Mussel porn, best tuna salad, and an old friend’s excellent wine

Just had to share this photo of a mussel from lunch today at one of our all-time favorite seafood joints, Bay Park Fish Co. in San Diego where we’ll be staying for the next days (Tracie P got in last night). I cannot recommend this place highly enough. And what can I say? One man’s mussel is another’s Rorschach test.

The tuna fish salad at Bay Park may not look as sexy as the mussels but you haven’t had a tuna fish salad sandwich until you’ve had one made with U.S. pole-fished tuna. My good high school buddy Marc Muller, co-owner and founder of Bay Park, only serves old-school pole-fished tuna in his restaurant. (In case you’re interested, here’s a video and some info on the history of pole-fished tuna in San Diego.) The Mexican torta bread takes this sandwich over the top. It’s generally served as a tuna melt but they’ll make it anyway you want. I had mine with mashed avocado, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Utterly delicious…

Yesterday afternoon, I got to taste another high school buddy’s wine: when not working as a cellarmaster for Craggy Range, Pieter Koopman makes wine on his family’s estate in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. I hadn’t seen Pieter 15 years and it was great to connect and talk and taste wine together. I dug his Chardonnay (yes, Chardonnay from New Zealand!), blended with a little bit of Viognier. The wine was fresh and clean, bright but with a slightly unctuous mouthfeel that went brilliantly with some fried calamari at Jaynes Gastropub. Good fruit, good acidity, and balanced alcohol. Pieter and his lovely wife Paige (also from La Jolla where I grew up) are planning to bring their wines to the States and I know they’re going to knock it out of the park…

Texas is my new home and I love it. But man, it sure is nice to be somewhere where everyone knows your name.

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