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the time in which we ate All The Seafood

October 2, 2014

Sometime last spring a few friends and I took a Sunday afternoon trip down to the Wharf. AKA, the Fish Wharf aka the Maine Avenue Seafood Market. My Wikipedia research just told me that the “Maine Avenue Fish Market stands as a cultural relic popular with locals but unknown to many of the tourists who flock to the monuments and museums just five blocks north.” Seeing as how I had no idea such a place existed until several weeks before this adventure I second whoever wrote this.

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It turns out the the Fish Wharf is one of the last remaining open air fish markets on the east coast. Ten plus stalls are arranged in a horseshoe and are technically floating barges. Upon entering, the scene feels satisfyingly “UN-DC.”

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This place is so cool. The market has been continuously open since 1805 (whoa) and fresh seafood arrives daily. It’s charmingly dilapidated with vendors yelling, the sound of fish being wrapped in crisp paper and the undeniably “fishy” smell that accompanies any such place.

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So as not to make any rash decisions we decided to take a lap and check out options and prices before purchasing anything. Some stalls were running sales but for the most part prices were similar from vendor to vendor.

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It’s been awhile now but I think we bought something like four pounds of mussels, three pounds of clams, a jar of oyster shooters, two dozen scallops and a bag of shrimp. Ultimately the seafood plus a few side salads plus some french bread fed 12 people for about $14 per person. And when I say fed I mean stuffed to the gills (I couldn’t resist) with seafood and butter.

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So we bought all the seafood and then came home and googled how to cook all the seafood. One of my roommates is from America’s hometown Plymouth, MA and he also had some pointers for those of us less familiar. Not a lot of seafood in Missouri… The most weird/exciting this I learned about was pulling out the beards of mussels prior to cooking. Mussels have beards!

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We sautéed the scallops, made a butter linguine situation with the clams and steamed/boiled the mussels in two different ways; one in a tomato based sauce with sausage and one in a butter based sauce with like, a lot of delicious Irish butter.

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We ate the oysters raw in shooters of course.

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This was such a fun night. From the fish market to the meal with some de-bearding and youtubing in between it was all hilarious and great.

There was a rumor that the fish market was closing due to a revitalization condo project but this article reports that it will stay open (although perhaps in a different form?). It would be damn shame if such a historic place that is the livelihood of so many people closes. And hopefully it doesn’t lose it’s slightly dilapidated charm. :)

Friends, lets do this again soon, yes?

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