Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The DC Chronicles: Part II

While walking back to the hotel -- what was supposed to be a two or three mile journey -- we were stuck, yet again, in the middle of DC mayhem. We were wedged between an overpass and a highway off-ramp, facing our hotel, but with no way to get there. Another dead end. Our room was in sight, but the six lanes of highway and the 55 mph traffic was a bit…wait a minute…what…is…that…smell? Rachel? Are you smelling what I’m smelling? Cajun spicy goodness? Old Bay seasoning? Real-life adventure on the high seas broadcast weekly on the Discovery Channel? It is!!!

A Fish Market!

And lo! As the smell of fish wafted throughout the land, the clouds opened up.

This place was nuts. Apparently we had stumbled upon the most amazing fish market in the world (sorry Seattle), the Main Avenue Fish Market. Fresh crab was crawling in every direction, snapper the size of Smart cars, and shrimp so big you could saddle them up and ride them home.

It was almost dinner time and cars were beginning to pull up en masse for dinner (or take dinner home). The place was bounding at its shore-lined seams. Beautiful. Rachel and I, after what was once a sh*tty day, knew we had no choice; we were going to drag our family here…here to our beautiful oasis in the middle of an impassable cement desert. We looked at each other and smiled.

OK, so it wasn’t really an oasis. Anybody that’s ever been to a fish market knows that it’s not oasis-like, especially in the smell department. However, our day had not been entirely lost, so we declared victory: it was time to gorge ourselves in celebration!

We drug Ashley, Steven and the Zen back to our market and needless to say, Tenzin was in eye candy heaven. Crabs were flipping themselves over the side of the boat trying not to end up on a dinner plate, fishmongers were tossing and slicing filets, locals were barking out orders two, sometimes three people deep. He couldn’t stop staring! For his amusement, I even tried to pop an escaped crab back up in to a basket, only to find out that crabs can, in fact, readily access the area behind their backs. Tenzin giggled as I put a napkin over my bleeding finger.

We walked around for a while, perused the different floating markets, snapped some pictures, then decided that enough was enough…it was go time. Side note: Although one might not think ceviche when they think of DC, I would like to announce that the District of Columbia is, unbeknownst to most, the ceviche capital of the United States. I can’t remember if it was Ashley or Rachel, but somebody came back to our dinner box with a cup full of amazing. It was the second-best ceviche I have ever had, preceded only by the $5.00 mound of citrus heaven we ate in La Fonda, Mexico. The four of us sat on the docks literally inhaling food: ceviche, chowder, corn on the cob, scallops...anything we could find.

After about an hour of non-stop eating, we relaxed on the docks post-meal, suckling on our ice cream cones of victory. Tenzin was covered in about four gallons of watermelon juice and we didn’t look much better.

Chins were dripping and clothes were moist, we were all just a hot mess. I, however, had continued to wander the market for a little while longer, and even though I was full I could not resist the temptation. I proceeded over to one of the more popular vendors and bought two of the biggest king crab legs I could find – our dessert. They’ll steam them for you on the spot, so I waited my eight minutes and marched triumphantly back to camp. We all dove in, and in case you were wondering how good they were, check out the vegetarian:

It was seriously one of the best, if not THE BEST, meals I have ever had. And the best part? All of it was below market price. A meal like this would have easily cost $250 at restaurant in Columbus. At the Main Avenue Fish Market? About $50 for four and a half of us.

And to cap off the evening...

We made our way across the street to a hill, our bellies full and our smiles big. We relaxed there for a while and just took in the sights and sound of the fish market below. Trying to time a picture for posterity's sake didn't work out too well.

And contrary to my opinion of various other areas of the city, I'll take this version of DC any day.


the larsons said...

This fish market sounds really grand. I miss fresh seafood - I mean, REALLY fresh seafood. I hope we can make it to this market someday.

BTW- We've started posting with regularity again.

Meg turned 1 yesterday. My second kid is getting older, which now means I am OLD. -e.

the larsons said...

I had to visit the fish market again.