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If you asked the foodie in me, what my favorite category of food was, I would enthusiastically say seafood! Seafood is light, bright, briny and reminds me of the ocean, the place that brings me peace and calm. I adore gorgeous, fresh, perfectly prepared seafood and I definitely have a refined enough palate that allows me to discern good and bad seafood. However, even though I take my fish seriously, I had never really given much thought to the idea of sustainable seafood and the difference it can make in the quality and flavor of your fish. However, that all changed when I was recently invited to The Sustainable Seafood Summit hosted by Bluewater Grill in Redondo Beach, California. 

First, we were educated about exactly what sustainable seafood is: “Sustainable Seafood is seafood from either fished or farmed sources that can maintain or increase production in the future without jeopardizing the ecosystems from which it was acquired.” We learned that the sustainable seafood movement has recently gained momentum as more people become aware about both overfishing and environmentally-destructive fishing methods.

As we learned more, it became obvious to me that Bluewater Grill is a truly pioneer in the sustainable seafood movement because they are making a conscious effort to offer the most sustainable and gorgeous seafood currently available. According to the wonderfully passionate co-founder of Bluewater Grill, Jim Ulcickas, “Currently Bluewater Grill’s menu is 85% certified sustainable, by Aquarium of the Pacific or the Monterey Aquarium, but we won’t be satisfied until we reach 100%.” To further support this commitment, David Anderson, a leading sustainability expert, was also invited to speak with us and he was pleased to let us know that “Bluewater Grill is the only restaurant that offers full sourcing disclosure on its extensive selection of fish and is committed toward solutions for our oceans.”

We continued to learn about the importance of sustainability through the eyes and palate of Bluewater Grill’s executive chef, Brian Hirsty, pictured below with some of the gorgeous fish we sampled at the Summit

Brian shared some very useful tips for buying, selecting and cooking your seafood that I am delighted to share with you:

  • Know Where Your Fish Comes From: Make sure you buy your fish from a trustworthy source. “It all comes back to traceability. Where is your fish coming from?”
  • Fresh Fish Should Glisten: “Fresh fish should have a translucent sheen and should bounce back when you touch it.” Signs of age are when your fish is black or gray.
  • Fresh Fish Should NOT Smell Fishy! If your fish smells fishy, it is not as fresh as it should be.
  • The Secret to Perfectly Cooked Fish is: An internal temperature of 130-135 degrees when measured with a food thermomater. I was truly in awe of how flawlessly cooked each and every piece of fish we ate was, it totally maximized flavor and showcased the freshness of the fish.

After our minds were filled with important information about sustainability, it was time to fill our bellies. Look at this gorgeous side-by-side salmon tasting that I had the pleasure of becoming intimately acquainted with at the Summit:

Our salmon sampler from left to right included: Wild Sockeye, Wild King, Farmed BC Atlantic and Farmed BC king salmon. And yes it tasted as good as it looks! It was so insanely fresh tasting and perfectly cooked, I couldn’t believe it! And it was quite a treat to compare the different varieties next to each other. Honestly, there was something absolutely transcendent about eating this sustainable fish, like someone had put their heart and soul into selecting some of the best fish I have ever tasted. It was truly SUBLIME!

In addition to the salmon tasting, we also sampled a variety of fresh oysters, cajun swordfish, and Chilean Seabass that was equally delicious. We were also treated to some lovely wine pairings to compliment our seafood, and I chose to sip bubbly with all of my tastings because it truly complimented all the fish nicely. We ended our culinary adventure with the debut of Bluewater Grill’s Build-Your-Own Blue Ice Bloody Mary Bar. This fun inspiration gives customers a chance to create their own customized version of the famous all-day cocktail from among 25 unique ingredients and hot sauces from around the world. Yummy! 

This was such an enlightening experience that I highly recommend trying out this type of experience yourself by attending one of Bluewater Grill’s Monthly Seafood Tastings and Wine Pairing Events which are offered the second Monday of every month in Redondo Beach and the second Tuesday in Newport, Tustin and Phoenix. 

Disclosure: Bluewater Grill provided car service, sustainability education, seafood tastings, and wine pairings, but little did I know that my perception of seafood and where it is sourced from would forever be changed. 

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