By Gina Ruccione, Restaurant and Cuisine Writer
Oct. 11 was the 2nd Annual Sustainable Seafood Expo at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles. If you didn’t get a chance to stop by it should definitely be on your radar for next year.
As many of you know, I’m quite obsessed with food. Any chance to sample amazing dishes from some of our favorite, local chefs and seafood purveyors is an opportunity I would never shy away from. I was able to get my hands on almost everything but we’ll come back to that.
I try not to just shove food in my face. I’m actually very interested in any discussion regarding food and lately the conversation about sustainability kind of gets me going. We all need to be more conscious about what we put in our mouths and sometimes what comes out of our mouths.
Unfortunately, the American stereotype in other countries around the world is that we lack a fundamental cuisine. We’re a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities so it’s easy to find any other cuisine: Italian, Japanese, Mexican — we even have Ethiopian, but I don’t see anything that is inherently “American.” Other than Dodger Dogs and In ‘n’ Out Burger, we’ve just sort of plowed through life consuming anything in abundance or — dare I say, “supersized” — and somehow over the years American consumerism became synonymous with American cuisine. That’s why we need to be talking about sustainability; we consume and waste too much. Folks, let’s be honest: that’s embarrassing.
But enough of my ranting, let’s talk about the snacks.
Whole Foods did a Spanish-style gazpacho that was absolutely perfect. Featuring Barramundi (think sea bass) with thick bacon and cilantro with crusty sourdough bread. I’ve spent the whole morning scouring the Internet for that recipe.
Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra from Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes did his take on a sort of deconstructed taco with a roasted rockfish and carrot skewer with cumin and lime yogurt and Cotija cheese crumble. It was an absolute perfect bite—even though I had three.
New to the event this year was the Exclusive Chef’s Table, a sustainable seafood dinner by Chef Paul Buchanan of Primal Alchemy, based in Long Beach. The dinner, which immediately followed the Expo, was family style and served outside of Crafted. Tickets needed to be purchased in advance, but I would say it’s safe to assume this will be a repeat component of the event for years to come. Buchanan partnered with Community Seafood in Santa Monica, a grassroots community supported fishery that focuses on sustainability.
The menu included three passed hors d’oeuvres a kombucha pumpkin soup, Persian cucumbers with house smoked salmon and dill aioli, tasting spoons with laughing bird shrimp curry with Kaffir lime oil. Dinner included paella with Santa Barbara shrimp, mussels, and yellow fin tuna that was actually caught off of Long Beach. Next there was a halibut in a lemongrass marinade with red quinoa and grilled scallions. Dessert included a pluot cobbler with Chantilly cream.
I have absolutely no problem with ANY of that.
I’d say the whole event was a success. The Sustainable Seafood Expo helps educate us in an interesting, albeit palatable way. We are able to make thoughtful choices about not only what is right for us but also for the environment. Many of us have a hard time sitting through lectures, or maybe that’s just me — but I did enjoy listening to the prestigious featured panelists all of whom are incredibly passionate about seafood sustainability. And I’m passionate about people who are passionate — so pair that with a beer and some great food and that’s actually not a bad Sunday fun day.