Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hi, My Name is Lily and I am Spoiled By Quality Smoked Fish Dip

I recently got bitten by the genealogy bug and have been spending an embarrassing amount of time putting together my family tree on  I have traced my family back to the mid 1700's.  It's been a very interesting endeavor.  Through, I have connected with several distant relatives in the United States and Canada.  I also discovered that one of these distant relatives wrote a book on my paternal great, great grandfather and our family between the years 1772 through 1927.  

I absolutely had to order the book right away!  I have been perched by my mailbox, waiting for it to arrive!  My mailman is about to file a temporary restraining order.  I cannot wait to read this book, especially the chapter on the murder of my paternal great-grandmother's first husband.  Scandal!  My great-grandfather was her second husband.  I knew I was descended from people with lives of DRAMA!  I'll be channeling my inner "Ewing" until the book arrives.  (Side Note:  the reboot of the TV show "Dallas" starts June 13, 2012 - will you be watching?)

Speaking of dramatic relatives, when my Mother recently visited from Minnesota, I took her to the Tommy Bahama Restaurant in Sarasota, Florida.  I like to go shopping in Sarasota at St. Armand's Circle and then grab a leisurely lunch or dinner at Tommy Bahama.  Now if you are like me, you may ask "Isn't Tommy Bahama, a clothing store?"  Yes, it is!  But they also have a restaurant chain and their menu has a lot of great dishes.  Trust me on this one!

I started lunch with Tommy Bahama's basil-mint lemonade.  It sounded cool and refreshing for a hot day.  

The verdict?  I have to say that it was too cloyingly sweet for me.  I like a nice tart lemonade.  I don't like a lemonade that leaves a syrupy sweet taste on my tongue.  Tommy Bahama's has a lot of great cocktails, so next time I'll try something else.

The next item I ordered, did not disappoint at all.  Top marks for this item!  It is Tommy Bahama's Smokehouse Angus Burger - a Prime Angus beef patty on a toasted brioche bun with roasted garlic aioli, sharp white cheddar cheese, Neuske's bacon (delicious!) and red onion.  This is one fabulous burger!  I will say I didn't really taste the roasted garlic aioli however.  Next time, I will ask for it on the side.   The French fries were crispy and delicious.  

(Side Note: Tasty quick appetizer idea - roll pitted dates in thick slices of Neuske's Canadian bacon, secure with a toothpick and bake for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees, turning once during cooking.  Savory, sweet, quick and easy!)

One awesome burger ...

Before I ordered my burger, my Mother and I split the Smoked Trout Dip appetizer.  Several of my paternal grandmother's brothers were avid fishermen in southern Minnesota on the Mississippi River.  Growing up in Minnesota, you have to love hockey and you have to love fishing.  In Minnesota, we have many restaurants who offer smoked fish dip as an appetizer.  If you have not tried smoked fish dip, you need to check it out.  It's smoky, savory, rich and tasty.  

The Smoked Trout appetizer at Tommy Bahama sounded wonderful - smoked trout with horseradish, lime sriracha and herbs served on top of fried plantains and accompanied by flatbreads. 

I had high hopes for this smoked fish appetizer ... sigh ...

Unfortunately, Tommy Bahama should have called this dish "Fishy Mayo."  There was not enough smoked trout and way too much mayonnaise.  If I wanted to eat mayonnaise, I'd just grab a jar of Hellman's and a spoon.  Where was the horseradish advertised on the menu?  Where was the lime sriracha?  I expected a big punch of flavor and all I tasted was fishy-tasting mayo.  Not exactly appealing to me.  

I will say that I loved how the appetizer was presented.  I never would have guessed that the combination of smoked fish with fried plantains would be a shockingly tasty duo.  However, I just could not get past the bland mayo, goopy dip.  I would not order this appetizer again.

It was then that I had the realization that I was "SMOKED FISH DIP SPOILED."  I do believe this is the correct psychological term in the DSM-IV.  Florida, like Minnesota, has a lot of avid fishermen.  So many so, that I even have my own personal Smoked Fish Dip Dealer.  (Gasp!  No!  YES!  Some people have drug dealers.  My version of crack is a tub of smoked fish dip and I have my own dealer!  Don't judge me!)  

"Hi, My Name is Lily and I am Spoiled By Quality Smoked Fish Dip.  Wait, is this not the Friends of Nemo meeting?"  

Why is this particular smoked fish dip my own personal addiction?  It's because it is jam packed with fresh smoked Florida fish.  Many times the fish in the smoked fish dip is directly caught by my "Dealer" himself.  Talk about fresh!  It's been a long time since I personally knew who caught the seafood I eat!  

This smoked fish dip is not a "mayo-y" sloppy dip.  It is thick with fine quality fresh smoked fish.  I have never had a smoked fish dip with this much smoked fish in it.  It really has ruined me for all other smoked fish dips!  My Smoked Fish Dip Dealer recommends serving his dip with Ritz or Club crackers.  I could eat this smoked fish dip on almost anything though!  It is that tasty!  One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is spread on slices of Granny Smith apple - talk about a tangy and acidic bite to accent the flavorful mouthfeel of the smoky full-bodied fish!  You have to try this quality Floridian smoked fish spread, packed to "the gills" with fresh-caught fish.  (I'll save a seat for you at the Smoked Fish Dip Addiction Meetings...)

My Smoked Fish Dip Dealer is also a Gyotaku Artist. (No, not an artist who works with potstickers - that's gyoza!)  I will confess that I had no idea what "Gyotaku Art" was until my Smoked Fish Dip Dealer showed me some of his art work.  

Why am I suddenly having flashbacks to the movie Pineapple Express?

Oh yeah, it's probably because of the whole notion of making conversation with your dealer ...

From IMDB:
Saul: How about in the park, when I said you were my friend... you didn't say anything back.
Dale Denton: Well, that's easy. It's because we're not friends. You are my drug dealer. The only reason I know you is because I like the drugs you sell. If you didn't sell drugs, I would have no idea who you are, and I wouldn't be here right now. I would be fantastic!
Saul: Oh.
Dale Denton: I'm sorry, that sounded really mean... just to hear that, that sounded really mean.
Saul: No, I see. The monkey's out of the bottle now!
Dale Denton: What? That's not even... a figure of speech.
Saul: Pandora can't go back into the box - he only comes out. 

Anyway, unlike Pineapple Express, I actually do enjoy talking with my Smoked Fish Dip Dealer, especially about his art.  Evidently, Gyotaku Art is Japanese Fish Art.  You make a rubbing of an actual fish.  The end result makes a gorgeous piece of art.  (And a fantastic gift for any fisherman, fisherwoman or people who just like fish.)  

I know I am not doing the definition of "Gyotaku Art" justice, so check out my Smoked Fish Dip Dealer's extremely popular gyotaku art work on his blog here.  (And if you're not into fish art, but love some good fish spread; check out his blog to see where you can purchase the most amazing Floridian smoked fish dip.)

If you're looking for a good burger in Sarasota, check out Tommy Bahama's.  However if you're looking for amazing smoked fish dip, skip Tommy Bahama's.  Isn't it time you nurtured your own smoked fish dip addiction with some quality product?  This monkey wants to get on your back!  And tell my Dealer that Lily (umm I mean "Madame Chat Fou") says "hello." 

P.S. Producers of A&E Intervention - call me!  My post Smoked Fish Dip Addiction is going to drive your ratings into the stratosphere!   

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