Sunday, November 21, 2010

It Was a Day . . .

like every other day.

Bright blue sky? Check. Temps around 70? Check. Low humidity? Check. Light breeze off San Diego Bay? Check.

We had completed our hike at Torrey Pines and what better way to end the day than by sitting by the bay and enjoying lunch at Point Loma Seafoods?

“It Began with an Idea. . .Point Loma Seafoods first opened its doors to the public back in 1963. Kelly Christianson and his wife Marie began selling fish out of a small store with one small display case…In time, along with their sons Jack and John, Kelly and Marie slowly built Point Loma Seafoods' reputation as more than just a fresh fish market. Soon they began smoking and processing both sport-caught fish and fish for retail sales…By the late 70's the local crowds grew and grew. At this time, PLSF still operated out of a retail area of only about 250 square feet…In order to accommodate the increased business, Kelly, along with Jack and John, decided it was time to remodel. The building you see today is that building” (from the restaurant’s web site).

When you walk through the doors, you come face to face with three cold food cases containing a wide variety of fresh fish and seafood. And you immediately notice the absence of any fishy odor indicating that their product is really fresh. (Can you notice the absence of something? Does this make sense?)

And, since fresh fish sales are a major component of their business, there is a display set aside for fish coatings, seasonings, and sauces – even Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning.

Ordering at Point Loma Seafoods is a nonchalant process. There is no formal line. You stand and study the list of menu options and then, elbowing your way through the masses, approach one of the people behind the case. You’d better have cash. No credit cards are accepted. You get a number and wait for your food to be prepared. Then you decide whether you want to sit on the indoor patio or at one of the round umbrella tables that look out over the marina with the city in the background.

You may even see a sea lion(?).

As was the case at Mitch’s (see 11/13 entry), most of the menu items are fried. But there is a fairly long list of fresh seafood cocktails (crab, crab and shrimp combo, smoked fish, Gulf shrimp, oysters, oysters or clams on the half shell, pickled squid, herring, and ceviche.) There is also a selection of salads that include crab Louie, shrimp Louie, tuna Louie, smoked fish Louie, Caesar with or without shrimp, and grilled ahi tuna. You can order either white or red chowder. And, naturally, there is an extensive list of sandwiches and platters.

The specials that day were the grilled swordfish tacos and a grilled ahi tuna sandwich. Had the fish on the tacos been anything other than swordfish, they would have been my choice. But swordfish is not one of my favorites. So I chose the grilled ahi sandwich which came on a Kaiser roll and was topped lettuce, tomato, red onion, and wasabi mayo.

My sandwich was a lesson in how one should not make an assumption. I had presumed that the ahi would be grilled to a medium rare bordering on rare degree of doneness. I was wrong. The tuna came more medium bordering on medium well. It tasted fresh. It tasted mild. It was dry. Fortunately, there was enough of the good wasabi mayo to counteract the dryness of the tuna.

From the long list of platters, Chuck selected the crab cakes which came with fries and cole slaw. And, he added an order of onion rings. The fries were your basic shoestring fries; the onion rings were crunchy with panko crumbs added to the coating; and the slaw resembled all of the slaws we have eaten in this area with a thin and somewhat sweet dressing tossed with green and red shredded cabbage.

The crab cakes were good, but were no match for Mitch’s. These-–Point Loma’s-–were deep fat fried rather than grill fried and had been seasoned with an Old Bay-like spice. You could taste the cayenne which diminished the mild and sweet flavor of the crab.

If this were an episode of Food Feuds on the Food Network, Mitch’s on Point Loma would be the definite winner. So we’ll rate Point Loma Seafoods as a 3.5 Addie stop and I am beginning to think that I should have rated Mitch’s as a 4.5 rather than 4.0 Addie lunch.

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