Friday, January 30, 2009


Eastside Road, Healdsburg, January 30, 2009

YOU'LL HAVE NOTICED I never mention money here, for three very good reasons at least: I'm a little ashamed at how we spend money eating; your shopping is not likely equivalent to mine; it's none of your business. Still, I'll make an occasional exception. Tonight's protein cost us two dollars fifty cents.

One pound of sardines — seven nice sturdy very fresh fish — bought two days ago at Monterey Fish when we were down in Berkeley. We absolutely trust this company: it's one of the very few things we miss from Berkeley, ten years after moving away.

Cleaning them this afternoon was the work of ten or twelve minutes. I should have grilled them over vine cuttings on the hibachi, but I was too lazy, or it was too cold, or something. Instead, Lindsey grilled them under the broiler. Salt and a squeeze of lemon juice, and a baked potato alongside, dressed with olive oil and salt and pepper. Green salad? How could you ask?
Cheap Pinot grigio


Curtis Faville said...

At some point I'm going to do casual restaurant reviews on my own blog.

In the meantime, I can mention the odd meal.

Like most Americans, I was (am still, really) unfamiliar with sardines, but for the tightly packed miniature versions we've always had in the little round-edged roll back tins. My stepfather used to get a sudden urge for them occasionally, and would serve himself a complete meal of them, cold, on saltine crackers, at 10 or 11 in the evening.

We've all had them at least once, usually as a seasoning on a Caesar sald, or on the odd pizza.

So it came as a complete surprise to me, when we recently screwed up our courage and ordered a full plate of the larger-sized ones, as an entree.

Wow. Whereas the smaller ones I'd had before often tasted slightly vinegary and excessively salty (is this the result of additional salt applied in the packing process?), these were absolutely wonderful. Not gamey like cod can be, but almost like steak. Wonderful meatiness, but soft and delicate. And the bones, even with fish of about 8 inches, no problem whatsoever.

It's too bad Americans don't know about this delicacy. Grilled, fried, or baked, I suspect sardines may be a secret pleasure.

I doubt if they're endangered, as I wouldn't want them cultivated in farms.

Charles Shere said...

In fact you can eat the bones, and you should, carefully; they're very good for you.