Nothing But Fresh

For anyone who is new to my blog, I live on an island in the Atlantic.  As a result, I have come to expect only the best and freshest seafood around.  I am a vegetarian, however when I studying nutrition I reintroduced fish back into my diet.  It was slow going at first, but with the move here I have been eating fish and seafood a lot more often.  If a label needs to be placed, I go with lacto-ovo-pesco vegetarian, which to some is simply confusing, so when in doubt I just say vegetarian and hope that someone serves me just vegetables.  I am still rather picky on other things, and even on some fish consistencies.

There is no denying that the fish we get here is is fantastic.  I have even seen fisherman deliver the fish right to the restaurant before lunch time.  You can see in the fish market that everything (almost everything, there are always exceptions and storms preventing ultra-fresh) is fresh.  The restaurants often have a fresh fish case out in front and you can see what you are going to be served.  I have even had the chef invite me to watch him slice my piece of fish off a very, very, very large fish, and then take me in the back to see how he will prepare this.  It is an amazing experience and I do everything I can to take advantage of this.

This brings me to a restaurant in Angra called O Leme, which means the rudder, and you can assume from there this is a fish restaurant.  The window that is no covered with the blinds is looking at the fresh fish case and as we approached they were just setting out the fish for the evening.
The inside decor was absolutely adorable and looked like you were inside a boat, complete with a picture of the captains area looking back over the city of Angra, as if we were out in the bay.  It was quiet and quaint and just very welcoming.

We had bread to start.  This is very typical of Portuguese meals.
I can’t resist indulging in the cheese around here.  Can you say local and fresh?!?!?  I just love the cheese from around here.  These islands are very big in dairy production.  In fact, I did not realize I liked butter until I had real butter here on the island, made locally in Angra, from the cows right here.  It is amazing sometimes how food companies get carried away, want to preserve their foods as long as possible, and then add things to their foods that can alter the taste of something which should be so simple.
These are carrots in olive oil.
Here comes the main event.  Ryan and I ordered the fish platter for 2.  We even had the choice of fish from the case, and since we were the first guests (there promptly when they opened at 7 pm…ah Europe!) we had plenty to pick from.  After we ordered and the chef and server went to scope things out, they came back and presented us with the raw to inspect and approve before taking it back to be cooked.  I have had a similar experience in mainland Portugal, at the beach nearby Lisbon.  It is just the way they do things here, and I would assume is similar in other coastal areas, especially those that are Mediterranean.
As our fish was prepared, we sat and talked and enjoyed the atmosphere.  Then out came the fish.  We were served boca negra, which is a fish that is served whole with the head and skin and the bones.  Here they cut the fish in half, and this makes getting the bones out a lot easier.  We also had barracuda, which in Portuguese is bicuda, and very popular here.  It is different from the aggressive kind that we know in the States.  The third fish is one that neither of us ever figured out.  No complaints from us because all 3 fish were delicious.
It came served family style, with a side of salad and a platter of vegetables.
This was just the right amount of food for the two if us, and a good variety too.  It was nice to share so that we could each try a little of everything.  I am looking forward to going back to O Leme again.

QUESTIONS:  Do you have access to fresh fish/seafood?  What is the freshest food experience you have ever had?


Kimberly Peterson said...

Hubby and I love fishing for the very purpose of cooking and eating only the freshest fish. We have a reasonably good access to fresh fish from the markets, but sounds like you live in seafood heaven!!

Kristen (swanky dietitian) said...

I agree that when you often try the real thing, it surpasses anything else. My coworker brought in freshly ground pb and the flavor was just out of this world.
I love how fresh all the food you eat is. That is wonderful!

Biz said...

When I visited my grandparents every summer, we would have huge crab fests - my grandpa would buy blue crabs by the bushel - and he had this huge stock pot to cook them in.

Sadly, I was SUCH a picky eater back then, I never took advantage of it!

Beth said...

I want fresh fish!

Mari said...

That fish looks great...actually everything does!

sophia said...

I think I would be very sad if you didn't eat fish in such a wonderful seafood-fresh area! I wish I had more access to fresh fish...apparently LA doesn't have good seafood. I used to live in Singapore, so the fish there was fresh and awesome. I miss Cantonese steamed fish! And stingray!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

I am so jealous!! There was just a story on the news last week about how the majority of America's fish is from other seas. They did a study and found that most of it was CONTAMINATED!! They said especially tilapia and catfish. I went into my freezer and of course my tilapia was from Vietnam, which was one of the countries they listed as a bad place to get fish. I threw it in the trash :( I want FRESH!

Special K said...

Does Boca Negra mean Black Mouth? It sounds so not yummy, and looks like it is supposed to...but SUPER tasty!

And nah, the seafood in Germany isn't fresh...I need Spain for that!

On traveling note...what did you like to do in Marakesh? I would love your recommendation.

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