Holy guacamole, Batman! Ceviche porn (warning: extreme fish content)

Yo, Dr. V, impossible pairing? What does one pair with ceviche? Tracie B and I don’t usually drink wine at lunch (when we ate most of the fish during our San Diego trip) and we had sake with our sushi (see below). What would you pair with ceviche? Leave a comment and let me know!

Is that a face or IS THAT A FACE? I couldn’t help but post this snap Tracie B took of a ray in the aquarium at the new Zenbu in Cardiff (North County, San Diego).

Isn’t he cool? That is, assuming he’s a he! Owners Matt and Jacqueline Rimel and I all went to La Jolla High together and I’m thrilled to see their businesses thriving.

Like the La Jolla location, the cooking style is decidedly Southern Californian. I like to call it “heavy metal” sushi. Tracie B and I had the Mexicali Roll (above), which is basically a classic shrimp roll with a garnish of jalapeño and cilantro imparting some Baja California flavors. It was delicious.

The traditional-style ceviche at Bahia Don Bravo in La Jolla was awesome, as always. So were the grilled mahi mahi tacos and the camaronillas (shrimp deep-fried in a corn tortilla).

The ceviche at Bay Park Fish Company in Mission Bay, San Diego was slightly more contemporary but just as delicious. I’m loving living in Austin but one thing I really miss about Southern California is the availability of super fresh seafood.

Like Matt’s materia prima at Zenbu, most of the fish at my high school bud Marc Muller’s Bay Park Fish Co. is also sourced as locally — and as humanely — as possible. Tracie B said these were the best clams she has had outside of Italy.

I couldn’t resist this pic either, snapped at Siesel’s Old Fashioned Meats, right next door to Bay Park Fish Company.

In other news…

I’m about to get on a plane for Little Rock, Arkansas where I’ll be hawking wine for the next few days. It should be a fun trip, with wine dinners tonight and tomorrow.

But I miss her already…

Holy cannolo (and Franco’s thoughts on EU reform of the Italian DOC system)

Miracles appear in the strangest of places…

It may be hard to believe but I had what was probably the best cannolo I’ve ever had in… yes, you won’t believe it… in Little Rock, Arkansas where I was traveling for business (cannolo is the singular of cannoli, btw). For me, the cannolo is all about the buccia, the shell. It needs to be firm but light, crunchy but consistent, sweet but not too much so, with just the right amount of savoriness to balance the richness of the cream filling.

I’m not quite sure how they got there, but Santo Sacca (left) from Messina (the front of the house) and chef Rosario Patti from Palermo run a fantastic little Italian restaurant in Little Rock. Some may come close, but their cannolo cannot be beat.

Rosario seasons his excellent pasta mari e monti (sea and mountain) with saffron. It was delicious.

Vesuvio Bistro
1501 Merrill Dr
Little Rock AR 72211

Holy cannolo Bill Clinton! Now it’s time for me to get my butt back to Austin for some holy mole at Polvo’s.

In other news…

A lot of people have asked me about upcoming EU Common Market Organisation reforms whereby the Italian appellation system will be absorbed by the EU, to take effect on August 1. The names and classification of Italian appellations won’t change but the power to issue new appellations will pass from Rome to Brussels. I’ve translated and posted Franco’s editorial at VinoWire, including some useful links. Other alarmist bloggers have claimed erroneously that the CMO reform will wipe out the Italian system. The real question is how EU bureaucrats will deal with requests for new appellations starting in August.