Friday, March 27, 2015

Boston/New England Lamb Jam 2015

Do you love lamb? Would you like the opportunity to taste numerous lamb dishes? Then maybe you should attend the New England Lamb Jam.

On Sunday, April 12, twenty New England chefs and over 800 lamb lovers will gather at The Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge to kick off the 6th Annual Boston/New England Lamb Jam Global Flavors Tour, the annual multi-city culinary cook-off where attendees decide which chefs have earned their “chops” by voting on inspirational American lamb dishes.

Competing for the titles of “Best in Show,” “People’s Choice” and “Best Mediterranean, Asian, Latin and Middle Eastern inspired dishes,” New England chefs will prepare and serve their most flavorful American lamb dish to be put to the test by lamb-loving attendees and New England’s top food media. The victor will go head-to-head with other winning chefs from Seattle, Austin, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Lamb Jambs in an attempt to claim the title of “Lamb Jam Master” at the Lamb Jam finale in New York City later this year.

We designed the Lamb Jam Tour as a way to bring communities together and drive awareness about the benefits of American lamb,” says Megan Wortman, executive director of the American Lamb Board. “Approximately one third of consumers have never eaten lamb, and many try lamb for the first time in a restaurant, so it’s exciting to see so many local Boston chefs incorporating innovative lamb dishes to their menus.

General Admission tickets are $60 and provide an opportunity to sample 20 globally inspired lamb dishes, taste brew from 12 local breweries, and mingle with local shepherds and artisans and vote for the best Lamb Jam dishes.

You can also opt for the VIP treatment. Chefs Jamie Bissonnette of Toro & Coppa and Matt Jennings of Townsman will be conducting a spring training centered on grilling in a seminar style VIP hour. Each dish will be served with a craft cocktail, beer or wine paired by a local beverage expert. Participants will also experience a pasture to plate demonstration by a master butcher and local lamb producer. VIP tickets are $100 and include admission to the rest of the Lamb Jam festivities.

Visit www.americanlamb.com for the complete lineup and to purchase general admission tickets.

When: Sunday, April 12
1:45 – 3:00pm (VIP)
3:00 – 6:00pm (General Admission)

Participating New England chefs include:
Boston:
Brian Alberg of The Red Lion Inn
Brian Dandro of Art Bar
Robert Siscan of Bistro du Midi
Michael Sherman of Brasserie 28
Justin Melnick of The Terrace
Daniel Bojorquez of La Brasa
Tiffani Faison and Dan Raia of Sweet Cheeks Q
Chris Douglass of Ashmont Grill
Peter Davis of Henrietta’s Table
Jim Solomon of The Fireplace
Justin Shoults of BRINE
Thomas Borgia of Russell House
Providence:
Nemo Bolin of Cook & Brown Public House
Ben Lloyd of The Salted Slate
Matt Varga of Gracie’s
Portsmouth:
Matt Louis of Moxy
Gregg Sessler of Cava
Portland:
Niko Regas of Emilitsa
Chris Gould of Central Provisions
Damian and Ilma Lopez of Piccolo

Organized by the American Lamb Board, a portion of the proceeds will go to Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a Boston based organization dedicated to facilitating the rescue and distribution of healthy, fresh food that would otherwise be discarded.

I'll be judging at this year's Lamb Jam so I am very excited, to get to sample 20 different lamb dishes from a talented pool of chefs. I hope to see you there.

Tavern Road: American Lamb

"Well, Clarice - have the lambs stopped screaming?"
--Hannibal Lecter

It's been a voyage around the world of lamb lately. Icelandic lamb, Australian lamb and American lamb. As a lamb lover, this sampling has been a culinary voyage of great delight. However, I know some people who dislike lamb, who think it tastes too gamey, and won't ever order it at a restaurant or cook it at home. I'm sure though they would enjoy lamb if it were prepared differently from what they've tasted before. Lamb is a versatile meat and can be showcased in so many, many ways. You merely need to be open to trying something new.

Recently, the American Lamb Board hosted a media lunch at Tavern Road where Chef Louis Dibiccari prepared us a four-course lamb meal. Lisa and Phillip Webster, owners of North Star Sheep Farm in Windham, Maine, provided the lamb and Lisa also gave a short talk about lamb and her farm. Richard Doucette, the in-house butcher at Tavern Road, gave a butchery demo while Lisa gave her talk. In addition, Formaggio Kitchen served several sheep's milk cheeses prior to our lunch and 90+ Cellars provided four wines for the lunch.

The American Lamb Board "is an industry-funded research and promotions commodity board that represents all sectors of the American Lamb industry including producers, feeders, seed stock producers and processors. The Board, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, is focused on increasing demand by promoting the freshness, flavor, nutritional benefits, and culinary versatility of American Lamb." They will also be hosting the Lamb Jamb next month, where 20 New England chefs will compete, trying to create the best lamb dish.

Above is Lisa Webster of North Star Sheep Farm, which has been in operation since 1997 though their families have been involved in raising sheep for over 100 years. Lisa and Phillip actually became sheep farmers in Maine around 1984, and then in 1997, they bought the 225-acre Stevens Farm in Windham. They raise several thousand sheep, all of which are pasture raised on certified organic grass. They do not use an antibiotic or hormones on the sheep, and if any sheep actually needs antibiotics, it is automatically removed from the meat program. They are passionate about sustainable farming, and are an Animal Welfare Approved farm. They believe in whole lamb sales so nothing goes to waste. They also offer some Lamb Recipes on their website.

For more info, in Lisa's own words, please watch the two videos below.

This is Part 1 of a video with some opening remarks by Chef Louis Dibiccari. After his comments, then Lisa Webster gives a talk about lamb and her farm while Richard Doucette butchers a lamb.

This is Part 2 of a video with more information from Lisa Webster and Richard Doucette comtinues to butcher the lamb. There is lots of valuable information in this video, and it is also quite cool to see the lamb be rendered down into trays of appealing meat.

The open kitchen at Tavern Road. The wooden counter at the front was specifically built so that it could be used for butchery.

This is the whole lamb prior to being butchered.

Richard Doucette is placing a rack of lamb onto a tray. He did a superb job of butchery and even made it seem easy.

Some of the results from the butchery demo, such appealing cuts of lamb. And the skill of Richard Doucette is more than evident.

Our lunch was prepared from another lamb, and these were cooked on the rotisserie.

Lamb hot dogs!

Shredded lamb for the birayni.

Lamb merguez sausage, though they almost look like giant, unfrosted cinnamon rolls.

Formaggio Kitchen presented four sheep's milk cheese, and my favorite was a new cheese for me, the Zimbro, a Portuguese raw sheep's milk cheese. It is a thistle-rennet cheese, which is aged for 60 days, and presents a creamy, pudding-like interior. You remove the top of the cheese and then scoop out the soft cheese. In the photo above, you can see the Zimbro on the left with a spoon sticking in it. The Zimbro possessed such an appealing and interesting taste, with soft herbal accents. All of the cheeses were tasty, but the Zimbro was special.

There was even a sheep's milk Blue Cheese. Bring on some Port.

After the lamb discussion and butchery demo, we sat down, looking forward to our lunch. Chef Dibiccari wanted to present lamb in four different styles and types of cuisines, to show its versatility. It also served to showcase his own creativity and culinary skills. The week prior to this lunch, I had attended an Icelandic reception at Tavern Road and enjoyed an Icelandic lamb dish. After enjoying that dish, I was excited to see what the Chef would do with this American lamb.

The first course was Lamb Biranyi, with wild rice, black garlic, rabe, cashew, and dried apricot, and accompanied by a papadum. An excellent presentation, this dish burst with delicious flavors and a nice blend of textures, from the tender lamb to the crunchy cashews. Savory, with sweet accents. this was an addictive dish and I would order it again if it were on the menu.

The papadum was different than the usual, being more like a soft flatbread than the crunchy papadum you get at most Indian restaurants, but it still was delicious.

The Harissa Rubbed Roast Leg of Lamb & Merguez Sausage, with kabocha squash, red peppers, saffron couscous, and mint gremoulada, presented a more Mediterranean style lamb. The Merguez was the standout, with a complex, spicy kick. I wished I had much more of the Merguez. The Harissa lamb was tender and flavorful, balanced by the sweetness of the kabocha and the saffron notes.

The third course was a Lamb Hot Dog, with a buttered bun, shaved onion, pickle relish, and "French's" yellow mustard (though I had mine without the mustard). Though it seemed more like a sausage than a hot dog, it was thick, juicy and with a complex melange of spices and flavors. Damn, it was delicious. I wish I had these hot dogs this summer for the BBQ.

The final course was a Dijon Glazed Rack & Loin, with a cassoulet of Sienna Farms' beans and early spring offerings. Tender lamb, with a mild gamey flavor, and a strong, savory broth and tender beans. And by this point, my belly was quite full of lamb, very satisfied.

Above is Brett from  90+ Cellars , who supplied four wines for the lunch, including the Lot 65 French Fusion White, Lot 118 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, Lot 75 Pinot Noir, and Lot 72 Saint Emilion Grand Cru. I've had these wines before and they are very good, values wines.  However, he also shared a new wine they will soon be selling, actually a new label, Earthshaker Wines, that showcases terroir. The wine was the 2013 Syrah, from Knights Valley, Sonoma, California, and it retails for around $15. It was easy drinking, but with complexity and character, making this an excellent value. Deep black fruit flavors, strong spice and restrained tannins. A perfect choice for lamb,

This was an informative and tasty lunch, providing plenty of fascinating info on lamb as well as a series of delicious and diverse lamb dishes. I've gained a greater appreciation for the culinary skills of Chef Dibiccari and my love for lamb continues.

Will I see you at the Lamb Jam?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting, upcoming food & drink events.. **********************************************************
1)  Tavern Road will soon be turning two years old and it's time to celebrate. On Tuesday, March 31, starting at ^:30pm, the restaurant is throwing a birthday bash, complete with guest chefs, a six-course menu and an after party (which starts at 11pm).

A few of the highlights of Chef Louis DiBiccari's street food inspired menu include:
--Grilled chicken and black truffle skewers with potato and shallots
--Spicy raw beef lettuce wrap with chili-lime spicy peanuts
--Vegetarian beans and puffed rice with fried chickpea vermicelli and chutney, finished with steamed and fried sausage

Guest Chefs:
Ashley Abodeely of NoMad Hotel, NYC
Chris Gould of Central Provisions, Portland ME
Matthew Gaudet of West Bridge, Cambridge
Alex Crabb of ASTA, Boston
Jiho Kim of The Modern, NYC

Cost: $85 per person; tickets available for purchase on Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tavern-road-turns-2-a-guest-chef-anniversary-dinner-tickets-15945471334

2) Bob’s Clam Hut is hitting the road, leaving Kittery’s US 1 for One Kendall Square in their first-ever pop-up event at Belly Wine Bar in Cambridge. Belly’s patio will be transformed into a Cambridge-style clam shack experience with Bob’s serving up seafood favorites fresh out of the fryer alongside wine selections from Belly’s Liz Vilardi (a snappy summer white and the 2015 debut of a rare Txakoli) and Narragansett Beer’s summer brews.

Ticket includes the choice of Bob’s Clam Roll, Oyster Roll or Lobster Roll and one of these cold adult beverages
· Narragansett Summer Ale
· Haut Marine Côtes de Gascogne
· Trabanco Astirian Cider

Available for purchase:
· Clam Roll - $14
· Oyster Roll - $14
· Lobster Roll - $14
· Hand Breaded Onion Rings - $6
· Clam Chowder - $6
· Trabanco Astirian Cider - $6/glass
· Haut Marine Cotes de Gascogne - $7/glass
· Narragansett Summer Ale - $5/can
· Ameztoi Txakolina Rosado (2015 season debut!) - $13/pint
· Maine Beer Co. Peeper Ale - $8/pint

WHEN: Thursday, April 30, 5pm-9pm. This is a rain or shine event.
PRICE: $19/person includes choice of Bob’s Roll (Clam Roll, Oyster Roll, Lobster Roll) along with choice of glass of wine, cider or beer; additional food and drink available a la carte. Please remember to tip your server.
TICKETS: everyBELLYwantsBOBS.eventbrite.com

3)  On April 4, at 2pm, Brass Union will host the fifth annual Music vs. Cancer event to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. For the first time, Brass Union will feature live music entertainment provided by B3 Kings, a Boston-bred funk and jazz band, in addition to other acts and deejays. Brass Union will dish out complimentary appetizers and there will be a silent action, door prize and a 50/50 raffle. For those looking to get their game on, there will be a charity shuffleboard tournament.

Brass Union’s Music Curator, Jeff Wallace, will be spearheading the fundraiser. Wallace’s mother, Eileen, is a breast cancer survivor who has been cancer-free for 11 years. A cause close to everyone’s hearts, the donations will help supplement Eileen’s fundraising initiatives for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as she prepares to run her 6th Boston Marathon.

COST: $10 onsite donation to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

4) On Wednesday, April 15, at 7pm, guests will take a virtual culinary wine tour of Argentina at Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro’s spring wine dinner. Designed to both educate and entertain, Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro’s (BHHB) wine dinners are aimed at individuals of all experience levels. This event is about “wonderful wines, creative food and good friends,” says Cecilia Rait, proprietress and wine director of the BHHB.

Beginning at 7pm, diners are invited to visit all four regions without leaving the comfort of their seats. Cecilia and Tracy Burgis of M.S. Walker act as virtual tour guides, moving from region to region expanding the history, curiosities and nuances of each selection. During this educational dinner guests will sample wines from regions across Argentina. In addition to the wines, the dinner will showcase the culinary artistry of BHHB’s Executive Chef Lucas Sousa, whose dishes are designed to complement each featured wine.

This intimate adventure is set in communal seating to encourage conversation, laughter and fun. For $65 per person (tax and gratuity not included), guests are treated to four wines, a four-course dinner and Cecilia's and Tracy's good cheer, humor and expertise. Reservations are encouraged as the event will sell out fast.

COST: $65 Per Person (tax and gratuity not included),
Reservations are necessary. Please call 617-723-7575.

5) Pastoral Chef/Owner Todd Winer invites guests to learn authentic Italian cooking techniques during his Todd Teaches cooking classes which will take place monthly on designated Sundays.

The next Todd Teaches Sunday School class in April will take place on Sunday, April 19 from 4pm- 5:30pm and the first theme is Meatball Madness. Students will learn the basics behind making meatballs. The class is $40 per person and includes wine, samples of the finished dishes, and recipe cards to take home. Space is limited and can be reserved by logging onto Eventbrite.com.

Monthly classes will take place on select Sundays and upcoming themes include:
--Cooking With Mama- May 10th
--Vegetables Steal the Show- June 14th
--Fish Feast- Italian fish prepared in Neapolitan style
--Knife Skills- how to properly carve poultry, filet fish, chopping vegetables
--Italian Casseroles- Learn how to make Lasagna, Mac and Cheese & Eggplant Parmesan

For more information and reservations, please call (617) 345-0005 or visit www.eventbrite.com.

6) Bergamot Chefs Keith Pooler and Dan Bazzinotti along with Beverage Director Kai Gagnon and GM Servio Garcia celebrate Bergamot’s five year anniversary by bringing back the opening menu for two weeks. You can enjoy a prix-fixe format with three courses for $44 which includes a selection of an appetizer, entrée and dessert from the original menu when Bergamot debuted on April 1, 2010. The two week period starts April 1, 2015 and continues to April 15.

The original menu includes:
Appetizers
Sunchoke Bisque
Duck, Duck, Duck
Fresh Sardines
Pea Green Salad
Baby Roasted Beets
Tuna Carpaccio
Pan-Seared Quail
Chilled Maine Shrimp Salad
Entrees
Pan-Seared Monkfish Medallions
Roasted Lamb Loin
Egg-Battered East Coast Halibut
Braised Rabbit Leg
Pork Tenderloin
Grilled Flat Iron Steak
Pan-Seared Sea Scallops
Herb Roasted Giannone Chicken
Desserts
Meyer Lemon Steamed Pudding
Pistachio Baklava
Carrot Cake
Guajillo Chili Chocolate Pave

For reservations, please call 617-576-7700.

7) Since 2009, Alpine Restaurant Group has been an integral part of Davis Square with three restaurants that put a playful, contemporary spin on global flavors. This spring, Posto, The Painted Burro and Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar will extend their influence beyond their dining rooms and into guests’ kitchens with monthly classes teaching how to recreate signature menu items from each restaurant at home. The interactive classes offer attendees of all skill levels a unique peek inside some of Davis’ top restaurants and the opportunity to learn firsthand from Joe Cassinelli, Alpine Restaurant Group’s Founder and Executive Chef of The Painted Burro and Posto, and John Delpha, Chef/Partner of Rosebud, while spending a Saturday afternoon cooking (and eating) up a storm.

The topics include:

Derby-Day Eats at Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar
April 25 at 3PM, $55
As the unofficial kickoff to spring, the Kentucky Derby not only means oversized hats and racehorses, but a reason to bust out the grill and Julep cups for al fresco celebrating. To help ease the transition from winter stews to smoked meats, John Delpha will give guests an in-depth lesson on proper brining procedures and how to make the perfect smoked pork chops at home. All followed by a well-deserved demo on building a classic Mint Julep – a seasonal must-have for backyard cookouts and Derby-themed celebrations.

Festive Summer Dishes at The Painted Burro
May 16 at 3PM, $55
Joe Cassinelli will transport guests to the Mexican border, no passports required, with interactive instruction on crafting superb guacamole, salsa, fresh tortillas and fish tacos – the perfect way to prep guests for a Memorial Day weekend bash. After taking the heat in the kitchen, guests will drink in a lesson on mixing the Burro’s signature margaritas at-home.

Summer Entertaining Basics at Posto
June 20 at 3PM, $55
Italian hospitality comes to Davis Square as Joe Cassinelli leads guests through an engaging class covering simple summer dishes that are perfect for attendees’ next soiree. The class will focus on shareable dishes like traditional bruschetta, wood-fired pizzas and, of course, batched sangria.

BBQ 101 at Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar
July 18 at 3PM, $55
With backyard cookout season in full-swing, John Delpha will provide guests a hands-on lesson covering all things BBQ – from the basics of grill maintenance to proper meat prep and more. Guests will also learn how to grill up the perfect flatbread and concoct a refreshing Blackberry Bourbon Smash – sure to be a hit at their next cookout.

Holding on to the Flavors of Summer at The Painted Burro
August 22, 2015, 3PM, $55
With summer coming to a close, Joe Cassinelli will help guests savor the remainders of the season by teaching them to recreate the restaurant’s ceviches and whole fish Veracruzana at home. A tutorial on Paloma cocktails – a zippy blend of grapefruit and tequila – caps off the late-summer feast.

TICKETS: Classes can be purchased a la carte for $55 or in a package of two ($100), three ($150), four ($200) or all five ($250), available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/in-the-kitchen-with-alpine-restaurant-group-tickets-16252563856.
INFO: For more information, call 617-776-0005.

8) Starting April 1st, Chef Louie DiBiccari’s internationally inspired TR Street Foods concept will cross the border from annexed fast-casual space to the restaurant’s main dining room. The new dinner menu is dominated by playful yet sophisticated plates that riff on classic street food flavors. Prepared with finesse and thoughtfully presented, these distinctive dishes are meant to be shared with friends and best paired with cocktails created especially for the occasion.

Menu highlights include:
· Porchetta Flatbread with broccolini, charmoula, fried egg ($12)
· TR Hot Dog with French’s mustard, shaved onion, relish ($10)
· Lamb Meatball Shwarma, Arugula, Cucumber, Yogurt, Harissa ($16)
· Crab Dumplings, Ramen Broth, Mushrooms, Scallions ($14)

WHEN: April 1st – April 30
COST: Vegetable: $5 to $12; Fish: $6-$22; Meat: $8-$24

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

All About The Seafood Expo North America 2015

Last week, for three days, I donned my SCUBA gear and journeyed through the waters of the Seafood Expo North America (SENA). Singing the Fish Heads song, I waded down aisle after aisle, listening to the tales of the fish, sampling the abundant bounty of the sea. And during that time, and for the last week, I've been penning the stories I have discovered, sharing interesting information about the Seafood Expo. It's been fun.

In addition, the 5th Annual iPura Tweet & Blogfest with Triple Pundit at #SENA15 is winding down, and was supposed to end at midnight on March 24, though it was extended for one more day. This is a special contest for local bloggers in which they compete to offer the "Best Overall Coverage" of the Seafood Expo. An impartial third party judges the contest and the top prize is a hefty $1000.

As an added bonus this year, several of the best blogger articles will be featured on Triple Pundit, a leading website on ethical, sustainable and profitable business practices. Their philosophy is based on the triple bottom line of People, Planet & Profit, believing that "economy, environment and society are inseparably related and an understanding of all three is critical to long term profitability."

As the reigning champion, I am trying to retain my crown, to win this contest for the third time in a row, and continue to be known as the Fish Head Whisperer. Each year, I have stepped up my game, trying to surpass my prior year's coverage. Last year, I wrote 20 articles about the Seafood Expo and this year I topped that amount with 22 articles. Many thanks go to iPura and Triple Pundit,for holding this contest and for their support of local bloggers and the power of social media.

Over the last five years, this contest has led to a multitude of articles about SENA, far more than the local print media has done. It has also presented a diversity of voices about SENA, offering different viewpoints and covering angles that others may not have touched upon. Many of these articles are directed to the average consumer, those who we need to eat more seafood, so they present much value.

The Seafood Expo is one of the highlights of my year, and it provides ample fodder for story ideas year round. I would cover the Seafood Show even if the contest did not exist, but the contest provides some added incentive. Five years ago, during the first Blogfest, I wrote four articles about the Seafood Expo and that was sufficient to win the grand prize. However, as the years have passed, and the competition has increased, I have worked even harder at my coverage of the Expo. This year, you can read about my experiences at this fascinating three-day show in twenty-two articles. As a benefit for my readers, I am compiling links to all of my SENA articles into a single repository, this post.

If you have any questions about the Seafood Expo, feel free to add them to the comments or email me.

Here is the list of my SENA posts:

SENA15: Seafood Nutrition Partnership & Eating Heart Healthy
SENA15: Rant--Seafood Expo For The Public
SENA15: Master Class--Canada’s Organic Blue Mussels 
SENA15: Sunburst Trout Farms Jerky & Caviar 
SENA15: The Changing Landscape of Sustainable Seafood 
SENA15: Inupiat,Kotzebue & Sheefish
SENA15: Marine Stewardship Council Update
SENA15: Twelve Things You Should Know
SENA15: 2 Billion People Are Coming To Dinner, Let's Feed Them Fish!
SENA15: Blue North and Humane Harvest Initiative
SENA15: Maine Dayboat Scallops & Merroir
SENA15:  Ocean Executive & Seafood Trading Platform
SENA15: Fish Fun & Photos
SENA15: How To Cook Seafood
SENA15: Food of Interest
SENA15: Rant--Understanding the Seafood Retail Consumer
SENA15: Saucy Fish--Sustainable, Easy To Cook & Inexpensive
SENA15: Combating IUU Fishing & Seafood Fraud
SENA15: Paiche, the "Cod Of The Amazon"
SENA15: The Evolution Of Seafood Sustainability
SENA15: Aquaculture Stewardship Council Update 
SENA15: Final Ponderings

Will you attend the Seafood Expo North America in 2016? I hope to be there once again and would like to see some of my readers there too. I also hope to see even more bloggers there, spreading fish tales to all of their readers.

SENA15: Final Ponderings

The sea can bind us to her many moods, whispering to us by the subtle token of a shadow or a gleam upon the waves, and hinting in these ways of her mournfulness or rejoicing. Always she is remembering old things, and these memories, though we may not grasp them, are imparted to us, so that we share her gaiety or remorse.”
--H.P. Lovecraft

It's time to wind down my coverage of the Seafood Expo North America, though I assure you that I will continue to write about seafood issues, including matters that inspired by what I learned or discovered at the Expo. Every Tuesday, you can look forward to a new seafood-related post on my blog. And if there is a seafood issue you would like to see me cover, drop me a line and I'll see what I can do.

For this last post about SENA, I wanted to raise some final questions and issues about seafood matters, thoughts which have come to mind this past week. Each of those points is worthy of a full post, but time is needed for the ideas to percolate and come to fruition. Or additional research is needed. Some of these thoughts touch on important themes at the Expo, as well as potential themes for the future. I would love for these final ponderings to develop into conversations and I welcome any and all comments about these matters.

1. What is missing at most of the conference sessions at SENA is a difference of opinion. The panels often largely consist of like-minded individuals, so there is little disagreement or debate. We need more conflict on some of these panels, to present differing viewpoints and see how each side deals with that conflict. It would be beneficial to see how the panelists handle criticism of their positions, which could better point out the strengths and weaknesses of their points. Without such conflict, you are sometimes presented with a one-sided position, which potentially could be affected by bias. I'm sure such debates would be very popular at SENA. Sometimes, the Q&A after a panel session raises some conflict, but by then so much has already been presented without disagreement. Wouldn't you like to see a heated debate on the future of aquaculture or the sustainability of tuna?

2.  I was once again disappointed to see that the two local newspapers, the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, have each published but a single article about the Seafood Expo, and both concentrated on the same issue, the Presidential Task Force on IUU & Seafood Fraud. Sure, that was a worthy, international story but there are hundreds of other stories which could have been found at SENA. Why do these newspapers choose to ignore all of those other stories? They could have done an entire week of seafood-related stories. Locally, if you want stories about SENA, you have to seek out the passionate bloggers who have been covering the event for a number of years. They have written many dozens of stories about the Seafood Expo, doing a far better job than the local print media. More attention should be paid to these dedicated writers who are sharing the seafood stories of SENA.

3. Sustainable Farmed Bluefin Tuna? That is the claim of True World Foods which presents their Kai Oh Maguro, the "King of Ocean Tuna." I've read about Japanese farmed Bluefin before, though I haven't explored it in the last couple years. From a recent, brief scan of some of the available information, it appears that changes have occurred in the industry in a quest to be sustainable. This is a topic I need to research further, to see what has changed in recent years. I tasted some of their farmed tuna at SENA and it was quite delicious, silky smooth and with a meaty texture. I'll be following up on this matter so you can look forward to a post in the near future. Bluefin Tuna is a hot button issue so this will be a fascinating matter.

4. Located at the back of the main exhibition hall of SENA, you will find much of the seafood processing companies, and I think that section is largely ignored when many people seek seafood tales at the Expo. Many don't seem to realize the role processing plays in the seafood industry, such as how it interacts with sustainability and seafood fraud. Did you know that some seafood that is harvested in the U.S. is actually sent overseas to be processed before returning to the U.S.? Proper processing can provide more edible meat from seafood, increasing yields and helping sustainability. For example, a poorly processed fish might offer only 20 pounds of meat while more skilled processing could carve out 40 pounds of meat. More stories about seafood processing are needed, to explore how they affect the larger issues.

5. Does Asia favor frozen seafood far more than the rest of the world? At SENA, the majority of displays of frozen seafood seem to have been at the Asian booths. A number of Asian booths, such as the Japanese pavilion, sampled out some of their frozen products. At a seminar concerning mussels, it was noted that their fresh mussels were sold mainly in North American while their frozen mussels were sold primarily in Asia. I don't know the answer to this question, but what I found has made me curious to explore the matter further. If it is true, I would like to understand the reasons behind it. Is it a cultural matter? Or merely just a coincidence?

6. One of my favorite foods at SENA was a Kelp Smoothie, which was tasty and fruity, and mot anyone would have enjoyed too. You never would have known it contained Kelp. This year, there were 16 exhibitors of sea vegetables, 2 more than last year, so there has been growth in this area. However, I remain puzzled why seaweed and algae products don't receive more attention. I don't recall any recent conference sessions that deal with them, and I don't think there was ever a Master Class on seaweed. The Asian booths seem to most often showcase seaweed and algae products, especially laver snacks. It is sustainable and nutritious, and land-based vegetables are extremely popular, so why don't sea veggies get enough respect? I want to know.

Don’t expect to catch big fishes from small rivulets.”
--French saying