When you’re sitting at a desk or behind cubicle walls, thinking about what you’d rather be doing, how you’d spend your days if money were no object, or if your circumstances were different, what do you dream about?
My answer has changed over the years, but it’s getting clearer, to the point where I now find myself taking notes, making lists, looking longingly through the windows of empty storefronts in my neighborhood, pondering the possibilities.
A storefront. A market.
Specifically, a seafood market, but more than just that.
There’d be a little space for retail, where I’d sell a small, well-curated selection of fresh, local seafood, and perhaps even a few sustainably-fished favorites from farther afield. There’d be things prepared in-house, seafood salads and cured and smoked fish, and things you could take home, heat and eat. There’d be baskets of lemons, good white anchovies and glass jars of briny capers for sale, homemade butter spiked with fresh herbs or lime and chile, sauces and salsas, a variety of tasty things to serve with your seafood.
There’d also be a small adjoining space, cozy, with a raw bar like our beloved Marlow and Sons with their oyster happy hour. We’d have tables and chairs and a small seafood menu, fritto misto and seafood rillettes, chowders and stews and seared or grilled fillets – simple, honest seafood dishes, prepared with whatever good things are in season. A neighborhood place, filled with laughter and conversation. A place that celebrates what we so love about living here – the ocean, the people, the bounty of this beautiful state we now call home.
And when the weather warms up after the long winter, we might even put some chairs out on the sidewalk, throw open the doors to let the breeze in, pour frosty beverages and linger, listening to the sounds of chirping birds and passing traffic. And maybe, just maybe, we’d serve up some grilled fish tacos.
Someday? Who knows. I have neither the means nor the experience to make it happen right now. But it sure is a nice dream.