It’s been two years since our last visit out to California to visit my sister Kari & her husband Matt- two years too long. We have somewhat of a tradition- they find us at baggage claim at LAX; we squeal with delight and hug; get in the car; find a suitable driving jam; and then we head to Duke’s in Malibu right on the water and just off the Pacific Coast Highway for a toast to togetherness and a bite to eat. I’d always stuck to the Crispy Coconut Shrimp. I know not super adventurous, but that’s the only place where I’d ever ordered it. Ben on the other hand, would indulge in the grilled Baja Fish Tacos served with flour tortillas, tomatillo white sauce, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo- he loved it. For whatever reason, I could never wrap my mind around the whole fish taco concept. Yes, I love fish. Yes, I love tacos. I guess in my mind the whole idea of it was kind of like- “I love ice cream sandwiches and steak….so why not?”
I guess that it was about a year ago when I had that strange craving for something that I’d never tried before- just like the Shepherd’s Pie- I wanted fish tacos. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we’d skipped our regular trip to California, and I wanted that feeling of sitting on the deck with the sounds and smell of the ocean while sipping on a festive libation with my husband and the Couple Monster. Whatever it was, I had to have them, and being landlocked in the Midwest, I wasn’t about to go find a restaurant that served them- for all I know I would’ve walked into a place serving Van De Kamp’s fish sticks wrapped in a hard shell with wilting shredded lettuce and a packet of Taco Bell sauce. I had to make them the way that I thought they should taste, even though I didn’t know what that taste was.
How did I do? Pretty good, considering they tasted exactly like what I thought they should- light, clean, flavorful and fresh. Since that first attempt, I’ve have managed to give a few friends their first fish taco experience in the comforts of our own home. No Pacific Ocean crashing in the background or seagulls nose diving for their own meal, but it did the trick and took care of the craving.