicate fish, such as tilapia, sole, and flounder, sometimes are better when grilled in a foil packet (or your grill basket if you must). How do you keep the fish from sticking to the grill? It’s every fish flippers nightmare. The solution is a well-prepped grill, dry product, and the proper level of grill heat, which is usually medium-high. How do you get the product dry, fish that is. Wrap the fish in paper towels or a kitchen towel, to get rid of excess moisture, and place on a large plate in the fridge until your grill is ready. If the fish is wet, it will steam and not sear. Position the fish skin-side down diagonally on the grate; this not only creates those masterful grill marks you see in restaurants, it actually makes it easier to flip the fish because it’s on an angle.
One of the questions I’m asked most is where to buy fresh seafood and the only option I had was Whole Foods, but I’ve got one quick answer now and it’s Sierra Gold Seafood. The restaurant distributor opened a retail shop a few years ago. The store is brimming with fresh seafood, I walked in and saw oysters, clams, mussels, and shrimp, oh my! I counted about 15 varieties of fresh seafood available for purchase including tuna, salmon, halibut, and swordfish which all work wonderfully on the grill. A product I got hooked on while living in the Bay Area was consciously farmed Verlasso Salmon, and Sierra Gold carries a case-full. If you want to grill some salmon there is nothing better than Verlasso. Sierra Gold offers some premade products Ahi Poke –delicious–; Seaweed Salad, salty crunch and Ceviche -where’s the Tequila? They also have frozen products, The Maine Lobster Tails looked good and were very fairly priced. Maine produces cold water lobster with firm, whiter meat. The cold water allows the lobsters to grow slower which makes far tastier, tender meat and great to grill. Marinades, sea salt, sauces, pickled ginger are all available. If you want to know where you can get restaurant quality seafood look no more it’s at Sierra Gold Seafood. Sierra Gold Seafood, 1335 Greg Street, Suite 105, Sparks – 775-352-9595 (sierragoldseafood.com)
After seeing such wonderful seafood I needed lunch so we headed over to Flowing Tide Four (I have learned they are numbered) for their Sam Adams Boston Lager Battered Fish and Chips. My server was kind enough to exchange their regular fries for sweet potato fries and my enjoyment began. I asked for a beer suggestion, it was fish and chips after all so beer is required, and enjoyed her direction to try a Drakes 1500 IPA. The beer paired nicely with the salty fish and I later learned Drake’s is from some of my old stomping grounds in San Leandro, CA. If you order Drakes 1500 IPA keep in mind that this is definitely a West-Coast-Style IPA. My companion opted for their soup and salad special, he is svelte. I keep my salad consumption to a minimum but his Caesar Salad looked good and he opted for Flowing Tide’s French Onion Soup. If they could bottle French Onion Soup and make it a fragrance I’d buy it. His soup had that lovely cheesy, beefy, onion fragrance and he didn’t say one word to me until he had consumed every drop. The banners on the outside of the restaurant announced they are open 24-Hours and also serve breakfast, I like that. Flowing Tide Pub Four, 1450 E. Prater Way, Sparks – 775-440-1567 (flowingtidepub.com).
I needed to pick-up something for a friend’s birthday so I headed to Lavender Box Bakery for their cupcakes. Once there, after discussing the heat of the day we opted for their caramel brownies cut into bite-size squares to enjoy after the birthday dinner. I cursed the heat since I was lucky enough to have arrived at Lavender Box when still had a few Chocolate Stout Cupcakes – they are a work of art for your eye and taste buds. For the remainder of the month of June (they have had this special all month long) Lavender Box is offering 13% off …why? – They are celebrating Isabella’s 13th birthday. Lavender Box Bakery, 885 Sparks Blvd., Suite 100, Sparks – 775-737-4551 (lavenderboxbaker.net)
Campo new Sparks location officially opens for business at 11:30a.m. on Friday, July 1st. Chef David Holman is staying true to Campo Reno’s roots and it is all farm to table fresh. Chef Holman joined the Campo crew after a 14-year stint with The Charlie Palmer Group and David has spent the last 7-years as the Executive Chef at Palmer Grand Sierra Resort: Charlie Palmer Steak, Fin Fish and Briscola. We hear our name being called by some of the 70-Beers-On-Tap… I called it a wall of beer and was corrected but in my mind it is still a wall of beer. They are also going to have retail wine for sale – so I can breeze in and pick-up a Campo pizza, grab a bottle of wine and rush home to watch the Housewives of Orange County. I didn’t realize until a quick chat with PR Priestess Nancy Eklof, who is handling Campo’s opening, they will be opened for breakfast. Can you say “Hot Brown? Chef Holman will be serving the iconic Hot Brown that was first served in Louisville, KY Brown Hotel. The Hot Brown is an open-face sandwich that layers sliced turkey, Mornay sauce, bacon, and tomatoes atop thick-cut toast – say no more. Campo, 137 Los Altos Parkway, Sparks (775) 501-8970 camporeno.com
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