I enjoy sea urchin any of 3 ways: 1) tossed with spaghetti & topped with bottarga, the way the awesome José Duarte used to serve it at my dear old Southern Italian–Peruvian haunt in Boston’s North End, Taranta; 2) tossed with ditalini & topped with bread crumbs, the way the awesome (since departed) David Nevins used to serve it at my dear old seafood haunt in Boston’s North End, Neptune Oyster; 3) toasted. Me, I mean—my stomach for stinking, shuddering blobs of hellfire-orange echinoderm expanding according to my liquor intake so that, say, the more sake I drink, the more uni maki seems to rock.

2145921299_5c0aa19bdbGrant

images stolen from this guy’s Flickr photostream & this blogger paying due homage to Hüsker Dü’s Grant Hart

Likewise, with every glass of wine poured during our 3-hour round of Thanksgiving*** hors d’oeuvres did every bite of pâté de erizo de mar purchased from the fine online Spanish market La Tienda taste less like the rotting maw of a terrible vivisected sea monster & more like the rich creamy jelly (de)composed of oceanic-cum-bodily fluids the promo copy claims it is, containing as well hake (a codlike whitefish), margarine, milk, eggs & salt. Still, automatically easier for me to swallow was the mellow pâté de bonito del norte studded with bits of red bell pepper.

Pates

Stiller still, funny how a table set with a gourmet spread & the kitchen floor where the cat’s bowls are can begin to blur—not least when the products lining the 1 are called Cata Gourmet & the other

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***At the table in Albuquerque with the Director & me: the 20-year divorcees that are my folks; their old friend the UNM Spanish lit professor and rumored former gulag prisoner from Kiev; my mother’s Mexican penpal since her teens, a recovering alcoholic up from the Yucatan Peninsula for no apparent reason with her constant (to insinuate) traveling companion, a raging alcoholic, both of whose grasp on spoken English is shakier than, say, that of a recovering alcoholic whose constant traveling companion through foreign lands is a raging alcoholic on sobriety; & my mother’s ever-intimidatingly quiet & wise-looking, polio-hobbled Tibetan Buddhist nun of a cousin in her orange robes. Couldn’t be truer.