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A Midsummer Night’s Dinner

July 17, 2008

My Dad’s outloud musings:

“Is there anything better than a perfect cherry?. . . Maybe a perfect raspberry.” 

“Iced coffee, now that’s a real possibility for the next hour.”

“Who wants tuna?  I do!”

“Get your own tomato!”

“This egg salad is superb.” 

“What are you guys eating?”

“What do you think we should eat later?”

“Last one, and then no more.  Okay, one more.”

I am so the spawn of this man.  Family vacations are measured out in the times between eating, eating, and the extremely full and rotund period just after eating.  Which is how my daily life is measured out anyway, but this is the only time I get to enjoy this gastronomic way of life in the company of true kindreds.  This particular vacation, we have found ourselves with a number of food restrictions that have inspired deeper creativity and a fulfilling sense of overcoming great obstacles to reach optimum satisfaction.  These restrictions are:

Vegetarian option

lactose intolerant

extreme fish allergy

won’t eat shellfish

wheat-free

sugar-free

low carb

extreme peanut and sesame allergy

Oh, and meals for anywhere from 15 to 17 people, including two toddlers.  But as I mentioned, this has illicited some of the best meals of the summer. 

First night, we had pasta with chunky veggie sauce, and a giant salad.  Second night we separated into teams, and team one concocted a full mixed grill, complete with steak, juicy chicken thighs, skewered vegetables such as mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, and onions, and a minimally popular herbed tofu.  This was served with salad.

On the third night, the next team settled on quiches.  We soon found ourselves knee deep in quiche: quiche with ham, cheddar and onions, quiche with asparagus, gruyere and mushrooms, and crustless quiche with cheese and onions.  This came with cranberry-feta-walnut green salad. 

The fourth night was my team, and we were thrilled with the outcome of our culinary efforts:  enormous wild Alaskan sockeye salmon marinated in loads of lemon juice, fresh ginger, garlic, basil, and a dash of soy sauce.  This received high marks from everyone, even the three and under set, but even better than that was the grilled tempeh.  We marinated nutty tempeh in a mix of soy sauce, honey, garlic, and a single dollop of BBQ sauce.  The tempeh tasted truly inspired, and it was my very first foray in the strange stuff.  We served more vegetable skewers, marinated in olive oil and balsamic, and the biggest hit was the fresh local corn salad.  Corn, black beans, garbanzos, green peppers, cucumbers, ripe cherry tomatoes, lots of lime, a few dashes of cumin, a mist of olive oil and vinegar, and a dash of cayenne.  This salad was, quite simply, the bomb. 

The following night we split up for dinner.  Some went out to a restaurant, others stayed around and grilled shrimp on the BBQ, and rustled up a lovely summer salad of edamame, tomatoes, feta, oil and vinegar.  I biked half a mile down the road to eat at Bluecoast, an upscale seafood restaurant facing the sunset over the bay.  We enjoyed fresh mussels in white wine, butter, lemon and garden herbs with our drinks on the white and black patio.  After moving to our table and enjoying a refreshing but overly-intense pineapple martini and glass of pinot grigio, we ordered a salad course each.  Mine was local tomatoes with gorgonzola, balsamic, and roasted garlic.  His was a classic Ceasar, doused in sweet buttermilk dressing, but lifted up by the devastatingly fresh and unique white anchovies.  White anchovies are mere distant cousins of the average canned hairy, limp, grey Tim Burton-esque monstrosities .  These were hefty, meaty, slightly salty and gratefully bald.  They were also, in contrast, gorgeous.   

We were giddily happy with our entrees.  These folks at Bluecoast know how to sautee a fish.  Especially chilean sea bass, which can be confounding in its thickness and must never be over cooked.  They achieved buttery perfection and settled it atop fresh, snapping green beans with local fingerling potatoes. 

I went for the lobster bucatini, a creamier version of carbonara (I know, I know).  The lobster claws were bouyant and bouncy, expertly cooked, and their sweet peas tasted fresh from the garden.  I thoroughly enjoyed this dish, and there was a loud and simultaneous sigh, as clinking our glasses, we sat back and watched the adobe-colored sun diminish over the bay.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2008 11:51 pm

    BlogAsheville netizen,

    See you Friday?

  2. July 24, 2008 9:14 am

    Sorry Gordon,

    No can do. I have other plans. Although I’m definitely interested in being involved in the extrablogapalooza or whatever. So keep me in the loop!

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