Adventures into BisquePosted: December 2, 2007 Filed under: James and the Giant Peach Leave a comment
I was first introduced to the word “bisque” in an episode of Seinfeld. It is actually one of the most famous episodes, The Soup Nazi. I think it is Jerry that orders the crab bisque and says that it is so good that your knees buckle, so you have to sit down before eating it. I don’t know why, but I can remember sitting there on the couch, and wondering what bisque was, and why it was so good that you had to sit down to eat it.
I never really had a chance to eat a bisque until fairly recently. I think it isn’t really something that is all too common in the type of restaurant that I went to growing up. I always imagined something rich and hearty with a strong tomato-ish flavor to it. Kind of like minestrone, but it would actually taste good, and have bits of sea food in it.
Fast forward 11 years, to my honeymoon; Roni and I went to Monterey. We had already decided that we would eat out at better than average places pretty much every night (especially after our experience at the worst restaurant of all time… Norma’s Res ran!), because we wouldn’t be able to do so again for a very long time, maybe ever. So in the spirit of ‘living it up’ we went to the Sardine Factory. Now, I bet you are thinking, “Sardine… Factory…? I thought you said that you were living it up?” But in all reality, it is a really nice place, and I really doubt that they serve canned sardines at the Sardine Factory. It is often said to be the nicest restaurant in Monterey, and that should be saying something.
[funny sidenote from while we were there, maybe Roni has blogged about the lady with the cat plate? If not… I will request that the story be put up soon, it is pretty awesome.]
I figured that since we were at a really nice place, we might as well order some really nice food. I just about died when I saw “abalone bisque” on the menu. Here was my chance! The waiter assured me that it is world famous, so I figured I would indulge my childhood fantasy and order the world famous abalone bisque. When it came out I was surprised. It looked like he had brought out a bowl of thick cream. Where were the chunks? How was this going to have any flavor that was worthy of the title “world famous?”
A first impression has never been so wrong. It was a wonderful soup. A soft, almost velvety texture with a most amazing flavor. Best. Soup. Ever. No kidding people. If I am ever in Monterey again, I might go to the Sardine Factory and just order a bowl of the abalone bisque. Maybe two bowls. It is that good. I was in love with bisque, and I suddenly understood that yes, this soup is so good you had better be sitting when you have it.
A few weeks earlier, I had eaten, for the first time, lobster. Mom and Dad took Roni and I out for a congratulatory dinner at the Buckhorn, a few days before our wedding. I figured that I would try lobster, and it was SO GOOD. I thought it would be like a big shrimp, a jumbo jumbo shrimp if you will, but it was so much better than any shrimp.
So as I sat there eating my bisque, contemplating the creamy goodness of it, an idea struck me. LOBSTER BISQUE! I became obsessed with the idea of it, and finally, this past week, my opportunity came. The local grocery store was having a sale on lobster tails, and I somehow talked Roni into putting it into our budget for the week.
I searched online and found an easy, but still tasty sounding, recipe for lobster bisque. It took a while to do, and it ended with me dumping the hot soup into the blender and then straining it. Well, it wasn’t as good as the mind altering experience at Sardine Factory, but it wasn’t bad either. My appetite for bisque has been satiated once again… for now…