Lights are twinkling on Michigan Avenue and the hum of carols can be heard drifting in on the cold lake wind, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. This is the time of year to celebrate and over indulge with extravagance. Don't be like Scrooge and spend the extra money on something really special. But no matter what you are shopping for, this is a time of year when it’s best to get a plan in place and start your sourcing early. Items can get scarce quickly; due to supply, demand, and weather, so it’s best to pre-order once you have your menus set. Here are some items that can put you on the big guy’s nice list.
Fresh Dover Sole, John Dory, and Turbot can really turn some heads when featured on holiday menus. These fish are prominent in the best white tablecloth restaurants around the world and if you want to offer them as specials during the holidays, you need to order them ahead. It often takes at least a week to arrange for these European favorites to be delivered stateside, so plan accordingly.
The same can be said of specialty Oysters and other Bi-Valves, Smoked and Cured Seafood, and Sushi and Sashimi fish. Demand usually multiplies for these items in December, so look ahead to stay ahead.
If the good weather keeps up, you can expect East Coast fish to be a good option. Monkfish, Fluke, Skate, Bass, and Cod are all in good standing. If the wind is low enough for the smaller vessels to get out, you can expect specialty items like Whelks, Live Scallops, Bay Scallops, and Urchin to be in the market. Eel, Green and Conger – which are traditional favorites - are currently being offered out of the Mid-Atlantic.
Want a beautiful Halibut in the middle of winter? Try Farm Raised Halibut from the pristine Fjords of Norway. These fish arrive still in rigor and plump with fatty white meat. It takes five years for the fish to reach the 10-20 lb size and the result is a high quality, delicious option.
It is shaping up to be a costly holiday when it comes to Lobster. Prices are edging up as the Canadian landings are down 50% from historical averages and high winds are preventing some boats from going out. With an ever-increasing demand, we could see the market rise a couple of times before the holiday season ends. Currently, the larger sizes seem to be the most affected.
Grouper, Snapper, and Tilefish continue to arrive in droves. This is great, though there is some worry about what quota will be left for the end of the year. Order your Gulf Species early as we get to the end of the month, because, as you know, being out of everybody’s favorite fish will get you on the naughty list!
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is never more apparent than the phrenetic pace in which shoppers traverse the aisles of their favorite store. Energy exerted, calories lost, and stomach grumblings. After a full-day of this “retail rush,” who wants to spend more time preparing a meal when you can have the convenience and wholesomeness of a microwave-safe bag of plant protein…
Enter Fillo’s Sofrito Beans.
What’s exactly a “sofrito” you ask? Well a sofrito is an aromatic blend of herbs, spices, and vegetables (typically peppers and onions) slow-cooked down to a concentrated base to richen beans, soups, stews, etc. These Hispanic-inspired sofritos are exactly what Fillo’s adds to give their beans (or legumes) a depth of flavor that your regular supermarket can of beans could only hope to attain.
Started in Geneva, Illinois, by brothers Daniel and Antonio Caballero, they wanted to bring clean, non-GMO, US-sourced beans to the marketplace, with an attention to quality and convenience. They have six unique flavors (Cuban Black Beans, Panamanian Garbanzo Beans, Mexican Mayocoba Beans, Puerto Rican Pink Beans, Peruvian Lentils, and Tex-Mex Pinto Beans) that are all 100% natural, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan certified, with no preservatives to speak of. Whether you want their 10oz retail bag or the 4lb foodservice option (heavy duty plastic pouch), both just need to be heated through and they’re ready to go.
Add rice for a nice dinner option, add fresh diced avocados if you’re looking for a fresh summer option, or simply dive in with some tortilla chips, the combinations are endless. So the next time you’re feeling exhausted from a long day of shopping, keep in mind the colorful labels of Fillo’s Sofrito Beans, they’ll surely have the convenience and flavor to welcome any palette.