There were a half dozen folks staring at the case and white board which had the seafood of the day scribbled on. The place is cavernous; a large warehouse that looks to be as long as a football field and in all parts, fish is over ice, in tanks, being filleted, unloaded, rolled around and packed. It’s Friday and by far the best day to stop in. It’s no secret that I love to eat so showing up on a Friday is no accident for me. Friday is the day of the week fishmonger and Catalina Offshore marketing head Tommy Gomes, brings in a chef to cook up savory bites to sample of what is on ice for the day. Lucky for me, Chef Christopher Logan of Creative Flavors Catering was on hand searing up scallops, prawns & yellowfin like magic.
For someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about seafood, Catalina Offshore can be intimidating. That’s why I headed straight for Tommy who was sitting at his desk talking into his bluetooth earpiece. I patiently waited for him to finish but that was no big feat. His desk was conveniently next to the chef station so I proceeded to nibble on whatever came my way and boy was it good!
To be honest… This is a NO BULLSHIT establishment. You walk in, you make a decision, they pack it up, you leave. There are no frills. This is not a “store” but a 24 hour working market. Chefs from all over get their seafood from here including the counties best like Chef Paul McCabe who is currently the Executive Chef at La Valencia. Many chefs come in each morning to hand pick their seafood for the day and only trust the likes of Catalina Offshore for their customers. Why? Because knowing where your food comes from is more important today than ever before. That’s what you get here. These guys know their business. They don’t mis-label the fish and they know exactly where and from whom their fish comes from. Besides that, they know what to do with it and they are more than happy to assist you with suggestions.
I took away a slab of Yellowtail (a personal favorite), some prawns and as a bonus, Tommy Gomes threw in a fish I had never heard of, Robalo. I also received a couple tubs of a very special pesto sauce from Lisko Artisan Deli and Fish Market. I was given very specific directions. Pan sear and top with the pesto. OMG! It was delicious. Them chaps know a thing or two. I will be a regular.
So, next time you are at your fave seafood digs, ask them if they know where their fish comes from.
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Thanks Catalina for letting me invade your space for a little bit… It was a finger licking good experience!