19 March 2010

Eurostar.com Humor

"We'll send you the same in a confirmation email shortly. We look forward to seeing you on board! Unless you have a photographic memory, you might want to print this page for your records."

04 March 2010

Fish Sold Easy

My earliest memories of shopping for fish are in Hong Kong when I was five years old. It was either going to Central to a fish monger who would pull out a swimming fish that my mother selected and proceed to chop off its head, remove its scales and gut the innards. It took seconds. The other was from a woman who would walk, from the port, with two baskets of fish strung over her shoulders up to Victoria Peak where we lived. After my mother's selection, she would squat on the doormat, lay down newspaper and proceed just as the fish monger did.

Today, I go to a fish shop or to Whole Foods Market where all of the seafood is displayed on ice, behind sparkling glass cases and with signage depicting its origin. In all of these cases, past and present, none go beyond the selling of seafood that da Claudio, Pescheria dei Milanesi, in Milan does.

It was 5:30p on a weekday, and like a beacon of safety, the bright lights of an impressive corner shop drew me closer. The clean and modern interior was brightly lit and staff, dressed in white uniforms, were busy behind the counters taking orders and clearing tables. Not that I had any intention of buying fish to eat in my hotel room, but I saw that I could eat then and there, standing at either a counter or table with bread baskets and condiments atop and a glass a champagne (or sparkling water) in hand.

In this recently new location, da Claudio not only sells all kinds of seafood with cases of swimming lobsters and other creatures of the sea, they also offer a taste of what they specialize in to accompany apperativi (evening cocktails). They serve all types of fish tartar, sashimi and shellfish, either natural (olive oil only) or marinated in a combination of olive oil, onions, garlic and greens. Platters can be ordered for entertaining at home as well. It was delicious and a feast for my palate. I grew up eating raw fish with soy sauce and rice, Japanese style. Here, I was eating raw fish with olive oil and bread. Standing. Buying time before dinner.

Da Claudio has seamlessly managed to connect the selling of seafood to the immediate enjoyment of it. Not to mention capturing a customer who may not necessarily cook fish. And, with some fun in doing so. So, if pounding the pavement in Milan gets you a little hungry and you're not keen on loading up on traditional, Italian carbohydrate apperativi snacks, da Claudio is the best option.

da Claudio, Pescheria dei Milanesi, Via Cusani, 1; Milan 20101; +39 (0)2 805 6857