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MG Rabon


Apr 8, 2005, 2:35 PM

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Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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The new mozzo today want me to try a dish he had prepared for me. He said it was caracol which didn't ring a bell to me, when I asked what it was he pointed to the water and then made like he was blowing a conch shell. I though OK I ate plenty of conch in the Bahamas, so sure. I usually try whatever they give me, so what I got was 2" long pieces of meat that from the consistency I have to say I think were raw, swimming in (like everything else) chili powder and lime juice. Pretty tasty and a really good test of my recent dental work.

Now I look up the word caracol and it says snails...Perhaps it also means conch?

I'm ok with raw conch as it is from the sea (if that is what it was) but not so sure I'm ok with raw snails.

Anyone here able to help with a translation, or is familiar with this dish?

Hasta,

Compórtate bien, y si no puedes, invítame!
MG Rabon



esperanza

Apr 8, 2005, 3:09 PM

Post #2 of 22 (3226 views)

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Re: [MG Rabon] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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Generally speaking, when you're served caracol it's conch--not snails. It might well have been cut into strips and then pounded to tenderize it a bit (although maybe not enough, based on your denture test description).

One of the most famous dishes of Nicaragua is sopa de caracol--conch soup, prepared with coconut milk. It is absolutely delicious.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Bubba

Apr 8, 2005, 4:43 PM

Post #3 of 22 (3219 views)

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Re: [MG Rabon] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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MG:

You were definitely eating conch and the same conch you ate in the Bahamas. It is called caracol in Mexico and might be described as sea snail but if that bothers you call it something else. It must be pounded to be eaten as is true of abalone and some giant clams in the northwest. Typically, therfore, it is served as a pounded strip of "steak" or it might also be served minced and fried. I love conch and have never seen them on a menu in Western Mexico. When I am on or near Caribbean Mexico, I eat this wonderful shellfish every chance I get.

I am encouraged that you got them in Acapulco. Maybe I haven't seen them on menus in Jalisco because the dish is not popular. It's a bit of work to make it at home.

Interestingly, Mexicans eat very little seafood and then mostly shellfish - specifically shrimp. The per capita consumption of fish (vs. shellfish) is very low in this country in comparison to elsewhere in North America. Along the Gulf from Veracruz to Merida, they cook wonderful fish dishes but the way most restaurant chefs cook fish in Jalisco, they may as well use surimi.


sfmacaws


Apr 9, 2005, 12:19 AM

Post #4 of 22 (3202 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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Interestingly, Mexicans eat very little seafood and then mostly shellfish - specifically shrimp. The per capita consumption of fish (vs. shellfish) is very low in this country in comparison to elsewhere in North America.


That surprises me. I'm always amazed and appalled at the number of sea food restaurants and fondas all over MX, along the highways hundreds of km from the sea and in small towns with marginal electricity. They all seem to be doing a booming business from the cars in front and people sitting outside. I thought that almost every mexican family went somewhere for seafood on sunday. I would have bet that mexicans ate a much larger amount of both fish and shellfish than other NA's. Where did you get this info? If you don't count frozen fish sticks or tuna, I'd bet that there are huge areas of the US where folks rarely eat fish or shellfish. Maybe that's it .... they ARE counting tuna and fish sticks.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




Rolly


Apr 9, 2005, 7:34 AM

Post #5 of 22 (3192 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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"Where did you get this info?" I wondered that same thing. My grocery store in Lerdo, in the middle of the desert, far from the coast, has a larger fish department than my store in Los Angeles. We also seem have more fish restaurants per capita than LA, excluding sushi bars

Rolly Pirate


jennifer rose

Apr 9, 2005, 10:00 AM

Post #6 of 22 (3181 views)

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Something's Fishy

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"Seafood Sunday" makes for good popular literature, but it's not the reality.

Practically every super like Comercial Mexicana, Walmart, or Gigante has as great fish department, which means that someone's buying the fish. It's rarely there just for decoration. Even the street market always has mojarra. But the reality is that fish is definitely the high-priced spread, more costly than most cuts of beef and all of chicken. And shrimp? It's the most costly of all, at least around these parts, and I see far more fins-and-scales sold than shellfish any day of the week.


MG Rabon


Apr 9, 2005, 10:29 AM

Post #7 of 22 (3177 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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Large areas of the US seem to consume almost NO seafood, people in some parts don't even seem to know what seafood is. Mexico in contrast (at least in these parts), has seafood everywhere - even when you encounter Mexican migrant workers in the US at the market, look in their cart and I bet you will find large cans of tuna. It appears to me that they eat more seafood here than they do in Florida where I'm from, the abundance and variety is staggering. They also seem to eat more mollusks, especially cephalopods, than anywhere else I've ever been - maybe the Japaneese eat more but I doubt it.

The new mozzo had been instructed by the domo to purchase oysters, scallops, and clams, from the divers when they harvest them in front of the house (those I trust), I guess yesterday they had conch. I'm glad he bought it, maybe next time I will get to make fritters or chowder out of some.

Yum!

Compórtate bien, y si no puedes, invítame!
MG Rabon


Bubba

Apr 9, 2005, 11:20 AM

Post #8 of 22 (3170 views)

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Re: [MG Rabon] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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The statistic that I was referring to appeared in an article in the Guadalajara daily MURAL on March 22, 2005 entitled "Mexicans Reduce Their Fish Purchases". In that article, the paper stated that per capita consumption of fish products has declined by 26% over the past four years and, in 2005 stands at 13.5 pounds per capita. Simultaneously, Mexicans have greatly increased the percentage of imported fish that constitute their gross annual fish consumption of 13.5 pounds per capita.

This article gives no information on U.S. fish per capita consumption but the internet informs that, in 2002, per capita fish consumption in the U.S. was 15.6 pounds which, according to the internet source, makes the U.S. the third largest consumer of fish products in the world.

In Mexico, by far the largest fish product consumed is shrimp.

In both the United States and Mexico, consumption of fish products has been declining somewhat steeply.

Now, there you are. At this moment, you are probably asking yourselves why, if per capital fish consumption is 15.6% higher in the United States than in Mexico, the carreteras of Mexico seem to be choc-a-bloc with mariscos stands which are only outnumbered by Llantas repair shacks. The answer is simple. The marisco outlets are not actually selling fish products but nutria imported from Louisiana and marketed as surimi with seafood essences. Yum!


(This post was edited by Bubba on Apr 9, 2005, 11:23 AM)


sfmacaws


Apr 9, 2005, 11:35 AM

Post #9 of 22 (3165 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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They definitely have to be counting frozen fish sticks, tuna sandwiches and monthly trips to Long John Silver... there just aren't enough cars in the Red Lobster parking lot to account for the US stat.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




MG Rabon


Apr 9, 2005, 11:45 AM

Post #10 of 22 (3164 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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I've seen surimi made at a plant in Bellingham Washington (which I won't eat), and I've eaten nutria (dad was cajun) which is an aquatic rodent, I can't see a connection between those.

I haven't seen surimi at any of the seafood places here but I did see some of it in bulk at Sam's from that same plant in Washington. Here the mariscos stands have huge piles of octopi and other cephlapods, whole fish, shrimp, and various mollusks in their shells - I don't think any of that is secretly disguised surimi. That must be an inland thing.

Fresh fish, by the way, is cheaper in the stores here than either chicken or beef, shrimp and shellfish are about the same price as chicken or beef. If you buy it off the boat as we do the price is but a fraction of that.

Compórtate bien, y si no puedes, invítame!
MG Rabon


Ed and Fran

Apr 9, 2005, 11:57 AM

Post #11 of 22 (3161 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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Interestingly, Mexicans eat very little seafood and then mostly shellfish - specifically shrimp. The per capita consumption of fish (vs. shellfish) is very low in this country in comparison to elsewhere in North America.

Doesn´t surprise me at all. Fran and family are from a small ranchito just inland from Tuxpan, located on the Rio Tuxpan, and growing up they virtually never ate fish. I don´t think they were very different from the average family in that village. Actually, I don´t think they had a chance to eat a lot of meat either, but that´s another story.

We, and they, now eat fish regularly (maybe twice a week, not counting shrimp) but that´s just since Fran and I have come to live permanently with the in-laws. There are even a couple of fresh fish delivery trucks that come thrugh our colonia during the week. I´m sure they didn´t have access to that particular advantage back in San Miguel.

The old mercado in town has a decent size fish section, but much smaller than the sections selling pollo/carne de puerco/carne de res. And we´re a port on the Gulf. The new Chedraui has a decent fish section also. What I have seen a lot of, as mentioned by others, are small stands selling cocktails of shrimp, oysters, conch, vuelve a la vida, etc. That´s certainly what comes to my F-I-L´s mind if I mention ´seafood´ to him.


Wow, agreeing with Bubba twice in one week. The end of the world must be close.

Regards

E&F


Ed and Fran

Apr 9, 2005, 12:06 PM

Post #12 of 22 (3160 views)

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Re: [MG Rabon] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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Fresh fish, by the way, is cheaper in the stores here than either chicken or beef, shrimp and shellfish are about the same price as chicken or beef. If you buy it off the boat as we do the price is but a fraction of that.


Here on the other side of the country it depends a lot on what fish you are buying. There are some less popular species that can be had for $10-20/kg. Medium popularity fish run close to meat/poultry prices at $30-50/kg. Popular ones like huachinango or robalo can run easily $60-90/kg, quite a bit more than meat. (note: prices are approx but I´ll pay more attention next week when we head for the market.)

Shrimp run probably $70-80/kg for small sized ones, to $120/kg for large shrimp, head-on.

Prices may be 10-20% less if you get it at the fishing co-op.

The average joe here, if he wants the taste of shrimp, buys the dried shrimp and makes a caldo out of it.



Regards

Ed




jennifer rose

Apr 9, 2005, 12:33 PM

Post #13 of 22 (3156 views)

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The price of shrimp.....

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For a rundown of prices of fish and other products, see http://www.profeco.gob.mx/html/precios/quienesquien.htm


MG Rabon


Apr 9, 2005, 1:36 PM

Post #14 of 22 (3146 views)

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Re: [Ed and Fran] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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Fresh fish, by the way, is cheaper in the stores here than either chicken or beef, shrimp and shellfish are about the same price as chicken or beef. If you buy it off the boat as we do the price is but a fraction of that.



That should read 'than either chicken or beef that I would actually buy'. I have no idea what the lower end beef and poultry costs, and I buy all my seafood off these boats at wholesale. Sorry for misleading comments.

Hasta,

Compórtate bien, y si no puedes, invítame!
MG Rabon


Bubba

Apr 9, 2005, 3:31 PM

Post #15 of 22 (3140 views)

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Re: [MG Rabon] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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MG:

The nutria/surimi comment was one of my lame jokes. I am surprised that anyone reading these posts knows what nutria is but now that you admit to your cajun background I understand. What I was inferring was that much of what passes for seafood in restaurants in Mexico is actually processed mystery meat. That is also a joke; not particularly funny but also not far off the mark. I have eaten great fish dishes down here in Mexico, particularly on the Gulf but also in Oaxaca where the Casa Oaxaca Restaurant serves up wonderful fish dishes. However, many roadside fish restaurants here ruin any delicate fish with old, rancid oil or ingredients that overwhelm the flavor of the fish. After a couple of bad experiences I simply will not order fried fish here again.

After watching the fun food show, "Ruta del Sabor" on Canal Once a few months ago, I remarked to my Spanish teacher that I was amazed to see the famous campestre restaurants of Valle de Bravo destroying the delicate flavor of their wonderful local trout with all sorts or overpowering ingredients such as various peppers, tomatoes and so forth. Her comment was that Mexicans really don't like fish but eat it as a base upon which to make their rather soupy concoctions specifically designed to hide the fish flavor. Then on a later trip to the Caribbean in Quintana Roo, when I asked locals where I could buy fresh fish you'd have thought we were going to BBQ a cat. Several locals among the indigenous people told us independently that they never ate fish. Maybe they were shining us on but we never did find fresh fish we would dare to eat in Tulum. (SFMacaws is sure to attack me for that one).

As for the ways fish is delivered to the consumer in the United States, of the 15.6 pounds per capital consumed in 2002, 10.3 pounds were fresh or frozen (Mrs. Pauls?), 4.2 pounds were canned and 0.3 pounds were cured.

Now, I have an answer for all you doubters who question Bubba's statistics. The reason you don't think Americans eat a lot of fish is because none of you is from Mississippi where scum sucking, deep fried, greasy, heart stopping catfish is served up on every corner in every hick town from Memphis to Biloxi. And, no self-respecting Mississippian would eat fried catfish without abundant deep fried hush puppies and french fries, a half gallon of tartar sauce, mayo laden cole slaw, sweet tea with enough sugar to kill an elephant and 'nanner puddin' for dessert. If you are wondering why Mississippi and Memphis are the fattest state and city in the nation respectively, there is a clue but only when you realize that that was "dinner" which repast will be followed by BBQ ribs with Wonder Bread, Bud Light and more cole slaw for "supper" a few hours later.

(NOTE: For those of you out there passing through the Magnolia State on your way to a good time in New Orleans, if you want to pass as local (a good idea) do not, I repeat, do not eat catfish or ribs with a fork and knife and be sure to lick your fingers after every bite and go , :"Uuummmm, Ummmmm, that sho' is good.")


MG Rabon


Apr 9, 2005, 5:42 PM

Post #16 of 22 (3128 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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Much of that 'catfish' in Mississippi is secretly Basa fish from China these days, especially on the buffets at the casinos along the Gulf Coast, were they don't have to call it catfish (which they aren't supposed to do) but just let people assume it is. Myself I actually prefer the Basa to farm raised catfish, being rased in cages in a river they have more of a wild taste and aren't as mushy.

I'm not so sure that freshwater fish counts as seafood but I guess it is fish.

I just got back from Carrefour where I had to run in quickly for some ground chuck. While Carrefour isn't known for cheap seafood OR cheap meat I did do a quick glance at the prices. My ground chuck was $66.50mxp per kilo, octopus and squid were $7.50 and $9.00, shrimp with heads were $30.00 per kilo, whole fish started at $15.00 a kilo and ran to about $43.00, filets started at about $35.00 and ran to almost $100.00. Hardly scientific as I didn't compare to the 'unmentionable' meat cuts, and it was only one store, but seafood still looks cheaper to me.

Hasta,

Compórtate bien, y si no puedes, invítame!
MG Rabon


sfmacaws


Apr 9, 2005, 11:59 PM

Post #17 of 22 (3111 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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You're right Bubba that the Maya don't usually eat fish. They are pretty conservative eaters from my experience, if it's not what they ate as a kid they don't eat it. I do think you can get good fish in Tulum but you have to get it in a tourist oriented restaurant. We had friends staying in their RVs at a beach in Tulum owned by the fisherman's collective and we got some good fish from them when they came in with their catch. Most of it goes to tourist restuarants in Playa, Cancun and ... Tulum. Some of it even goes to Akumal.


Quote
(SFMacaws is sure to attack me for that one)


Nah! You're my favorite liberal Alabama boy with an SF crust.. plus, I wouldn't want to screw up my chances of another exquisite meal at Casa Bubba.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




Bubba

Apr 10, 2005, 9:04 AM

Post #18 of 22 (3096 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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You are on, Jonna. Ain't gone be no catfish (whatever you call it from Mississippi or China), squirrel or possum on the menu that day.

So, the Mayans were not shining me on. I swear, when I asked them where I could get good fish you'd a thought I was looking for day old road kill.

On the other hand, elsewhere on the Yucatan Peninsula, notably, Merida, Celestun and Campeche, we had some pretty good seafood to go with the XX Lager. We would also recommend the seafood in Xalapa and Veracruz farther up the coast.

MG, you are right about the method of raising fish in rivers as in China being superior to the Mississippi Mudpond method. Some of the very best seafood I ever had and way beyond one's wildest dreams in Mexico, was in a seafood place on the Atlantic coast of France where the fish and shellfish were both caught and grown in bins beneath the restaurant immersed in the cold open Atlantic. As is typical of France, the preparation was simple and unbelievably fresh. The fish and shellfish were simply poached and served with a freshly made mayonnaise. It tasted of the essence of the sea rather than the essence of the scum sucking mud bottom.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Apr 10, 2005, 9:06 AM)


Carol Schmidt


Apr 10, 2005, 2:59 PM

Post #19 of 22 (3076 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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I beg your pardon, Bubba, Michigan has been known to top the country as the fattest population, and not coincidentally we're the only state in the U.S. which has a state law against discrimination against fat people.

And we grew up on tons of fish freshly-caught in our 10,000 lakes--I know, Minnesota has on its license plates that it's the land of 10,000 lakes, but Michigan has at least that, plus we're surrounded by the Great Lakes on all four sides (east and west coasts of the lower peninsula, north and south coasts of the upper peninsula).

I have a photograph of me with my first caught fish (a baby bluegill) at around age 3, and the only time you were absolutely sure to have your photo taken for the album was when you caught a fish. So I have stacks of faded photos of me at all ages with perch, sunfish, bass, rock bass, crappies, lake trout, whitefish, pickerel, walleye, catfish, a huge (inedible) dogfish and carp, and even northern pike. Never did catch a muskie, though that was a dream (my Dad's, too).

We fried them all.

Only when I hit LA did I learn you could bake, poach, steam and stuff fish with actual herbs and seasonings. And fish could go into tacos, or under pico de gallo and every kind of sauce. Don't even mention my ecstasy when I hit New Orleans.

Many restaurants in San Miguel serve fish in every cooking method, especially those places that cater to gringos. We buy red snapper whole and in fillets and fresh shrimp at stands at Tuesday Market, and plenty of Mexicans are lined up at the booths, too.

The first food I trusted to buy from a stand here was at Tuesday Market where I could see the cook take the small whole fish from ice, put into a wok of sizzling fat, take it out with tongs that had been submerged in that same boiling fat, and place it on a paper plate, so I could tell no germs could have survived that route. Delicious. It was mostly Mexicans who were buying that delicacy as well.

Oh, and Bubba, don't try to serve me no river rat fancied up with the name nutria as your mystery meat! I saw those 25-pound rats swimming in the bayous, lured to the tourist sightseeing boats with stale doughnuts tossed into the water by the Houma guides. Got pictures of them, too.

Hear tell somebody had the bright idea of cleansing the smelly Louisiana bayous by growing water hyacinths, which soon grew out of control and clogged the bayous.

So somebody had the even more brilliant idea of tossing in nutria to eat the hyacinths, only the nutria learned to prefer garbage and all those stale doughnuts.

So now you still have smelly bayous clogged with water hyacinths and overrun by fat river rats.

Doesn't matter, I love New Orleans, river rats and all.

Does anybody actually buy fur coats made of nutria skins? I hear some people try to sell them to the rich folks and say it's seal skin.

Carol Schmidt


jennifer rose

Apr 10, 2005, 3:29 PM

Post #20 of 22 (3072 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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Carol typeth "Does anybody actually buy fur coats made of nutria skins?"

Yes, of course. In fact, I have one. It wasn't particularly expensive, as far as furs go. Resembling sheared beaver, it doesn't come close to looking like seal.



Carron

Apr 10, 2005, 4:24 PM

Post #21 of 22 (3068 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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Likewise, Rolly. I was born and raised in New Orleans but in recent years I can't afford the ingredients for a black iron pot full of seafood gumbo. However. . . .

I too live on the edge of the desert in northern Mexico. This is a seafood loving town. Our local Soriana has a huge seafood department. I don't use it as much as I would like to because the lines of locals are always so long.

Around the corner from my house is a place that sells cocteles de mariscos mixta. We can't stay away and it seems neither can their other customers. Again, lines. We place our order and they fill cups with assorted seafoods stored on ice in Igloo chests and slosh with a tomato sauce and slices of avocado. Good eating!

There is also a seafood restaurant here, way away from the tourist strip, that serves a knockout buffet every Friday (with the usual long lines) and has a very nice assorted platter every day, changing with what is fresh and available.


(This post was edited by Carron on Apr 10, 2005, 4:31 PM)


jimindetroit

Apr 15, 2005, 12:17 PM

Post #22 of 22 (3033 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Caracol - Did I just eat snails?

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"don't try to serve me no river rat"

Carol, if you remember, those folks living south of Detroit along the river, in the region called Downriver were, and still are, called river rats. Could it be because one of Wyandotte's best restaurants serves muskrat on its menu once each year for a week after obtaining a waiver from the city council?
 
 
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