Is it noshworthy?

The Wonderful World of Seafood!

December 17th, 2009

I’ve lived in three major cities in my life, San Diego, Chicago, and San Francisco. To my good fortune, two of them are known for their fresh seafood.

One of my mom’s favorite places was Anthony’s Fish Grotto in San Diego, right on the water next to the Star of India. When I was a little kid in my “I don’t like fish, it tastes fishy!!!” phase, my mom used Anthony’s to open my horizons.

Seafood has been a staple of my diet ever since.

Years later, when I had my first “grown up” job, I got to go to MacWorld in Boston with my (then) boss and (now) close friend, Paul Hacker. I was terrified. I had never been on a business trip before, and I certainly wasn’t used to the idea of hanging out with my boss and company CEO.

The first night, Paul took me to the Union Oyster House, one of the most famous seafood restaurants in the United States, and our oldest, continuously running restaurant. They’ve been serving amazing seafood for almost two hundred years!

I had no idea what was appropriate to order. How much is reasonable to spend? Can I drink in front of my boss? I had only worked for him for four months, so I could only guess.

Before I could worry about it, Paul said, “The Lobster ThermidorĀ is really great here. Do you want to try it?” He didn’t have to ask twice.

Years later I would learn that Paul had an incredible attitude about traveling employees. He felt that if the company sends you to another city, away from your family and friends, they should make the experience as enjoyable as possible. It wasn’t like I’d order lobster every night, so why not have at least one special meal?

I love this man!

Five months later, we were at MacWorld in San Francisco. Being within the state, a few of my friends made it to MacWorld as well, and our second night there we were ready for something special.

We all knew a guy named Lou Barrack, who had a gift. This gift was to speak with complete confidence on topics that he had no clue about. This gift was soon labeled, “Lou-Rectum-speak”.

So needless to say, we were skeptical when he told us about the best seafood restaurant in San Francisco. However, since we didn’t know where to go anyway, we thought we’d at least get a good story out of it. We weren’t wrong.

That night we told the cabbie to take us to Scoma’s Seafood on Fisherman’s Wharf. He dropped us off at a dark alley, blanketed in fog.

Now we were four manly-men, so clearly we wouldn’t admit that the idea of walking down the dark alley in a thick fog was scary.

“Are you scared?” “Of course not? You?” “Not me”, our conversation went on, the four of us huddled together like a gaggle of schoolgirls. We made our way through the fog, expecting to get shiv’ed by an anonymous man in a trench coat. The sound of barking seals adding to the surreal experience.

Then something unexpected happened. We heard the sounds of happy people.

We made our way through the last of the fog to see what looked like a shack on the end of the pier. By the time we made it to Scoma’s, the line to get in was almost two hours.

Clearly, these folks made it down the dark alley, through the fog, past the barking seals, imagined villains, and had formed quite a line!

I don’t know if it was the adventure we had gone through to get there, but we had one of the best seafood meals I’ve ever had. The clam chowder was awesome, easily competing with Legals Seafood of Boston. The Dungeness crab was unreal. The lobster was incredible.

I was waxing poetic with my friend Eliza about Scoma’s the other day, only to find that she too was a big fan. We arranged to relive our previous experiences over lunch.

Not only was the company charming, Scoma’s lived up to its well-deserved reputation. The clams were savory, the butternut squash and crab soup incredible. Eliza loved her Dungeness crab.

And I couldn’t resist the Lobster Thermidor.

There’s a reason Scoma’s is a special occasion kind of place. The seafood there is clearly special. Next time you’re thinking about a steakhouse for a special moment, seek out an Anthony’s or Scoma’s. You’ll be glad you did!

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