McCormick’s has revealed it’s annual “Flavor Forecast”, giving us something delicious to ponder as we plan our New Year’s Resolutions.
According to the spice giant, “five top food trends and more than a dozen emerging flavors” will play a big factor in the coming year. Those trends are:
- Chilies Obsession – whether you’re choosing guajillos, chile de arbol, tien tsin or aji amarillo – you need to add some international heat to your menu. Sounds good to us – we like spicy seafood dishes!
- Modern Masala – Will chefs bring a taste of India to their menus? We’d love to see the grilled shrimp tandoori salad with mango dressing that McCormick’s highlights take over menus across the country!
- Clever Compact Cooking – McCormick’s is reminding us that size doesn’t matter – but flavor does! Just because you have a small kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t create big tastes! Must have ingredients include noodles, tea and cilantro.
- Mexican World Tour – can you guess our favorites from this category? That’s right, we’re cheering for Shrimp and Queso Fresco Empanadas with Charred Tomatillo Sauce and Salmon Tostadas with Chamoy and Charred Corn Relish…
- Charmed by Brazil – not heading south for the World Cup? Bring Brazil’s flavors here! Add some guava, cassava or a pinch of Bahian seasoning to your menu. We’re thinking that Pepita and Chile Salsa recipe would go great with scallops!
You can check out more (and find some tasty recipes for inspiration) at McCormick’s website. Any of these trends sound appealing to you? We’d love to hear what you’re planning to feature in 2014!
No one has to convince us that Scallops are growing in popularity – we love them! But, in case you need to hear it from the experts, check out this article that Nation’s Restaurant News recently published.
According to author Fern Glazer,
“Scallops appear on menus in all segments but are highly preferred by fine-dining restaurants, where nearly 70 percent of menus feature scallops as an appetizer or entrée. Though long a staple on fine-dining menus, seared scallops may be getting more attention because they are a luxury item that isn’t easily prepared at home and because many diners are looking more healthful, lighter dishes when eating out, according to some chefs.”
We’re big fans of this delicious bi-valve; they’re easy to work with, versatile, and delicious. We carry a wide selection of scallops that will fit your menu no matter what kind of cuisine you’re featuring or your budget. Ask your Santa Monica Seafood Sales Representative to walk you through our entire line today, and get some scallops on the menu!
If you are currently featuring scallops, we’d love to hear about what you’re doing. We’d also love to see what you’re doing – don’t hesitate to post a photo or two on our Facebook Page or tag us on Twitter.
As you may know, Santa Monica Seafood maintains current ISO 14001 certification. It’s been almost a year since we implemented ISO 14001 and we are hitting our targets right on! We’re proud of the changes we’ve made as part of the certification process and want to share with you some of our office operational activities that are a part of the program:
- Recycling – we have increased paper recycling in our offices by providing recycling baskets and working with our recycling partner, Waste Management Inc. Our entire staff has pledged to recycle as much paper as possible (if they aren’t reusing it to jot notes on…)
- Printing – We’ve changed all our printers settings so that any 2-page or longer document is automatically printed double sided. We also send our empty print ink cartridges to a recycling center.
- and Not Printing – We’ve worked to remind all employees (and customers!) to think of the environment before printing emails, agendas, memos or other items that can be referred to on the screen of a laptop, phone or tablet. It’s a hard habit to break, but we’re getting there!
- Other recycling efforts – We’ve provided recycling bins around our office lunch areas for cans and bottles, and obsolete and inoperable computer components are being recycled by Waste Management Inc.
These are just a few of the steps we’re taking internally to reduce our impact on environment! If we all pitch in and make a few small changes, it really adds up! We’d love to hear what innovative steps you’re taking to help maintain the health of the planet.
Sea Pact announces that grant money will be distributed this month to four organizations doing work in seafood sustainability. We’re so proud to be a founding member of this innovative group!
“Through the Sea Pact funding model we’re able to support and encourage four innovative projects we feel will have a measurable impact on the future of our industry,” said Logan Kock, our Vice President of Strategic Purchasing & Responsible Sourcing and Chair of the Sea Pact Advisory Committee.
The four projects selected to receive funding are:
- Panamanian Mahi Mahi FIP – funding will be used to build a fisheries monitoring program to understand biological aspects of mahi mahi and interactions of the fishery with other species. This project is being spearheaded by CeDePesca, an NGO based in Buenos Aires, Argentina that focuses on sustainable fisheries improvement projects, research and training activities.
- Pelagic Trawl Gear Improvement Project – funding will be used to help demonstrate that alternative trawl gear configurations with less habitat impact can land higher quality fish more quickly and with significantly lower fuel costs. Led by Fathom Consulting, a small fisheries consulting firm based in Monterey that works on fishery improvement projects that advance both fishery and conservation goals. Their clients include the Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund and NOAA.
- Mexican Grouper FIP – funding will be used to develop a credible FIP that would be recognized by the Conservation Alliance for Sustainable Fisheries and would prepare the Fishery to achieve full MSC certification. Projected outcomes include stabilizing the Mexican Grouper fishery, maintaining livelihoods for fishermen and fish workers, and potentially increasing benefits from a better market niche.
- The NFI’s Crab Council - funding will be used to supply equipment and training for assessing crab enhancement efforts in the Philippines Blue Swimming Crab fishery, mainly through a tagging and tracking project.
“Sea Pact is an amazing collective initiative; a real example for others, and we feel very honored to be part of the first group of grantees.” Said Ernesto Godelman of CeDePesca.
About Sea Pact:
Santa Monica Seafood, Albion Fisheries, Fortune Fish & Gourmet, Ipswich Shellfish Group, Seacore Seafood and Seattle Fish Co. are the founding members of Sea Pact and share an active progressive approach to their sustainability commitments. Sea Pact works with New Venture Fund and receives sustainability counsel from non-profit organizations FishWise and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP). Sea Pact is a project under New Venture Funds 501c3 non-profit status. To learn more about Sea Pact, visit their website http://www.seapact.org/.
We enjoyed a full day of learning about brewing beer last week on our Customer Appreciation Brewery Tour. California’s growing craft beer scene offers so many options to restaurants looking to expand their beer lists.
“One of the changes I’ve been working on for some years now—and implemented since the purchase—is a cellared beer list. I am a big beer fan and think it deserves a place in fine dining, along with all the great wines.”
All the beer we sampled last week is certainly worthy of inclusion on a thoughtful beer list, and we have plenty of ideas on how to pair your beer selection with fish and shellfish.
The first stop on our Brewery Tour last week was The Bruery in Placentia. We sampled 5 of their delicious and eclectic offerings and enjoyed beer-friendly bites of a olive oil poached Alaska Cod crostini and fantastic Wild Mushroom Arancini – so many savory options can work well with the beer offerings on your menu. Thanks to the team at Haven Gastropub for supplying the tasty grub!
Next stop was Bootleggers Brewery in Fullerton where we celebrated a classic pairing – oyster on the half shell and plenty of hand-crafted beer options. Oysters and Stout are often paired together, but work through your list to come up with other perfect matches.
We wrapped up our tour at TAPS in Brea where their carefully thought out choices work well with all kinds of seafood. Or even IN all kinds of seafood – plenty of amazing ways to incorporate local brews into your menu… from mussels or clams steamed in beer to beer battered fish. Still looking for ideas? The team over at Alabama Gulf Seafood has some more pairing advice over on their blog.
Let us know how you’re featuring beer and seafood on your menu!
We love hearing from customers about how they are featuring our seafood (especially when there are photos involved…) In a recent competition, Chef Justin Yoakum, Executive Chef at McCormick and Schmick’s in Las Vegas featured some Open Blue Cobia.
“I started by slicing it into really thin, long strips. It’s a very firm fish so I knew it would hold up!” After dipping it into Kecap Manis (an Asian Sweet Soy Sauce) he seared one side quickly while allowing the Kecap Manis to caramelize. Next Chef Yoakum took some mangos he had pickled a few days back and pureed them with a little fresh cilantro to make a sauce.
“When I plated I smeared the mango across the plate and did a thai basil salad over the top, then looped the Cobia over the salad in ribbons shaped like a dragon’s tail. I had imported ocean water from Hawaii and made a seafoam out of it as the salt component of the dish. Most Thai cuisines embody salty, sweet, and spicy all in one, so I was able to have all the components in this Thai inspired creation.”
What a delightful plate!
Although Chef Yoakum didn’t win, he told us, “I was excited to partake in the competition and got a lot of compliments from the other chefs on the creativity of the dish.”
Let us know what kind of creative seafood dishes you’ve been coming up with this fall!
We’re bringing in some unique oysters this week – Sol Azul oysters, direct from Baja! These are farm-raised Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) carefully cultivated and harvested to order.
Location, location, location
In this case we’re talking about the pristine waters of Mexico’s El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve along the western coast of the Baja California Peninsula. Its remoteness makes it a ideal location for oyster production and the area boasts perfect water conditions, temperature, tides and currents for growing delicious shellfish.
There’s no argument that farmed oysters (and mussels and clams for that matter) are one of the most sustainable seafood choices you can make! Sol Azul oysters are no exception… we love oysters because they are so low impact; they feed on naturally occurring phytoplankton so they don’t need to be fed and modern farming techniques leave little trace. In fact, aquaculture operations can often provide and alternative source of income to fishermen who may be pressuring local wild stocks.
On the Menu
If you’re looking to an add oyster to your selection, don’t hesitate to order some Sol Azul oysters… fantastic flavor, firm texture, beautiful shells – the Sol Azul has it all! Talk to your Santa Monica Seafood Representative today and get this oyster on the menu now!
Maybe they should rename them American “Yellow” Snapper, now that this iconic domestic fishery has been upgraded to “Good Alternative” from “Avoid” by Seafood Watch…
We’re really excited to offer you fresh American Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) this week. It’s been a while since this delicious option from the Gulf of Mexico has been in our coolers; years of overfishing had left Red Snapper stocks in bad shape. Strict management efforts have shown significant results, and Gulf Fishermen are once again able to bring American Red Snapper to our coolers!
We’re bringing in fish from Captain Gato on the F/V Afterdark; Known to go out in some of the wickedest weather, rumor has it that Captain Gato has honey holes all over the Gulf of Mexico… we’ll look forward to seeing what he brings in (and hoping for good weather)!
It’s time to celebrate a management success story and keep American fishermen at work. Ask your Santa Monica Seafood Sales Representative about ordering some fresh American Red Snapper today!
A lot of news articles on culinary trends cross our desk throughout the week… it’s hard to separate what’s going to stick around from what’s going to go the way of the all-chocolate diet (wait, was that a thing?). However, we’ve got a few thoughts to share with you that might help enhance your next menu planning project:
- Protein Power! We hope a lot of your protein is coming from seafood, obviously, but however you get it on the menu, your customers are going to be happy… Did you know that the U.S. represents the largest market for protein? According to Megan Rowe’s article on Restaurant-Hospitality.com, experts like Nancy Cruse claim “We can’t get enough of it.” According to the article, the presence of protein-rich foods on menus has increased 67 percent in the last five years.
- Perfect for Paleos! Speaking of protein, how are you handling those paleo-dieters that may come through your door? They love their protein, but it goes beyond that as some Chefs are learning. This recent article in the Washington Post taught us that Paleo dieters don’t eat Canola oil, among other things… good to know!
- No matter what trends come and go, health and nutrition stays at the top of the list. The good news is seafood fits the bill! A grilled piece of fish with a side of vegetables (hold the canola oil) is an easy way to satisfy protein lovers, paleos and anyone looking to eat healthy…
- And although the Paelo’s probably don’t want to hear it, grains are trending… whether you’re adding quinoa, barley, teff or another healthy grain to the menu, you’re touching on yet another current trend. It goes without saying that many of our fish options could pair perfectly with a healthy grain dish!
Are there any culinary trends that you’re taking advantage of in your restaurant? We’d love to hear what you’er working on…
We’ve long been supporters of domestic seafood, and are excited to share with you that Seafood Watch has now recognized that almost all US fisheries qualify for a “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” as part of their sustainability ranking system!
By The Numbers:
- 78% of commercial landings now rank as “Green” or “Best Choice”
- 17% of commercial landings now rank as “Yellow” or “Good Alternative”
- 5% of commercial landings now rank as “Red” or “Avoid”
According to Seafood Watch, one of the fisheries that still needs work is the Louisiana shrimp fishery, due to concerns about sea turtle bycatch.
According to Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly, Seafood Watch director;
“Seafood Watch assesses wild-caught and farmed seafood based on peer-reviewed science reports and fully transparent criteria that we publish on the Monterey Bay Aquarium website. If there’s a change in Louisiana’s management of its shrimp fishery to address the critical conservation concern around sea turtles, we can quickly revisit our recommendations to reflect that change.”
Our coolers are chock full of domestic seafood – whether you’re in the mood for sable, halibut, wild salmon, ling cod or any number of great options supplied by American fishermen – give us a call!
Ian Said posted a useful article over at FohBoh.com the other day entitled “7 Tips for Selecting the Best Wine for Your Restaurant”. We thought the wine info was great, but it also inspired us to offer you our take, featuring seafood!
Here are Ian’s 7 tips, with a bit of a “fishy twist”, we hope you find them useful!
- Know your concept – great point! If your menu is pretty casual, then you’re seafood offerings should be too – fish tacos, po’boys, rustic seafood soups and chowders – there are plenty of ways to work easy, fun seafood into your menu – no matter what the concept.
- Choose your supplier carefully - we could not agree more! Santa Monica Seafood is an industry leader in food safety, quality and responsible sourcing. We have no doubt that we’re your best bet when navigating the sometimes confusing world of seafood sourcing.
- Involve your Staff – this is why we started handing out our popular “Seafood Pocket Guides”! We thought they’d be an easy way to help waitstaff stay on top of all the fish and shellfish we sell… We’re big on education, and we’re always happy to help you keep your entire staff engaged with whatever seafood you are offering on the menu.
- Offer Variety – We like to say there is a seafood choice for everyone – even people that don’t like seafood! Offer something mild and easy like dover sole or tilapia for less adventurous palates, something a little more challenging like hamachi or urchin for diners that want to try something new. Try a fresh fish entree, a shellfish entree, some smoked fish or a raw fish preparation on your appetizer menu – mix it up!
- Create Value for Yourself and your Customers - we have a lot of options for those of you in need of value. We offer daily fresh specials, frozen specials and seafood priced in a way that will make it easy to menu. Let your Santa Monica Seafood Sales Rep know what your budget looks like and they will be happy to work with you!
- Maximize your Food Pairings – We’d like to switch this up to read “Maximize your Wine & Beer Pairings”… Be ready to help your customers pick a pairing that works for them. Have some wine and beer pairings that work with each of your seafood options ready to go!
- Manage your Inventory - Again, Your Santa Monica Seafood Sales Representative is the best way to set up an ordering schedule that works for you and your staff. Keep some frozen seafood on hand to help you stay organized in case you need a fast special.
Fall has officially arrived, and with it a chance to look back and see all the great work the project’s we’ve helped support with RSVP funding are doing! Here are some of the highlights:
The PIER Deep-Set buoy gear development for California’s Swordfish fishery has conducted their first field research expedition to conduct trials and tagging within the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area (PLCA). Over the course of a week, they were able to tag 5 swordfish using harpoon methods – some of the first swordfish ever tagged within the conservation area! Each of these fish was implanted with a pop-off satellite archival tag (PSAT) and a long-term depth logger, which were provided courtesy of the RSVP program’s funds. The information collected by these tags will help inform the design of the gear types that will ultimately used to selectively take fish from this area with minimal interaction to the endangered Leatherback sea turtles. The PIER team is analyzing this first round of information and getting ready to go out for a second cruise in the middle of September.
The Trygg Mat Foundation’s Combined IUU vessel list is increasingly being used as a tool in investigations and prosecution of pirate fishing. Most recently, Interpol released a “Purple Notice” cautioning that some IUU vessels are trying to get ahold of “untainted” International Maritime Organization (IMO) numbers. This is precisely what the Combined IUU-Vessel list is working to prevent through providing ongoing tracking and monitoring of vessels in violation.
The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Project (CCFRP) has been hard at work catching, tagging, and releasing fish, as their sampling season started at the beginning of August. The month of August saw trips in both the Ano Nuevo State Marine Conservation and Point Lobos State Marine Reserve. The Farallon Islands off of San Francisco are being sampled in the first half of September, and all trips filled up quickly with volunteer anglers who were eager to have a day of fishing and fun, while helping out in the name of science!
In mid June, Bird’s Head Leatherback and the turtle monitoring and conservation team from the State University of Papua (UNIPA) resumed conservation projects at Jamursba Medi, the largest leatherback turtle rookery on the Bird’s Head peninsula. Daily nest counts and night patrols were conducted. In an effort to increase hatchling output, 30 nests were protected from exotic predators (pigs and dogs) in high-risk beach zones by constructing single nest enclosures, and 12 nests that were in danger of tide erosion were relocated to safer nesting sites, representing over 3,000 eggs and potential hatchlings. 27 nests were protected with shaded enclosures to prevent overheating. The Indonesian government declared Jamursba Medi and Wermon as part of ‘Abun’ National Coastal Park on July 11, 2013. Efforts are now focused on generating a trans-Pacific collaboration with California conservation agencies involved in the protecting the foraging grounds for Bird’s Head leatherbacks located off the Pacific coast of the US. This effort has resulted in the planning of the first Pacific Leatherback Summit between Indonesian and Californian governments and conservation groups scheduled in October
The Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute Aquaculture programs have been hard at work rearing and releasing White Sea Bass! There are currently over 200,000 fish in various stages of culture in their hatchery, and almost 20,000 juveniles were released in July from pens in San Diego Bay, Huntington Harbor, and Carlsbad. HSWRI also has a really cool education program where high school students in San Diego get to learn about aquaculture and stock enhancement by growing White Sea Bass in their very own classrooms that will ultimately be released into the ocean. Several new schools in the county will be starting the program this fall!
Our Derelict Gear Removal friends up at the Northwest Straits Initiative have removed a total of 28 gillnets, one purse seine net, one trawl net, and 77 crab pots in the month of July alone – that’s a lot of fish and crab that won’t be ghost-fished!
We’ve got a lot of new RSVP projects ahead of us, we’ll keep in touch!
We’ve been talking a lot about Open Blue Cobia (Rachycentron canadum), one of the newest additions to our inventory. We talk about it a lot because there is a lot to say about this innovative aquaculture option… Open Blue Cobia is more than just delicious, it is rich in omega-3s and it is extremely versatile; it can be eaten raw as sushi, sashimi or ceviche or it can be grilled, broiled, pan-seared or barbecued.
And those are just a few of its attributes! We’d like to touch a bit on what happens before the Cobia leaves Panama and arrives at Santa Monica Seafood, and introduce you to Open Blue’s unique process.
Open Blue Cobia is raised from egg in an integrated farming platform giving the farm have complete traceability into the life of the fish. Open Blue does not genetically engineer its cobia in any way; it is carefully and humanely cultivated in deep, pristine ocean waters. According to Open Blue,
“We put great emphasis on the well-being of Open Blue Cobia ensuring that our fish are raised and handled as humanely as possible. At Open Blue, we are dedicated to improving the standards of the aquaculture industry through safe and sustainable innovation and ensure that our Cobia is raised at the highest standards.”
Open Blue Cobia are raised eight miles offshore in a high-energy environment where the water is pure and pristine; the cobia never see the same water twice. But don’t just take our word for it, check out this great piece on CNN and let Open Blue’s founder, Brian O’Hanlon tell you about it himself!
This short video is a great way to get your staff excited about selling Open Blue Cobia; show it at a staff meeting, or email your team the link so they can take a moment and watch it themselves. Since Cobia is somewhat new to the American palate, it might take a bit of explaining. But, once your customers try this delicious and innovative fish, they’ll be hooked for life!
Check in with your Santa Monica Seafood Representative to learn more about Open Blue Cobia.
Here at Santa Monica Seafood, our Social Media strategy continues to grow and develop. We enjoy Twitter, Facebook and Flickr and see them as a great way to connect with customers of all kinds, as well as an opportunity to stay on top of what’s happening in our industry.
We’ve also really enjoyed upping our video engagement strategy on Youtube the past 6 months, we hope you’ve had a chance to check out our weekly video updates (and we encourage you to pass along photos or video clips to your sales rep – we’re always looking for new content)!
We’re curious if you’re using Social Media and what your engagement strategy looks like. According to this article on HotelierMiddleEast.com, one of the key components of a successful Social Media strategy in the involvement of all departments – including chefs!
Author Martin Kubler writes:
“Did you know that food photography and recipes are amongst the most popular content on Pinterest?
Instagram is another worthwhile platform to engage on. This social photo sharing app forces hotels to involve their employees in the process as it is only available as a mobile app and does not offer a web-based dashboard, which can be administrated centrally.
Make sure your chef has a smartphone with a good camera and get him or her onto Instagram. For inspiration, search Instagram for “Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach”, “Okku Dubai”, or “Wild Peeta”. Just don’t forget to use #hashtags to make it easier for other users to find your photos.”
The article goes on to recommend using Youtube and Vine to promote yourself or you chef via video, and we couldn’t agree more! If you’re on Youtube, let us know, we’d love to check it out!
Social Media is a constantly evolving landscape filled with opportunities to showcase your staff’s diverse talents – we hope you’re making the most of it!
It sounds like a great plot for a horror movie… Visit a remote Alaska island only to find that 13,000 cannibalistic creatures have been let out of their cages and released into the world! (Insert sounds of screaming here…) Luckily for us, it’s not zombies making the headlines on Kodiak Island, it’s king crab. Thousands of baby king crab, about the size of a fingernail, who are about to be released into the wild as part of the Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation and Biology (AKCRRB) Program’s efforts.
According to a recent article in the Kodiak Daily Press, the first king crab will be released into the ocean in about three weeks.
Bob Foy, laboratory director at the Kodiak research center told the paper, “The experiment is not just put crab into the ocean and come back in seven years to see what happens…the goal is to run very controlled, designed experiments about what outstocking would do,”
Some of the questions they are hoping to answer include:
- What’s the ideal density that crabs should be released at, per square meter.
- What size should the crab be when they’re released
- What season is best for release
- What kind of seafloor, sandy, rocky, or plant-strewn is best for crab
We’ve been a proud supporter of the AKCRRB project for a number of years, as part of our RSVP Program and we’re excited about how far they’ve come! We can’t wait to see what the coming years bring…