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.


R. Sherman said...

Fish tacos are good, but I'm afraid that I couldn't replicate the restaurant flavor. Thus, I don't try, preferring to have them once a year or so, when I'm really in the mood.


sage said...

Ed, you complain about your limited options of eating and then list off how many Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Turkish (and from what I remember from other posts, vegetarian) places there are to eat and i want to strangle you... So that you can feel sorry for me, we have a Chinese buffet and a Mexican place (that's pretty good, yet ran by Colombians!). We are blessed with several good American restaurants and including a brew pub, but ethnic diversity we don't have.

That said, the fish taco looks good!

Ed said...

R. Sherman - I think I was close if I just hadn't OD'd on the spicing. Once I perfect it, I'll post it.

Sage - The key word is nice. We have a huge variety of ethnic restaurants here in town due to the local cult that calls us home, but when your wife wants to eat out at something "nice", she is usually referring to a place with cloth napkins, several sets of silverware, and perhaps a glass or two of wine. Under that definition, we only have a couple places to choose from which is probably a couple more than towns this size.

geri said...

If just saying fish taco, it doesn't sound appealing but fish taco with blackened mahi mahi makes a huge difference. Your ODing on that blackening rub reminds me of my baking soda experience - eager anticipation down the drain.

Murf said...

Where is the picture of YOUR fish tacos? :-)

Beau said...

They look wonderful in your picture, if a bit spicey. Wow... I'd love to try them. I tried some fish tacos at a local mexican place near home... not a good choice here. Especially when I've had them in San Felipe, on the ocean. Bold move cooking yourself! And I think you secretly would love to be a food critic! :)

Bone said...

I've never tried fish tacos. I do put mahi mahi in a pasta dish with some peppers and onions once in awhile.

What did they put on top of the fish?

Three Score and Ten or more said...

The very thought of fish tacos has always turned me off, but you had a good restaurant meal and two or three seconds of another one.

My local favorite Mexican restaurant sell a Texican fajita with shrimp, chicken, beef. and pork. It sounds weird but is absurdly wonderful. I gain weight just thinking about it;

TC said...

You should have tried milk instead of pop :)

But you get bonus points for saying "pop."