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Fish and Et Cetera!


One of my favorite restaurants in town, GW Fins, has a couple of announcements. First, on Dec. 5 and 6 the restaurant will have a seven-course dinner celebrating the feast of the seven fishes. The seating is communal, and some of the seven courses are served family style while others are served individually. It costs $95 a head and that does not include tax or tip.

Then for three weekends in December, GW Fins will also open for lunch. It’s a once a year thing, so make a reservation if you want a spot on Dec. 7, 14 or 21.

Speaking of fish, and we were, Whole Foods has recently started carrying sardines again. I’m not talking about the fish in a can, though those can be pretty good too. I’m talking about whole, fresh (previously frozen) sardines.

If all you’ve had is the canned kind, you should give the fresh(ish) version a shot. They’re strongly flavored and extremely rich, so you don’t need a lot of them to make a meal if you pair them with pasta or bread or another starch. I like to grill them or make an escabeche by dusting them in flour and then frying them before marinating them in vinegar, herbs, garlic and peppers. Once you fillet them, it’s very easy to pull their spines and rib bones out, though the latter are so thin they tend to disintegrate if you cook them.

Three of the little fish went for less than $3 when I bought them last, and that was more than enough for me after I grilled them and made a pasta sauce with tomatoes, capers, grilled peppers and onions. I even used the last of the tiny cherry tomatoes my plants produced this year.

This week, I also learned from Ian McNulty that Tales of the Cocktail is opening a venue on Camp Street. It’s in the spot that has most recently been a catering venue called Pigeon & Squeak or Pigeon and the Birdman or Prince Pigeon or something similar but which was much more importantly once Le Foret. I’ve been a fan of Tales since it started, but I’m not going to hold out a great deal of hope the new place will make me forget Le Foret.

The new place is going to be called “Storyteller x Tales,” where the “x” is supposed to mean “by.” The weird thing is that there is already a perfectly good word for “by.”

It is by.

It is a small word and indeed only one letter more than “x,” so I scarcely think the decision not to go with “by” was made on the basis of verbal parsimony. I suspect it was used in place of the more common “#” or “@,” but those symbols at least have the advantage of being understood by the young and those of us who have married younger people.

The advantage that “by” has over “x,” at least as in this context when one wants to convey the identity of an actor responsible for something is that “by” is already universally understood as identifying the actor performing an action.

It is a small nit to pick, but I am small minded sometimes.



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