What's new in the Valley of the Flowers. We are so excited to see such movement in downtown Boquete. This rainy season has not stopped much in the way of progress and with that motion we also are moving forward. At the 2 Guys Kitchen we are constantly testing new products and experimenting with different cooking styles to bring innovative and soul satisfying dishes to the community. 2 weeks ago we purchased a commercial smoker for very obvious reasons but we have since bought an accessory that enables us to cold smoke. This means that our options for adding and infusing that hard wood or fruit wood flavor into your favorite foods have become limitless. We will be experimenting with paprika, salts, butter, cream cheese, capers (imagine smoked capers with smoked salmon and smoked cream cheese... YUM), ice cream, bacon, Pastrami, sausage, fruits, vegetables, nuts, cheese, and the list goes on and on. This smoker is amazing and what's even more incredible is that the woman that sold it to me has 2 more!!! Her husband recently passed away and she is moving to David after she sells some of his equipment. If you are interested in a smoker let me know (She has 2 sizes available one for the recreational smoker and one for the serious smoker). We use ours daily and love the way it works. Email me privately for more details.
On a different note I wanted to talk a little about the local seafood. There are many options as to the Pacific seafood that one can buy here in the Mountain community of Boquete. Some of the more frequented vendors bring their products from Pedregal to Boquete in trucks with coolers packed with ice. You can generally find them hanging around Romeros or in front of Big Daddy's on any given day. Do you know what to look for when buying seafood? Have you eaten the local seafood and have experienced a tummy ache afterwards.. Here are some pointers that you can use next time you want some "Sushi Grade YellowFin Tuna". Also I will include some Spanish names for a few popular species of fish caught in the Pacific.
Things to watch out for:
Just because a man is filleting a fish right in front of you doesn't mean that fish is fresh. Seafood has a very short shelf life and is always best when fresh. Often the process between boat and salesman this fish might not see optimal storage temperatures in the upwards of 10 to 24 hours. This means that your fish might be packed in ice, freshly cut, and sold with a smile but might actually make you sick. The first tip you should always look for is in the EYES!! Remember Look, Smell, Feel!!
TIPS ON BUYING BOQUETE SEAFOOD:
1. A Fresh fish should have bright, clear eyes. A fish that is not fresh or has not been kept in refrigeration will quickly go to a grey dull look.
2. Your fresh fish should be shiny and metallic. A fish that is old and not fresh will look dull and have discolored patches on it.
3. Are the gills a deep red? If the fish is old the gills will look like a rusty old brick.
4. What does the fish smell like? If your fish smells fishy then walk away!! It should smell clean or maybe a little briny.
5. This should go without mention but if you are buying shrimp or any other seafood and it has a faint smell of ammonia or bleach then walk away immediately. These techniques are used to take seafood that are days old and mask their rotting scent...
6. Is there any liquid on the seafood/fish? If there is it should be clear. If it is milky then this is a sign of rot
7. Press the fish fillet with your finger. A fresh fish will bounce back and leave no trace of your indention. If your finger indention is visible the fish is not fresh and "BUYER BEWARE"
8. Tuna should be red and favor a deep red color. If the tuna you are buying is reddish brown or dull in color do not use it for sushi.
9. There's a good chance that the shrimp you are looking to buy from the trucks on the street have been frozen and thawed multiple times. I have had countless conversations with many of the truck vendors asking them what they do with the seafood that doesn't sell. The most common answer is that they freeze it and try to resell it the next day. So a word of caution when buying seafood. If you are buying shrimp them buy it with the shell on. If the shrimp has been frozen and thawed the shell helps protect it from the harmful bacteria that causes decay. Be sure to smell it first and use your better judgment. Unfortunately the street vendors will almost always tell you that your fish was caught 3 hours ago and is the freshest it can possibly be. Now you know the truth...
If you are eating at a restaurant that buys seafood from street vendors be sure to ask them questions. Ask them when they bought their catch, ask where they bought it, ask them how long it's been in the refrigerator/freezer. These are all questions any local restaurant should be able to answer. There has been a steady stream of bad seafood reactions in past 3 months and your health is worth the due diligence.. If you don't feel confident in the restaurants answer get a burger, It's your safest bet...
Fish Names in English and Spanish:
Sea Bass Corvina
Red Snapper Pargo Rojo
I hope that this information is helpful to you and gives you a more informed perspective when buying seafood. We know that there are a few vendors that have been servicing our community for some time but I feel that it is important to have a set of checks and balances that keep them honest...
Are you familiar with our service?
Our team here in Alto Lino is dedicated to providing you the most diverse menu of anywhere in Panama. Changing week to week our menu has a little something for everyone. Paleo, Pork, Beef, Fish, Vegan, Gluten Free, Thai, Chinese, Russian, American, Southern, BBQ, Italian..... The list goes on and on. We are including a new line of smoked meats and cold smoked products. Artisan cheeses, specialty bacon, brisket and smoked chicken like you've never had and so much more. If you are new in town and would like to hear about our culinary adventures be sure to click this link and join our newsletter. Each week we send out an email with updates and new menu items.
Also take a sneak peek at our menu and click this link. We know that we can't please everyone but that doesn't mean we have to stop trying!! Send us your suggestions. We love cooking new and challenging menu items and if it works as a freezer meal we'll add it to the menu!!
We want your time here in Panama to be as stress free as possible so let us help you out in the kitchen. All of our meals are prepared using the freshest ingredients with unique flavors specific to that dish. Aren't you tired of eating out and everything taste the same with prices that seem to be catered to your passport? Our meals are packaged for 2 adults (generally) and are frozen. All you have to do is heat and eat. Very little mess and ultra convenient at a price that just makes sense (roughly $4 a person). If you see something that you like be sure to complete the online ordering process. We offer many options for delivery or pick up of our items as well. Convenient, affordable, stress free, delicious, and simple. Just like mom's cooking.
Finally we want everyone to know that we just made a video walkthrough of our website. If you are experiencing problems or feel overwhelmed about the thought of ordering food online, click this link and watch this short video. I think you will feel more confident about our new and improved simplified process.
We sure do hope to see you soon. Come by the BCP and say hi. Have your first brownie on us!!
Eric, Cecelia, Chandler, Keira, Aidan
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