Monday, March 15, 2010
A Fish Taco Experience
The stars recently aligned for the first time in a long time. My wife had the entire weekend off and didn't have any reason to be in the Urban Jungle. We didn't have any social obligations during said weekend off. The weather was beautiful and by beautiful I mean that the temperature was slightly above freezing and the sun was out. Best of all, my daughter's godmother had been angling for a few hours to spend with her goddaughter. So the missus and I went out for a date.
Living in a small rural town means our options for eating out at a nice sit down place are few. We could have eaten at one of the four Mexican places, one of the two Indian places or two Chinese places, or even the Turkish place. (We have an inordinate amount of ethnic options due to the local cult that presides here in town.) In the end, we settled on an American restaurant that caters to the finer food crowd though it is located above a bar on the ground floor. We don't go there often because it is a bit pricy compared to other options, our lunch date there ran close to $40 with tip, and because you used to have to walk through the crowded smoky bar to get to it. Well Iowa eliminated smoking in public places a year ago and it being Saturday a little after lunch, the bar crowd hadn't shuffled in yet.
To make a long story short, I opted for the fish tacos which I have heard Pablo rave about, albeit in a different state and different restaurant, on his blog a time or two. This restaurant made their tacos with blackened mahi mahi served in a soft shell with the fixings. It sounded good so I tried them and I was blown away. They were the best things I have eaten in a long time, even better than some of the bbq I've eaten during my search for the holy grail.
My wife of course didn't order the fish tacos and evidently tired of listening to me rave about them so later that evening, she decided that I was going to make fish tacos for supper. So during our grocery shopping I picked up some frozen mahi mahi along with the rest of the ingredients I would need and attempted to make them. My wife gave me some blackening rub for the fish, which I proceeded to put on liberally like I would any other meat rub. I even asked her if she thought I was putting on too much since I had never used it before. She didn't think so and so I cooked the fish, assembled the tacos and we sat down to eat.
For the first two or three seconds, I was thinking that I did a remarkable facsimile of the fish tacos as the restaurant, at least until the burning set in and the smoke began to roll out of my ears. I tried two or three more bites before I gave up and got some pop out of the refrigerator to attempt to coat and protect my mouth a bit. It didn't work. Every bite was agony. Abandoning the first taco, I opened my second one and scraped most of the mahi mahi out of it trying to selectively pick those chunks with the most blackening showing. I tried a couple more bites of that taco before giving up altogether and going to the leftover quesadillas in the fridge.
But for two or three seconds, they were good and much cheaper than at the fine dining establishment so I know there will be another attempt soon in my future. I'll just go much much lighter on the blackening spice or perhaps skip it altogether.