Aren't Monk fish ugly?! Scientifically, they are a species of angler fish. This is where it gets interesting because they have a protrusion above their mouth that resembles a fishing rod. There is some debate as to the effectiveness of the "bait" -- the esca . The results are without doubt, though -- the monk fish quickly captures its prey, often times eating it whole.
The Out of the Blue Seafood restaurant located in Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland recently lured my wife, Tammi, and I into a culinary delight! There it sits on Main Street, across from the Dingle Marina, a few hundred yards from the North Atlantic Ocean. This is on Ireland's Top 100 restaurants list. We didn't know that when we walked by.
Lured by the vibrant colors, the fresh smell of grilled seafood coming from the chimney stack, the sound of seagulls flying nearby, and the chilly ocean breeze, our timing was perfect. It is very hard to get a table!
This out-of-the-world! experience is a next-generation trend in the retail/restaurant space that has five key ingredients.
- To locally-sourced/freshly-prepared material (like Monk fish)
- Add a healthy pinch of celebration-of-place
- Mix with care by artisans (in this case, food artisans)
- Who impart you with an impression of a lifetime
- From such a small footprint
I see more of these unique chef-owned restaurants and artisan-based shops appearing in the retail landscape of cities and towns across the U.S., as was evident throughout Ireland.
Markets are powerfully social! We, as a community, celebrate the richness of life through markets. This retail tapestry -- its colors, flavors, sounds, smells, textures, values and beliefs -- shapes our cultural milieu as much as the tapestry is shaped by us.
So, indeed, Monk fish and retail have a great deal in common! Thank you Tim Mason, Out of the Blue purveyor, Jean-Marie Vaireaux and Eric Maillard (head chefs), and the OOTB staff for showing us the way forward!