Fish Eyeballs are Tasty

Last year, NPR published an article, “Eating Eyeballs: Taboo, or Tasty?”. FoodMeOmaha’s resounding response: Fish eyeballs are tasty!

I have enjoyed fish eyes from fish head soup, fried whole fish, and grilled whole fish. I squish the eyeball in my mouth, appreciate the gelatinous innards, and discard the hard outer part. Why? The fish eyeball is a tasty burst of omega-3 fat to savor and linger over.

I am not the only one who says fish eyeballs are tasty. During a recent Puerto Rico trip, I introduced my man and his two boys to their first fish eyeball.

One evening, we had dinner at La Ola Restaurant in Fjardo, Puerto Rico. La Ola serves Puerto Rican entrees and tapas in a relaxing outdoor setting with a marina view. Some dishes were hits and others were okay. One yummy highlight was the fried whole red snapper.

Fried Whole Red Snapper from La Ola Restaurant in Fjardo, Puerto Rico

When the whole fish arrived, my eyes lit up! I asked the boys, “Would you like to try a fish eyeball?” The boys required no convincing! I carefully carved out the prized eyeballs.

Cade's First Fish Eyeball Experience

Fourteen year-old Cade was nonchalant when I passed him the eyeball.

Jonah's First Fish Eyeball Experience

Nine year-old Jonah was eager for his turn!

The boys verdict: Fish eyeballs are tasty. I was proud!

On another evening, we dined at La estacion in Fjardo, Puerto Rico. This was our favorite restaurant of the trip. La estacion is a charming converted gas station serving up a tasty menu of Puerto Rican food and American barbecue. They use local produce and freshly caught seafood. Every dish we ordered was awesome. This included the grilled whole yellowtail snapper with eyes intact.

Grilled Whole Yellowtail Snapper from La estacion in Fjardo, Puerto Rico

Brian's First Fish Eyeball Experience

This time, it was my man’s turn to try his first fish eyeball. Of course, I had to document the occasion.

Brian agrees fish eyeballs are tasty!

Side note: The whole fish has many wonderful parts to enjoy. The fish head has softer, tasty meat on the forehead and cheek. Fish skin has great flavor and different texture depending on how it is cooked.

Check out FoodMeOmaha post, “My First Filipino Food Experience, Part 2: Fish Eye Me”, for my first fish eyeball experience.

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FoodMeOmaha Goes to the Philippines, Part 7: Zubuchon

Zubuchon

  • Zubuchon Escario Central, Escario Street, Cebu City, Philippines
  • Phone: (032)-2540247
  • Facebook page
  • Cuisine: Filipino
  • Price: $$

On January 3rd, 2013, I was a giddy school girl at Zubuchon in Cebu, Philippines. This restaurant has the famous Cebu lechon declared “the best pig ever” by my celebrity crush, Anthony Bourdain. (See the FoodMeOmaha post, “FoodMeOmaha Goes to the Philippines, Part 6: Cebu Lechon + Anthony Bourdain + Market Manilla = Zubuchon“.)

FoodMeOmaha at Zubuchon in Cebu, Philippines.

Inside view of Zubuchon Escario Central.

Zubuchon has the “Best Pig…Ever” declared by Anthony Bourdain.

I was beaming smiles at Zubuchon. Of course, we ordered the famous lechon.

Zubuchon’s Lechon.

Check out the beautiful lechon skin!

FoodMeOmaha taking a bite of Zubuchon’s lechon skin.

Crispy lechon skin goodness.

Oh my goodness. I worship the crispy lechon skin and tender meat. FoodMeOmaha was in heaven. Lechon me anytime.

It’s not just their lechon that marveled the taste buds. Feast your eyes!

Mango, Kalamansi Honey (Lemoncito), and Iba (Kamias) shakes (left to right).

Mango, Kalamansi Honey (Lemoncito), and Iba (Kamias) shakes (left to right).

Iba or Kamias fruit from the Philippines.

While all the fruit shakes are refreshing and delightful, the smash hit is Zubuchon’s original creation, the Iba shake. The Iba shake is hard to explain. The closest description is a cross combination of green apple, green mango, and cucumber. The Iba shake is a cold, tart and sweet combo that is is a great counterbalance with the rich, savory, hot dishes.

Kalabasa (squash) soup.

The Kalabasa soup is smooth, warm, creamy squash soup that comforts and warms like a favorite, soft blanket.

Zubu Pickle Platter (Picked Atcharra, Green Mango and Singkamas).

Refreshing pickled platter is a nice accent and crunchy counterpart with the rich, savory food and rice.

Zubuchon’s Squid Stuffed with Lechon Sisig.

Zubuchon’s Squid Stuffed with Lechon Sisig.

The squid stuffed and lechon sisig comes to the table sizzling. Tender squid with savory lechon is a tasty union of land and sea.

Zubuchon’s Chorizo.

Cut view of Zubuchon’s Chorizo.

The chorizo was superb, flavorful sausage to remember. I found heaven again. This is FoodMeOmaha’s “best sausage ever.” Enough said.

Sylvanas.

Sylvanas close-up.

Sylvanas is a sweet treat to delight in.  It’s a crunchy, creamy, frozen cookie that is a cold, light, layered marvel.

I HIGHLY recommend Zubuchon if you happen to be in Cebu, Philippines. A must stop for memorable Filipino food at reasonable prices! I wish I could teleport there right now.

Zubuchon Escario Central

  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 9.75 out of 10
  • FoodMe Service Rating: 9 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9.75 out of 10
  • FoodMe Atmosphere Rating: 9 out of 10
  • FoodMe Overall Rating: 9.5 out of 10

My First Balls: Rocky Mountain Oysters

I have eaten lots of balls – meatballs, mozzarella balls, melon balls, cheese balls, and even fish eye balls. (See the FoodMeOmaha post, “My First Filipino Food Experience, Part 1: Fish Eye Me!“)  But I had yet to try the novelty, real-deal cow balls until a month ago.

On Saturday, October 13th, my boyfriend Brian, his son Cade, and I met up with Brian’s family for dinner at Black Iron Grill Steakhouse and Saloon in Rock Port, Missouri. Black Iron Grill is an American steakhouse about an hour and half drive from Omaha.

In the past, I had mentioned to Brian that I wanted to try rocky mountain oysters (something he has tried but I haven’t). We perused the menu and lo and behold we read “Mountain Oysters 1/2 pound. You ain’t gonna eat these raw! We slice ’em thin & bread ’em by hand”.  Brian’s eyes lit up devilishly and he said, “Here’s your chance!”

Thus, I spontaneously tried my first rocky mountain oysters. When I laid eyes on the rocky mountain oysters, I loudly exclaimed, “My first balls!”

Rocky Mountain Oysters

  • Description: 1/2 pound of thinly sliced, breaded cow testicles with ranch dressing
  • Price: $6.99
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 7 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 7 out of 10

Not bad! Good in fact. Nice crispy, fried outside and a chewy, thin inside. The texture is gizzard-like but not as chewy or thick. The taste is similar to liver but not as pungent. If you like fried gizzard or fried liver, then you should like fried balls as well.

Of course, I had to examine what it looked like “naked” underneath the breading.

Brian likes rocky mountain oysters with no shame or mental hangup. He mentioned that Black Iron Grill’s mountain oysters are similar to the ones at Dinker’s Bar in Omaha.

We weren’t the only ones who ate rocky mountain oysters. Brian and I encouraged two boys, Cade and Holden, to try some “oysters” for the first time.

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Cade wanted no evidence of his ball eating ways!

Brian’s nephew, Holden, ate his first rocky mountain oyster with gusto. I am not sure if Holden knew what he was eating but he liked it.

Ultimately, I had a blast (or ball) trying rocky mountain oysters for the first time! I would eat them again.

Side note: I confess that during and after this food experience, I was mystified and fascinated by how the balls became rocky mountain oysters. I didn’t understand all the technicalities from start to finish. Joel, Brian’s brother-in-law, explained the process but I could not fully visualize and connect all the dots. I had tons of questions. What part is what? How did the balls become flat? And, where did the swimmers go? CuriousMe did some research. Stay tuned for “FoodMeTrivia Series #3: The Making of Rocky Mountain Oysters”!

Black Iron Grill on Urbanspoon

My First Filipino Food Experience, Part 2: Fish Eye Me!

My lunch at Kapit Bahay is a treasured, first-time Filipino food experience. I had very good Filipino food with fantastic friends, Maude, Leigh, and Zoe. (See the previous post “My First Filipino Food Experience, Part 1: “Don’t Be Filipino About It“).

Among the Filipino lunch, we had a fish broth soup which included a fish head with eyes intact. This is my “Bizarre Foods” post of my first fish eye.

The fish head had two prized, healthy eyes. Filipino friend, Maude, explained that the fish eyes are a special treat in her family. Her mom would always give the fish eyes for her children to enjoy. This time, Maude gave the eyes to the non-Filipinos, myself and Zoe. She excitedly encouraged that we each have a fish eye and exclaimed, “Healthy, omega-3 fat!”

Maude carefully removed the eyes from the fish head and then passed me an eyeball on a spoon.

I had a mini photo session with my first fish eye. I am all eyes for the eye. Despite my pretend pout in the above right picture, I am all for trying the fish eye!

I was instructed to squish down but not chew and discard the outside film of the eye. I had no idea what to expect.

There was silence and avid eyes watching the fish eye and me. As instructed, I squished down and… Mmmmmm… The closest food item I can compare it to is melt-in-your-mouth bone marrow but with a seafood flavor. Awesome, yummy, juicy, fatty goodness soaked in the broth juices. Oh my delicious eye ball. Everyone should try this at least once.

Here’s a close-up of the eyeball remains. I wish I had a before close-up picture of the fish eye.

Have you ever tried a fish eye? If not, try it! I did and loved it.

Fish eye me again anytime!

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Special thanks to Maude for the memorable experience and sharing your home country food and family tradition. Thanks for “being Filipino about it.”

Kapit Bahay on Urbanspoon

My First Filipino Food Experience, Part 1: “Don’t Be Filipino About It”

I have a treasure chest of food memories that I want to share. Among these gems is my first Filipino food experience introduced by my dear friend and fellow foodie, Maude. Although it was two years ago, it is still worth sharing.

My first Filipino food experience was spontaneous. On an all-girls, Las Vegas trip, we found a Filipino restaurant, Kapit Bahay, right on the strip. On sight, Maude’s eyes lit up and she exclaimed that we had to try this place and that she wanted the Filipinos, herself and Leigh, to share their home country food with the non-Filipinos, myself and Zoe.

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The food was already cooked and available for selection like a Sbarro or Chinese place in a food court. Left and right, Maude and Leigh (pictured above) picked an assortment of dishes for lunch.

Zoe and I had no idea what was being ordered. We were happy, innocent bystanders.

Our Filipino lunch included Sinugbang Isda (grilled fish), Sisig (sizzling pig’s ears and face), Lechon Kawali (fried roasted pig), Pancit (noodles), fish soup, and two other dishes.

I enjoyed everything! In particular, I loved the Sisig and the Lechon Kawali. Savory goodness. I love pig (I admit I am one). I also loved the fish soup (more details on that later). Zoe enjoyed the food as well!

I asked Maude and Leigh what they thought about the food from a Filipino perspective.
Maude said, “The food was definitely very good. More Northern based, very Tagalog.” Leigh shared, “The Filipino food was good but really nothing beats home-cooked Filipino food. That applies to most restaurants though.”
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The meal was very good AND cost-effective. I don’t recall the exact pricing, but I remember it being cheap and a nice wallet-break compared to all the other restaurants on the strip!
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The lunch at Kapit Bahay is a treasured, first-time Filipino food experience with fantastic friends, Leigh, Maude, and Zoe (pictured above from left to right, respectively, then myself).
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I learned a phrase from Maude, “Don’t be Filipino about it,” which means you should not hold back when it comes to eating. Specifically, you should not be “polite” and leave the last piece for another person. Happily, I wasn’t a Filipino about the food. This also applies to a prized fish eye…
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Stay tuned for the next FoodMeOmaha post, “My First Filipino Food Experience, Part 2: Fish Eye Me”!
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Kapit Bahay on Urbanspoon

For the Love of Souffle, Part 1: The Eiffel Tower Souffle

Eiffel Tower Restaurant (Paris Las Vegas)

I am planning a trip to Las Vegas and naturally I am thinking about the food.  As a result, this has brought back memories of the beloved souffle at Eiffel Tower Restaurant located in the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.  Two years ago, I had the Eiffel Tower Souffle, my first souffle, and it was love at first bite.  This is an unforgettable food experience that must be shared.

The Eiffel Tower Restaurant offers souffle in various flavors depending on the season. Some of the flavors include chocolate, Grand Marnier, pistachio, banana, raspberry, and mandarin orange.  My girlfriends and I ordered the Eiffel Tower Souffle in chocolate and banana.  The souffles were ordered in advance since it takes a while to make.

Eiffel Tower Souffle
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  • Description: Dessert souffle with different flavor options.
  • Price: Unknown (Can’t remember but worth it)
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 10 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 10 out of 10

The Eiffel Tower Souffles arrived beautifully risen above the ramekin and sprinkled with powdered sugar, warm and ready to be eaten.  The waiter made a hole in the middle and poured in sauces.  Then, I had my very first bite of clouds of chocolate and then banana.  Oh my goodness.  I had the most delicious, lightest, airiest spoonfuls of classic chocolate and banana that absolutely pleased the taste buds. Once you take a bite you just do not want to stop.  We ate all of it and left wanting more.

Before:

 

After:

 

This was an oh-my-goodness, divinely delicious moment that all my girlfriends shared. One of my girlfriend’s claimed, “If I am on death row, this will be my last meal.”   I concur.  For sure, I will be go back for the Eiffel Tower Souffle on my next Vegas trip. The Eiffel Tower Souffle is one of my all-time favorite desserts and the best souffle I have ever had.

I absolutely love souffle.  After my last Vegas trip, I intently searched the web for Omaha restaurants that serve souffle.  Unfortunately, souffle is not a common dessert in the Omaha area restaurants. I have discovered souffle at the French Cafe and 801 Chophouse but neither came close to the divine goodness of the Eiffel Tower Souffle.

The souffle loving doesn’t stop in Omaha though.  For the love of souffle, there have also been attempts to make souffle…  Stay tune for “For the Love of Souffle, Part 2: The Souffle Cooking Attempts”.

Eiffel Tower Restaurant (Paris) on Urbanspoon