Last Sunday, I got a ride with Mike (s/v Firefly) and Dave (s/v Desperado) over to Empalme to go to the weekly tainguis (at least that’s how I think it’s spelled. Empalme is a small town beyond Guaymas and is known for fresh seafood and the Sunday tianguis. If you type “tiangui” in to Google translate, nothing comes up but around here it’s a word meaning, essentially, “flea market”. For several blocks, booth after booth after booth are set up selling mostly clothes but also tools, bikes, toys, movies on DVD, electronics, and miscellaneous new and used junk.
Mike goes over every weekend, mostly to buy movies. You get 3 movies for 50 pesos (that’s about $3.85 US for 3 movies). They’re obviously illicit copies but, I suppose illicit means different things in different places as these are sold quite openly. He also likes to check out the 10 peso piles. These are the spots in the clothing vendor booths where there’s just a big pile of clothes that you have to dig through. Whatever you find is 10 pesos and he’s gotten some sweet deals on Hawaiian shirts there. And, sure enough, when we dug through I got on Hawaiian shirt and Dave got three if I remember right.
We stopped for lunch at a booth selling carne asada tacos. One guy cooking meat and making tacos. You walk in and sit down. He keeps track of who came in and when. When it’s your turn he’ll turn and ask how many you want. Then he puts them together and serves them to you and starts cooking more meat. It’s a very popular stand, We probably sat there for a good 10 minutes before our turn came up. He’d gotten behind on his cooking due to a large influx of customers. We each had 3 tacos and Dave and I each had a Coke. Total bill for 9 tacos and 2 half-liter Cokes was $135 or about $10.00 US.
After lunch we perused the stands a little more and then headed home. On the way in to Empalme, on the road along the bahía, we stopped at a row of vendors selling fresh seafood. Well, mostly fresh, some frozen. They had huge shrimp that had come in at 6:00 that morning and Dave and Mike each got a kilo. But I was more interested in a nice hunk of fish. I bought a kilo of filleted flounder for MX$80 (about US$2.79 per pound). Mike, having done this once or twice before, knew to bring an ice chest and ice along with us.
I didn’t eat the fish Sunday night, though. Up at the Captain’s Club, every Sunday night they show a music DVD. One week it was the Rolling Stones in concert, one week John Fogarty, one week The Eagles, etc. They charge MX$30 for admission and ALL the money goes to support Castaway Kids, a local concern that helps the less fortunate kids of Guaymas. Anyway, this Sunday night they were showing “Keep Me In Your Heart”, a film about the making of Warren Zevon’s last album before he died of lung cancer. I really wanted to see this and, since the pizza at Captain’s Club is pretty darn good, I opted for dinner and a show.
However, last night I did cook some of my fish. I’d been kind of wrestling with what exactly to do with it but yesterday morning it came to me. You see, it was freakin’ cold yesterday morning. Cold for here anyway. It was in the mid-50s when I got up. So, what sounded really good was a big steaming bowl of fish chowder.
I’ve never made fish chowder before. Made clam chowder but not fish chowder. But fish chowder just seems so much saltier somehow. It evokes images of a crusty old Grand Banks fisherman ducking into a small, dim, smoky inn in Massachusetts to escape the driving sleet outside. He orders up a tankard of ale and a great steaming bowl of fish chowder to warm his bones. Just what I needed, so I searched the Serious Eats website for “Fish Chowder” and came up with pages and pages of results. But the one that jumped out at me was probably the simplest. I wasn’t really interested in coming back to Chamisa after working all day on Siempre Sabado and then spending a whole bunch of time making dinner. So, this one was the recipe I opted for.
The only changes I made to the recipe was to use regular smoked bacon instead of salt pork and I also added a little bit of celery seed. The first bowlful seemed a wee bit mild-flavored to me, probably because flounder is not the most flavorful fish in the world. However, by the second bowl it was tasting really good. Gives me great hopes for the other half of it that I’ll have for dinner tonight.