In Dreams


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.

halibut in marinade

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.

Dinner:  May 20, 2009

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.

19 thoughts on “In Dreams

  1. I look forward to each and every posting. My husband and I are starting to take photos of our creations with the intent of publishing a small cookbook for family and friends. Thank you, thank you, for always sharing.

  2. I love this idea and I’d love to have a spot just like this in my neighborhood. My dream involved a lovely little lunchtruck that people can’t not stop at when they smell fresh donuts frying!

  3. Sweet 🙂

    Oyster happy hour…sob.

    Can’t live without basket of lemons. Wow, key limes for this, big limes for that, yellow lemons for that over there, Meyers for this other thing…

    I have a similar dreamy-dream, but no illusions about the commitment, energy, and possibly life-sapping consant-presence it would require:

    Small restaurant: one menu, prix fixe, no choices. Market fresh.

    Home way from home – People can book their night or give it to friends if they can’t make it.


  4. Don’t forget to add a ‘liquor license’ to the list so that you could serve wine to those of us who stop for a nibble. Good luck…and remember, if you can envision it, you can make it happen!

  5. Pee Ess (as Estorbo – who is feeling almost his old self, i.e. belligerent – would say):

    I hope you open that place in my town 🙂

    – or perhaps I’ll just have to move.

  6. PLEASE do it. Our dream has always been a small, perfect noodle house. Both are desperately needed. But you seem far, far closer to making yours happen. Please do. I’ll visit professionally and personally. Often.

  7. I think my dream shop would be to open a charcuterie. I would just want to be around giant ham hocks all day, and my husband would be on cloud nine slicing up all of the meats (he used to work in a deli when we were in high school and college) with one of those gorgeous hand-crank slicers.

  8. Marcos Castrillón says:

    Ha! If you and Dietsch ever want to spend some vacation over here, me and the wife will take you to places where the best fish and seafood on the whole damn world is served.

    Do not expect fish tacos, though.

  9. What a beautiful dream! I know many people who didn’t quite have the means or experience but chased their dream anyway and it came true. I wish you the best of luck! (BTW and those fish tacos look SO good!)

  10. I like the way you dream!
    Got to get myself up to the North End – the seafood you get from Mercado del Mar looks consistently amazing.

  11. Jennifer Hess says:

    Thanks for all of your wonderful, supportive comments. You guys are really the best. 🙂

    There are lots of obstacles in our way at this point in time, but I have no intention of giving up on the dream… you just never know what life has in store, right?

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