Tag Archives: Cioppino

Eating the Heart

22 Jan

Most people I know have some kind of food that they turn to when they want comfort. It’s something familiar and safe, and it represents a goodness we all crave. We look for the goodness in our lives and we eat whatever that thing is to sustain ourselves. For some people it’s the classic hot tea and chocolate, or a grilled cheese sandwich, or maybe some horrifying combination of burgers and fries at your favorite guilty drive-through.

For me it’s cioppino. It’s a rich tomato-y stew originating in San Francisco that is filled with all manner of seafood: clams, mussels, oysters, cod, and prawns. It is somehow hearty yet delicate, intensely flavorful yet calming. I have eaten cioppino in a little seafood diner at Pike Place while laughing with my family. I’ve made it for Christmas dinner while my mom took videos on her fancy new phone, I of course am ruminating over the correct cooking times for the various shellfish. I’ve fallen in love, starry-eyed in a new relationship, over a bowl of the stuff, in a warm living room (in front of a fire no less… so sue me).

It is delicious and robust. It has heart. It has the inexplicable ability to make my chaotic life feel safe for a few moments. Don’t ask me how it does it because I don’t understand it myself. It’s been said for ages that the sea has healing properties, and a part of me likes the idea that perhaps eating a bowl of the creatures that reside there allows me to somehow harness their powers for myself. Pardon me for getting all universey-magic on you, but cioppino has a spiritual quality, like eating the heart of a bull.

eDSC_0416Longhorn’s get-Sally-feeling-rad-again stew

This is all to say that lately I’ve needed that… to feel warm and safe and happy and taken care of. Thank god my friend Jesse somehow knew that and whisked me down to Edison in the middle of the afternoon to find some cioppino. We went to the Longhorn after hearing they served it, though we found it’s not quite cioppino… it was essentially the same but with spinach and parmesan and ground Italian sausage as well.

Whatever, it totally did the trick. So there in the window in a bar in the middle of all those fields and all that salty sea air, between sloppy mouthfuls of oysters and garlic bread, I got right.

Cioppino Quickie Christmas Phone Blog!

25 Dec





Behold! Its Christmas and I’m venturing into the world of mobile blogging… gross. I never thought I’d type those words exclusively with my thumbs. C and I are working on cioppino for dinner,  and DAMN it is good to make such a luxurious dish on someone else’s dime and in a far superior kitchen! Can’t wait to share photos of the results with you. Until then, HAPPY CHRISTMASTIME!!

Diner Cioppino: Not as sketchy as you’d think

19 Dec

I’m home for the weekend to celebrate an early Christmas with the family, and yesterday morning mom, dad, and I picked Beth up from the airport and spent the day having our senses assaulted at the Pike Place Market. It’s been awhile since I wandered the market, and true to form, acted the part of an overwhelmed small-towner, complete with a giant camera in one hand and the question, “HOW DOES THE CAT-TAMER KEEP HIS CATS SO TAME!? They’re wearing SWEATERS! In a CITY! With no leash!!!” Really, street busking has gotten pretty creative. So we ducked into this tiny oyster bar none us of had been to before and tested out their seafood.

Since dad was treating (thanks, dad!) I got the Cioppino with cod, mussels, clams, and shrimp… I had to test it against the Best Meal Of My Life. Obviously the diner version didn’t quite live up to my practically-religious experience of Cioppino from before, but hey, it was filling, filled with salty awesome seafood, and didn’t give me food poisoning- what more can a lady ask for?

Plus they had easily unwrappable butter (where was that for the past 22 years of my life? FOIL-WRAPPED BUTTER DOES NOT WORK, GODDAMNIT) and Coke poured from a can into a glass, which automatically makes it feel special for some reason. I don’t know why… alls I know is I love my sugar-water from a can.

Then our middle aged waitress offered us an opportunity to dig through a basket of spray painted oyster shells-turned Christmas ornaments, which threw Beth and I into fits of gleeful ridiculousness. Dear readers, Check. Out. My sister’s. CRAZY EYES! I love them! Dear Beth, thank you for allowing this gem onto the interweb… I know it’s difficult to allow the whole universe (all nine readers!) to bear witness to your awesome face.

Then, walking back to the car, we were cajoled into buying a giant bag of produce from a very persuasive produce purveyor, which boasted this fun little sign:

Whoa! Truffles! $399.99 per pound! It took some serious self control to not stick my hand in that little basket and mash them all in my fingers… but I managed not to. Instead we just bought some crazy technicolor carrots, green beans, fresh herbs, Bosc pears, and avocados. That produce man was a total pusher. And I dug it. Tomorrow… Christmas dinner! A week early! Weird, but hopefully cool! I’m seeing a pork loin in my future… and heart attack potatoes! More on that later.

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