Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Fishmongers I have known
In the summer of 1995 I was an underemployed cook, house painter, and part time college student. One of my favorite restaurants in the Tampa Bay area had just moved over the bridge and to Saint Petersburg Florida. That restaurant was Native Seafood, and on a warm evening in July of that year all the stars were lining up in my favor. I asked one of my college classmates a beautiful young lady named Marta to dinner that evening, and she agreed to let me take her to Native Seafood. We must have gotten a late start because I remember most of the customers were making there way out while we were on our way in. It was a pleasant night so we chose to sit on the deck and enjoy our dinner. Our waiter for the evening was quite charming, I think he was trying to make time with my date, but the wine and my delight to have her as my date did not allow it to bother me. So after a delightful meal of tropical inspired cuisine we were the last two customers in the place, and the staff was cleaning up. Our server Leonardo joined us at my request and we all enjoyed a new bottle of wine together. The conversation turned to the food, and I mentioned I had done some cooking. In a matter of time I was introduced to Pedro, one of the owners of Native Seafood. Pedro and I hit it off almost immediately comparing the subtleties of the wines and the flavors of his recipes, and the wonders of the on site herb garden. Pedro offered me a job in the kitchen I did not plan on taking. As everyone said goodnight he handed me his card, it read; Pedro Alvarez, fishmonger.