Author: Jesus Soto

How to Choose the Best Seafood for Your Restaurant

Eating seafood dishes can be an incredible taste experience. The flavors are unlike anything else on earth. The waters where your fish was sourced suffuse your entrees, appetizers, and hors d’oeuvres with a fresh essence. It doesn’t matter if you buy your fish fresh or frozen – you can still get the best of the best. This will result in superior flavor for your restaurant dishes. Learn how to choose seafood for your restaurant and get the best bang for your buck. How to Choose Seafood for the Best-Tasting Dishes For the uninitiated, picking restaurant seafood can be a bit intimidating. Use these tips to navigate the waters. Tips for Purchasing Fresh Seafood Purchasing the catch-of-the-day can be beneficial for your business in a lot of ways. Customers respond well to “fresh seafood” advertising, and it appeals to the growing “eat local” movement. Especially if you live in a coastal town, perusing your local fish market could be a great method to support the local economy and sustainable fishing. These are positive aspects diners like to hear about and can be a great draw for your restaurant. Here’s what to look for when purchasing fresh fish: 1. Fish should smell fresh and salty, like seawater or even cucumbers. If they smell fishy, sour, or have an ammonia scent, stay far away. 2. The flesh should be firm and unmarked, except for the animal’s natural coloring. When you touch the flesh, it should spring back. Avoid fish with flesh that looks brown. 3. Check that the eyes are clear and slightly bulging. Don’t purchase if they look cloudy. Seasonal Catches In general, when purchasing fresh fish, look for seasonal catches. These will be readily available and taste delicious. For example, some varieties of salmon are available fresh in Alaska during the summer months. Freshly-caught blue mussels are available from January to March in the Pacific Northwest. Research your area and find out what’s in season during each month of the year. Seasonal menus are a big trend with restaurants, so you could tap into this market and emphasize local, seasonal, sustainable cuisine. Tips for Buying Frozen Seafood If you need to buy your product in bulk or require flexibility for the day you cook it, frozen seafood may be the better option. In fact, frozen fish can taste just as fresh as varieties purchased at a fish market. This is because […]

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Florida Keys Travel Guide

The Florida Keys are like a coral kingdom: a 125-mile-long arcing chain of islands flung south from the tip of Florida with the ultimate island — Key West — resting just 90 miles from the shores of Cuba. And with one narrow road (and 42 bridges) connecting the isles, just to travel the Florida Keys is to feel on a magical, water-surrounded journey. While it’s possible to hop in a car in Miami and make it to Key West (and the southernmost point in the continental United States) in less than four hours (traffic willing), that defeats the charm and richness of Florida Keys. Every few miles there’s a discovery to be had: a tiki bar, a seafood joint, a beachy resort or boutique hotel, a gorgeous nature preserve, or just a thrilling turquoise vista across the famed saltwater flats toward a blue horizon. So, make a trip of it — spend a few days in Key Largo or Islamorada near the upper end of the archipelago, dally on Marathon or Big Pine Key, then settle in for some serious quirky culture, history, and bohemia in Key West. Take time to snorkel, dive, and fish, walk the beach and eat lots and lots of seafood (and Key lime pie). And don’t worry if you don’t get to everything that there is to love and explore in the Florida Keys — you’ll be back. Time Zone Eastern Standard Time (Daylight Savings Time is observed seasonally) Best Time to Go Peak tourist season in the Florida Keys starts right after the holidays in late December and lasts through May. During the winter months, it almost never rains, and even if clouds do push through with some showers, they’re gone that day. The Keys’ subtropical climate means balmy temperatures year-round (January’s high temperatures are typically in the 70s), making it a superb destination when even Central Florida can be experiencing frosts. In the summer, when temperatures get into the hot range (July’s average high is 86°F), the crowds disperse a bit, and hotels tend to lower their prices, which makes this a great time to visit if you’re looking for better deals and don’t mind heat and humidity. Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, which means more turbulent weather and the possibility of dangerous storms (peak hurricane months for the Florida Keys are between Aug. 15 and Oct. 15). […]

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Benefits of Enjoying Seafood from a Restaurant

Taking a night off from cooking dinner yourself to instead enjoy going to a restaurant is always nice. After all, eating out allows you to partake in a delicious meal without having to worry about burning the food, seasoning it perfectly, or washing dishes afterward. However, aside from all these basic perks, there are many reasons why you should let the seafood experts prepare your favorite dishes for you. Here are 4 benefits of enjoying seafood from a restaurant, rather than your home. You Get the Freshest Seafood Available While we can’t speak for all seafood restaurants, we can speak for ourselves in saying that our restaurant only offers the freshest seafood available. This is because we purchase large portions of seafood each day that is delivered straight from the North Carolina coast to our restaurant. So, not only do we provide our customers with the freshest seafood available, but also options that are locally sourced. Generally, seafood options found in everyday grocery stores are not nearly as fresh as what we offer, nor locally sourced. Rarely has the seafood purchased in stores been caught just a day, or maybe a few days, before, as ours is. Ultimately, we guarantee the freshest seafood available via our daily shipments, which is something that is uncommon in typical grocery stores. You Get the Highest Quality Seafood Consistently At NC Seafood, we operate under highly detailed, standardized, and consistent processes, which routinely grant our customers high-quality, fresh, properly prepared seafood every time. From our cooking conditions to storage procedures and beyond, our strict regulations and standards ensure that we serve top-quality seafood, meaning each time an individual orders seafood from our restaurant, they will receive an exceptional, well-prepared meal. Consuming seafood that is unproperly cooked or prepared can result in several health issues; eating at a seafood restaurant with detailed standards and procedures ensures that your meal is delicious, fresh, high-quality, and ready to eat every time. You Get Cheaper Pricing for Higher Quality Seafood Unless you regularly purchase large amounts of fresh seafood from local fishmongers, typically you can receive cheaper pricing for higher quality seafood in eating at a restaurant than you would at your ordinary grocery store. In other words, because we buy our goods consistently and in bulk, we receive better pricing on our fresh, local seafood, meaning we are able to offer our high-quality seafood at a cheaper […]

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ways sustainable seafood can benefit people and the environment

Oceana works to save the oceans and feed the world, and we can’t do that without sustainable seafood. We help our oceans thrive by promoting fishery policies that follow science-based quotas, reduce bycatch, put an end to overfishing and protect fragile habitats. These tactics not only help marine life flourish – a win in its own right – but also ensure that our oceans can continue to nourish the people who need it most. Seafood is an indispensable part of many people’s diets, livelihoods, and cultural traditions. This is especially true for populations that don’t have access to an alternate source of healthy, affordable protein. In staying true to Oceana’s mission, here are five ways that seafood can sustain and support communities around the world. 1. Seafood can provide a healthy source of protein to a growing population. Right now, 821 million people around the world are living in hunger. This problem isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon, especially with the population projected to grow by 2 billion people over the next 30 years. But by ensuring that fisheries are managed sustainably, and within scientifically sound parameters, we can restore ocean abundance and put enough fish in our waters to feed a sizable portion of the planet. If we look after our oceans properly and avoid overexploiting their resources, they could provide a nutritious meal every day for 1 billion people. 2. Seafood could fill the micronutrient void that exists in many developing countries. A woman carries fish in Nauta, Peru. Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Christian Vinces Enough fish are caught in many developing countries to nourish their populations, and yet malnutrition remains a persistent problem. How can this be? A team of researchers, including Oceana Science Advisor Dr. Eddie Allison, found that the fish being caught in tropical countries are chock full of important micronutrients – including calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, omega-3 and vitamin A – but they don’t always end up on local people’s plates. That’s because much of the catch is exported, sometimes for the sole purpose of being churned into fishmeal and fed to carnivorous farmed fish like salmon, which are ultimately consumed by people in higher-income countries. This has consequences for both local people and the economy. “A lack of fish-derived nutrients has been found to have a large effect on public health, notably infant mortality and hence GDP,” Oceana Board Member and fisheries scientist Dr. Daniel Pauly wrote in a response to […]

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Are you bored of eating the same cuisine time and time again? Learn which factors you should consider when choosing a restaurant…

Visiting a restaurant is a great way to catch up with a friend or loved one over some great food. But with so many eateries to choose from, a growing number of diners are choosing to return to the same restaurant time and time again. Continue reading to familiarise yourself with four things you should consider when deciding where to dine next. Location Location is a key determining factor when it comes to deciding where to eat. Whether you are looking to support a brand-new local bistro or don’t mind venturing further afield, you must establish geographical boundaries ahead of time. By doing so, you can narrow down your search and limit your options. Location is also a key element for diners reliant on public transport or that would prefer to be within walking distance. Different locations may also offer different cuisines. For example, seaside restaurants tend to provide high-quality seafood whilst restaurants located in city centre locations tend to focus on a wide range of cuisines or fast food. Budget As with any purchase or investment, you must budget accordingly. Still, opting for the cheapest option possible is unlikely to prove the wisest decision; rather, finding a good balance means that you can enjoy the best of both worlds. We do this all the time, even outside of restauranting. When we go online shopping, we pour over comparisons that weigh up cost against quality. When we go online to find games, we look at features like RTP. The highly popular Dragon’s Luck Megaways, for instance, boasts a Return to Player rate of 95.69%, which means that players can take advantage of a strong opportunity to win. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a case of doing your research in order to get the most enjoyment out of your money. If you are dining with friends, it may benefit you to choose a restaurant that will give you value for money. This doesn’t necessarily mean choosing a cheap restaurant but a good meal that everyone will be comfortable and happy to pay for. While some high-end restaurants may offer prices that reflect the quality of the food on offer, you may also be able to get the exact same meal from a local food stall for a fraction of the price. Cuisine Choosing a particular cuisine ahead of time can streamline your restaurant search. Whether you are craving your favourite Japanese dish or are […]

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Don’t be fooled by the smiles; some of our restaurants are still on the edge

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of dining at one of the coastal restaurant, a (very) tiny spot in Fenwick Island known for exceptional food and service. Though I was ecstatic with the quality of our dishes and the service, I was saddened by the very few people that owners Carlie and Scott Carey were “allowed” to seat. I was even more saddened by the number of potential guests – and income for their little family – they turned away at the door because of indiscriminately imposed limits on seating. With a polite nod to the old saying, it was almost like “the harder they worked, the behinder they got.” Delaware Restaurant Association President Carrie Leishman will appear on my radio show this Saturday and Sunday. When I asked her what she wanted to talk about, she said she wanted to emphasize that the great majority of our small, local eateries are putting on brave, smiling faces, but are still suffering financial and emotional loss every day. Last Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of “just two weeks to flatten the curve.” Local restaurants did their best to pitch in – blissfully unaware that they’d be even more crippled 50 weeks later. During that time, I interviewed One Coastal’s owner Carlie Carey. She and her husband were scrambling to keep their dream alive. During our on-air exchange, her eyes teared up as she revealed her true feelings. I was so moved that I transcribed it and printed it word-for-word on this page. That was then. This is now. In an attempt to point up the one-year anniversary of increasingly capricious rules, lockdowns and “mandates,” I’m reprinting a portion of Carlie’s soliloquy. Who knows … perhaps it will add a personal perspective to remind fellow restaurant lovers that some of our favorite spots – many of which are owned by friends and neighbors – might not be around when (and if) this ever comes to an end. Take it, Carlie: “Our team is like our family.  And I mean that in every sense of the word. Something we’ve really tried to concentrate on in the restaurant, with it being this small, is that we expect a lot from our team. And we try our best to give it back to them as well. They’re more than just employees to us. We know them as a mom, or an aunt, or a […]

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5 Ways to Dine the Coastal Way

Dining while on vacation should be relaxing, stress-free, fun, and—perhaps most importantly—delicious! Follow these tips and you should be guaranteed all of the above. Large Groups If you’re dining with a large group, there are many restaurants that can accommodate your party, like Lambert’s Café in Foley serving up delicious Southern cuisine at its finest. All our restaurants love the crowds, but save yourself the aggravation by calling ahead to ask about large seating requirements. Go for Reservations The variety of restaurants on the Gulf Coast is the stuff culinary dreams are made of. We’ve got plenty of flip-flop casual and fine dining options, plus everything in between. Whether you’re looking for white table cloths or paper towels for napkins, here are some of the places that accept reservations*. Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina Villaggio Grille at The Wharf Sunset Cork Room Restaurant and Wine Bar Voyager’s at Perdido Beach Resort Ginny Lane Bar and Grill Big Fish Restaurant The Diner Aji Sai Tuscany Pizza and Grill Sassy Bass Beachside Grille Bubba’s Seafood House Online Check-in The Ruby Slipper Cafe and Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s are two restaurants that let you beat the wait before you ever arrive! Unlike reservations which require you to plan what time you’ll dine in advance, some restaurants have a web-based system that allows you to get on the restaurant’s waitlist before you even arrive!  Look for this service coming to more and more favorite food stops. Watch People, Not the Clock It’s island time when you’re at the beach so watch people not the clock. Another way to minimize wait time at your favorite restaurant is to watch when people start leaving the beach. The trick is to either leave before the crowds do, or better yet, stay on the beach for that gorgeous sunset and take in a late dinner. Order In or Opt for Take-Out For some, it’s all about spending as much time on the beach as possible.  If you want to stay close to the beach and not leave your rental house or condo, we definitely don’t blame you! There are a few secrets to dining deliciously without ever sitting down inside a restaurant. Order In National delivery services are now offered locally, so you can have dishes from the best restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach delivered right to your door. Get meals from restaurants including. Delivery fees are typically reasonable. Take Out Don’t […]

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What You Need to Know to Organize a Coastal Cleanup

If you’re thinking about organizing a cleanup of a local beach, dive site, river or other coastal environment, here’s what you need to know to get started. And keep in mind, Earth Day is a great day to hold your event, but so does any day of the year! Remember, when planning an underwater clean up, also make sure to report that data to Project AWAREs Marine Debris Program and contact NOAA to ensure any and all permits are met. Choose Your Target First, decide if you’re going to focus on cleaning the beach, or an underwater environment. This will determine which type of permit is required. In the United States, an underwater cleanup requires a call to NOAA. A beach cleanup starts with the local government. Jack Fishman, Community Conservation Officer for Project Aware®, and previous instructor at Rainbow Reef Dive Center in Key Largo, Florida, has organized dozens of cleanups, and says, “Start by walking into the local government’s offices that house the police headquarters and typically parks and recreation. Whoever is directing the parks and recreation department will tell you what you need.” Photo: Jack Fishman   Schedule Removal for the Trash If you’ve done your job, you and your crew are likely going to haul out anywhere between 50 to 300lbs (22 -136kg) or more of garbage. You’ll need a plan for what to do with that garbage. A minimum of three weeks before your cleanup, call the local waste disposal authority to ask that a dumpster be deposited at your site. Fishman adds, “They are going to drop this unit off at your request, but the call needs to be made at least three weeks, if not a month in advance. You never know if the units are relied on by other projects and not available. Also, keep in mind that they will pick up the unit at their convenience.” Photo: Jack Fishman   Make it Fun Now that the logistics are squared away, it’s time to think about how you will get the community involved. How can you make this fun? One idea that’s worked well for Fishman is what’s called a Keg-and-Clean. He says, “If it’s a beach cleanup and there is no diving and your volunteers are adults, ask a local brewery to get involved. One idea is to advertise that participants get a free beer if they collect 5lbs (2kg) of trash.” Clean-ups work much better […]

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25 THINGS TO DO IN THE FLORIDA KEYS

Visit The Keys And You Might Not Come Back! I have been going to the Florida Keys since the late 1980’s when I had an overnight date, and my first rum runner along with a “floater” with my soon to be husband. We listened to Jimmy Buffett before his song “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” and did some offshore fishing! (Florida Keys Reopens to visitors on June 1st. Please verify this directly with Monroe County) We have loved introducing our daughters Kylie and Alle to one of our favorite vacation destinations to enjoy all the things we have, from fishing to sunsets to just chillin’ out and hanging with the fam. That Florida Keys Feeling I have never forgotten that feeling I had crossing over from Dade to Monroe County and literally felt a shift in myself…a calm came over me…it was the strangest thing and I just kept on coming back! Subscribe here and become a #SoooBoca Insider Why We Love the Florida Keys! We love Key Largo and the Upper Keys with all our hearts. It is a short drive for us from Boca Raton and a non stop flight from many places to Key West, Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale International if you don’t live locally. I do believe the Florida Keys should be on every traveler’s bucket list for a variety of reasons including the beauty, peacefulness and history of that very special part of the world. 1988 Holiday Isle – Islamorada Things to Do in the Florida Keys From sport fishing, both offshore and back country, to snorkling, diving and just relaxing by a hotel pool there are many things to do. I love exploring the art galleries, shops and of course spending time at one of the many wonderful waterfront restaurants in the Keys. The daily fresh catch like mahi or snapper is always a great choice coupled with a Key Lime Martini or refreshing sweet tea. Take a drive from Key Largo to Key West and stop along the way for lunch! Feed the tarpon at Robbies and check out the Dolphin Research Center while you leisurely drive while enjoying the the water views. Fun Fact: You will enjoy Overseas Highway and the 42 bridges including the fabulous Seven Mile Bridge that links the Keys to each other and the mainland. Trust me on this one. Florida Keys Resources Map of the Florida Keys Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Key […]

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Why Food Tastes Better With a Coastal View

Have you ever thought about why certain restaurant food tastes so good? The immediate reaction that the majority will have is that it is due to the food itself. What is that simply wasn’t the case? The reality is, food can taste better in certain restaurants than others for reasons outside of the way it was prepared or the ingredients that were used. Everything from the comfort level to the view that the restaurant provides can all increase the quality of the taste that the food has. Relaxed Eaters Get More Enjoyment One of the best ways to test this theory is to think about the true benefit of going out to a restaurant. When you are at a restaurant, especially one on the coast, you are going to be in a place where you have escaped your everyday life for a few hours. This almost puts your mind on a mini vacation of sorts. Restaurants on the coast are going to relax your mind and your body. This is going to make the meal in front of you taste better. How can that be though? When you are relaxed, all of your senses are heightened. Your sense of smell and taste are focused specifically on the food and on nothing else around you. If you were to take that same meal home and eat it there, you may have to get up and answer the phone, think about cleaning dishes, getting yourself a drink, and so on. You will not be completely engrossed in that meal you are facing. The more that you can relax when it is time to eat, the more you are going to really get to taste everything you are consuming. Restaurants with a coastal view get you in this mindset rather quickly. Coastal Views and Their Impact on Your Mood We all live hectic and on-the-go lifestyles. This creates anxiety and stress that is often hard to cope with on a day to day basis. When you can go out to a restaurant and look out at the coast, you are going to be able to have a bit of a mini vacation from all of that craziness. This builds off of what we just discussed in terms of being relaxed while you eat. The reason you are going to be relaxed is because of the coastal dining atmosphere that is going to be […]

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