Seared Tuna and Avocado Burgers

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A twist on the classic lobster roll, these seared tuna salad burgers are easy to pull together and perfect for summer nights. Make sure your tuna is fresh- it shouldn’t be brown and instead, a bright red. Specks of white are okay, and a little black is too. I did the unimaginable and actually purchased two frozen half-pound steaks from an Asian grocery store. They looked much better than the supposedly fresh stuff. Let defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

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Seared Tuna and Avocado Salad Burgers

Serves 8

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Adapted from Ina Garten

Olive oil

1 pound tuna steak

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lime, zest grated

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder

1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

6 dashes hot sauce

1 avocado, diced

1/4 red onion, chopped

1 tablespoon scallion, minced

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

8 hamburger buns

2 cups arugula

Heat sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. While heating, rub olive oil on tuna steaks and season with salt and pepper. Place tuna in pan and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side until seared. Remove from heat and cut into small cubes.

In a medium bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil, lime zest and juice, wasabi powder, soy sauce, hot sauce, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the avocado. and then the tuna, red onion, scallion, and sesame seeds. Line the buns with arugula and fill with tuna mixture.

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Eventide Oyster Co.

This place was meant for me. The instant I walked into Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, ME, the restaurant exuded freshness, uniqueness, and good fish. The bright aqua walls with ample bar space initially drew me in, but then the enormous array of oysters sitting on ice at the bar convinced me to try this new restaurant.

Instead of tasting the oysters, which I’m sure were fabulous, we chose to try small plates. The first plate was a Lobster Roll. But not any old lobster roll. No, this came on a steamed bun and with your choice of Hollandaise, house mayo or a brown butter vinaigrette. A lobster roll, in my mind, is not a lobster roll without mayonnaise. Since our waitress said the house mayo was very good and light, mayo was the obvious choice. My only complaint? I wish this were four times the size, it was so delectable. The warm bun with the fresh lobster meat made this the best lobster roll I’ve ever tasted.

Next up was Rare Yellowfin with soy, scallions, and radishes. While this dish wasn’t as outstanding as the lobster roll that we had just consumed, the fish had incredibly clean flavors. However, the Asian flavors were perhaps too startling, sandwiched between dishes with more subtle tastes. That being said, this was still an excellent dish.

Lastly, we enjoyed Artic Char with fried bagel bites and crème fraiche. This blows any traditional bagels and lox out of the water. The crunch of the bagel combined with the smoothy cream and of course the delicious fish made my head-spin. If you visit Eventide Oyster Co, this heavenly and different (a word used in the most positive way possible) dish is well-worth your money.

The drink menu and draught beers were something I unfortunately missed out on since we had to drive later that night. It should be noted that on our two hour drive home, despite a day full of eating, my boyfriend pulled over to purchase a Big Mac.

Camden, ME

Cappy’s Chowder House, Camden, ME

 Clam Chowder

Grilled Tuna

With jalapeno sauce and corn salsa, served with grilled summer squash

Judging from the decor of the place, I expected this to be sub-par, pub food. I judged incorrectly. This was surprisingly delicious, and considering that this cost around $15, it was a bargain compared to most places in town.

White Peach Sangria

My initial reaction: is this from the kids menu? The numerous decorations threw me off, but it tasted wonderfully. It was 90 degrees outside, and this was perfectly refreshing. I’m a sucker for anything served in Mason jars, which might have partially attributed to the satisfaction.

Accommodations in Camden, ME:  The Good House Bed & Breakfast 

Located just feet from downtown, I couldn’t have asked for more. The room was spacious, complete with a claw-foot tub in the bathroom. That was enough to win me over. Breakfast was fresh and substantial: blueberry pancakes, fruit salad, and for the boy, lots of bacon. The owner, upon hearing that we were going hiking, provided us with snacks for the trip. Hospitality at its greatest.

Puerto Vallarta (and some unbelievable food)

ImageAs you may already know, I spent the past week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The trip, my first to Mexico, exceeded my expectations. Of course, my boyfriend and I were constantly comparing the place to other trips we’ve been on to Nicaragua and Bali. Each and every place has a beauty of its own, both in terms of landscape, people, and food culture. Thus, it’s impossible to compare the trips. Once again, I ate my way through the vacation and boy was it worth it.ImageImage

The best meal we ate was at El Andariego. Steps from the city center, this restaurant certainly gives patrons both quantity and quality. The mural walls are funky, but the best part, other than the food, was the incredible service. Our server, Jesus, made us guacamole at the table. He also served us a free taste (or two) of Mexico’s famous tequila…

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I ordered the Fish Tacos, which were flavorful thanks to the addition of pineapple. Pickled onions, rice, a delicious sweet corn bread, beans, and avocado crème were served on the side. My stomach was in heaven.

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My boyfriend ordered the Chicken Fajitas, which in his words were “the best fajitas” he’s ever had.

Evidence of this claim are shown by the demolition he did to his meal:

After a week filled with deep-fried cheese enchiladas, mounds of tortilla chips, fruity drinks and lounging on the beach, I am thankful that I am training for a marathon…

Healthy Garlic Breadcrumb Baked Fish

I am many miles away from this place…

Going to school in upstate New York means that the fish supply is questionable. I’m not keen on the “fresh” fish that is sold in the supermarket, and there aren’t any boutique fish markets around. True, I could go ice fishing as many residents do, but the cost-benefit of laboring over my protein is not worth it. Obviously fresh, local fish is the best kind both in terms of taste and sustainability, but there are times when this is just not possible to purchase. Cue frozen fish.

Before arriving at school, I stocked up on frozen foods which included halibut steaks and haddock fillets from Whole Foods. Frozen fillets are certainly better than Gordon’s Fish Sticks (although admittedly those are pretty tasty, bringing back many childhood memories).

This recipe, Garlic Breadcrumb Baked Fish is one that will become a staple in my recipe repertoire. Served with a generous salad and a side of couscous, this meal comes together in no time.

Garlic Breadcrumb Baked Fish

4 white fish fillets or steaks (adjust cooking times for thickness)

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used Italian style)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In an oiled baking pan, place fish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix bread crumbs, garlic, oil, cheese and thyme until a thick paste forms. Pat mixture on fish. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until fish easily flakes.