Having to pick up our rental car earlier than we imagined on the Friday, Sarah and I soon found ourselves rumbling down U.S. Route 101. Known as one of the last remaining and longest U.S. Routes still active in the state, and the longest highway of any kind in California, it was the road that would take us to Mountain View, and the nights John Mayer concert. With a seemingly endless stream of buildings and homes alongside the thoroughfare, we found ourselves entering and leaving cities without ever realizing it. Lucky for us, our final destination wasn’t far away and allowed us to backtrack from Palo Alto to San Mateo in no time.
Feeling famished at one point (probably from our journey to Target), we decided to pull over in Palo Alto and see what was what. A look at Yelp provided us with some choices, but after some mixed attempts at finding things in this foreign locale, we settled on The Fish Market. Partly because we passed this joint a few times in search of other destinations, and partly because after our taco binge, we felt the need to enjoy a seafood cleanse. We were in California after all!
As we entered to see the restaurant, was actually a fish market as well as a restaurant, Sarah and I decided to sit outside in the warm and delightful little patio. Our server was quick to the point (to the point no faking. I’m cooking MCs like a pound of bacon), bringing a chunk of sourdough bread along with the menus. As we sat and chewed on the bread (it was good), we had a gander at the menu and were pleasantly surprised to see a big reflection on sustainability. They even include a note at the bottom of the menu that says because of their fishing philosophy, the fish options will change with ‘the seasons, availability, and fishing luck’. The whole concept of seafood is so important to this company, that they’ve even created their own fishery.
Because freshness is so important to us, we own and operate our own federally-inspected and certified seafood facility, Farallon Fisheries. What started out as a wholesale operation out of a small shack on the docks near Half Moon Bay, now, from its current South San Francisco location purchases, processes and distributes nearly all of the seafood consumed in our restaurants. Farallon’s purchasing arm extends worldwide to ensure only the highest-quality seafood reaches our restaurants. At Farallon, we also cure and smoke salmon, trout, swordfish and albacore in the traditional mild European method – with hickory and sugar maple woods. These specialties can be purchased at our restaurants from the retail market or ordered as appetizers while dining.
Pretty cool eh…and we were sitting in their original location built in 1976.
Trying to conquer the slight car sick feeling from our the iPhone Yelp-ing, we settled on a bottle of sparkling water and relaxed. With no pressure to rush into our order, Sarah and I engaged the server in some mindless chit chat about the area and eventually gained our head space back and were ready to order.
Always a big fan of our homemade tuna melts, Sarah opted for the Albacore Tuna Melt – toasted wheat, Tillamook cheddar cheese . The accompanying refreshing, delicious, dilly salad would be nice to see as an option in more places. The sandwich had perfect press marks and was packed with tuna and wonderful cheese. Sarah mentioned this was a perfectly sized meal for the situation. Two thumbs up on this one.
Deciding to go big or go home, I ordered Our Famous Dungeness Crab Cioppino – prawns, finfish, scallops, calamari, clams, mussels, cockles housemade marinara sauce and garlic bread. What arrived was a massive platter of fresh seafood in a thick, aromatic tomato sauce, and half a loaf of toasted garlic sourdough. This is one dish that I came to California looking for, and it didn’t disappoint. The bib came in handy, and saved my sweater from more than a handful of sloppy dribbles that would have made me looked like a finger-painting preschooler. The seafood was glorious, including some of the best bay scallops I’ve ever had and the entire experience was sloppy, tomatoey, and so darn delicious that I utilized every single morsel of bread to drink up the sauce.
If there’s anything I can say to finish this post, it’s that I wish local Edmonton establishments like the Billingsgate Fish Market could serve such fresh, and properly prepared food. Who needs deep fried shrimp or breaded and fried fish burgers when so many ocean dwellers are so damn good in their natural state. I could easily see making this a regular place if we lived in the area…although, it is just one stop in an endless road swamped with options.