The other day, Akemi went to the St. Lawrence Market. There, she engaged one of the seafood purveyors in conversation. The conversation went something like this:
“Do you have social crab?”asked Akemi.
“What?”asked the woman at the counter.
“Do you have social crab?”
“Do you mean soft-shelled crab?”
When she returned home, a bewildered Akemi asked me to confirm the correct pronunciation.
“Soft-shelled crab,”I enunciated for her.
“Not social crab?”she asked, clearly disappointed.
“No. Not social crab.”
She now claims the fault lies with me for having referred to it as “social crab” in the first place.
I chalk up this misunderstanding to the fact that she is suffering from hay fever that has affected her eyes, nose, and, apparently, her ears. Also, the fact that she’s Japanese. To combat the hay fever symptoms, she is thinking of wearing one of those wacky surgical masks you see half the population of Tokyo sporting on any given day.
Whenever I see them, I’m reminded of the King of the Hill episode where Hank Hill finds himself in Tokyo, trying to flag down passersby for directions: “Hello? Pardon me. Excuse me, doctor.”. Akemi argues that everyone in Japan wears them to keep from passing along their colds to co-workers and fellow citizens. It’s common sense! I told her that while the reasoning was certainly logical, the wearing of face masks wasn’t the norm in North America and would look, well, kind of weird. She suggested that, maybe, a stylish designer model would be the way to go. Something like this –
Or this –
Though, given the choice, I’d probably opt for something that would provide the fullest protection. Probably something like this –
While the cultural divide puts us on opposing ends of the face mask debate, one thing we can both agree on is our love of fish. Which is why were both so looking forward to dinner last night.
We ended up going to Chiado, a charming little restaurant specializing in “Progressive Portugese” cuisine. In addition to the fresh local catches, Chiado offers up a selection of fresh fish flown in daily from the Azores.
Following an amuse-bouche comprised of a delicate cow’s milk cheese served with a streak of aged balsamic and a dot of intense rosemary-honey, we were served our appetizers – a salad of arrugula, fresh pear, melted Lourais cheese, lemon, and extra virgin olive oil for her, and the grilled tiger prawn spiced with piri piri, roasted jalapenos and banana peppers for me. Both wonderful, but not match for our third (shared) appie –
Sardines marinated with lemon, parsley and extra virgin olive oil. We had a choice between raw or grilled and went with the former. And, boy, that was the right choice. Simply prepared but packed with flavor – not fishy (as I feared) but rich and somewhat sweet. Excellent.
We selected our main course from the day’s fish platter –
I was going to have one of the filets, but Akemi beat me to it, so I opted to go whole fish –
The dorado was grilled, then finished in the oven. Crisp and smokey-charred on the outside but plump and moist on the inside, it was, again, simple and simply delicious. I passed on my server’s offer to filet the fish for me and attempted to do it on my own. I managed one vertical cut before Akemi shooed me away and dud the honors herself, executing a long horizontal cut along the backbone, flipping over the meat on both sides, then hooking her fork just below the pectoral girdle and lifting the entire skeleton free. Her only complaint was that the only way to properly eat a whole fish is with chopsticks – an opinion I happen to share.
Akemi went with a fish she instantly recognized from back home. The Japanese call it Tachiuo (I believe it’s known as Black Scabbard or beltfish here) and prepare it a variety of ways although I hear that aburi-style and grilled are the most popular. Chiado’s version was lightly dusted with flour before preparation, then served on a bed of saffron risotto. It was unbelievably good.
We shared three desserts to conclude our meal. My favorite (surprise surprise) was the chocolate mousse. Although I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about the pear tart, Akemi’s Molotof (an airy meringue of egg whites with vanilla cream sauce) was surprisingly good.
Our dinner at Chiado Restaurant was one of those meals that left me satisfied, impressed, and already planning our return visit. It wasn’t cheap ($40-$45 per entree) but it was spectacular.
We returned home and took Bubba and Lulu out for an extra-long walk. As we were heading back, we happened across an adorable blond whose eyes lit up at the sight of the doggies. Lulu actually spotted her first and made a bee-line for her, promptly presenting herself for petting and general attention grabbing. The doggy admirer handed us a flyer for her comedy show at the local Grindhouse Burger. Anyway, she (Julia Hladkowicz) was kind enough to say hello to the dogs so I figured the least I could do was give her a shout-out on the blog: Julia Comedy Dot Com
Principal photography on Transporter: The Series starts next week in Berlin. Paul and I are finishing up the rewrites on our first scripts, getting them ready for the start of production (July) here in Toronto, after which we’ll be switching gears to tackle the rewrites on our next two scripts. Two weeks from now, we’ll gather to spin the final three episodes and then, it’ll be smoooooooooooooooth sailing!