With three Nor’easters in the books and rumblings of yet another snow storm on the way, summer seems so far away, but Memorial Day will be here before we know it. We got some expert seafood shopping and cooking tips from Executive Chef Josh Sauer of Avenue, the oceanfront brasserie in Long Branch NJ that’s also home to a seasonal beach club, Le Club.

Here’s his advice about what to look for when buying fresh fish, how to correct the common mistakes folks make when cooking fish at home and his guide to preparing the ultimate summer seafood delicacy, the lobster roll:

Shopping: Josh recommends buying fish whole from a reputable source aka a fishmonger whose shop is busy and/or has a known reputation. Look for fish whose eyes are clear (not milky or cloudy) with gills that are red, never brown. Touch the skin—it should bounce back and the scales should be intact without flaking off. And the smell should slightly sweet and briny (almost like that of a cucumber) but not stereotypically fishy.

Cooking: Josh says “the two biggest mistakes people make when cooking fish is not drying the meat and not heating up the pan enough. Make sure your fish is dry by patting it down with a paper towel so when you pan-sear or grill it on high heat, you get a really nice, crisp sear.”

The Perfect Lobster Roll: “Pick out a lobster that’s 1-1.5 pounds. If a lobster is too large, two pounds or more, the meat is tougher. Cook the lobster whole and for the lobster roll, use all the meat—claw, tail and knuckle. At Avenue we make a spicy mayo dressing with harissa, a touch of espelette pepper and lemon juice. Lightly toss the lobster meat in a spicy mayo, serve in a brioche roll with arugula on the bottom.”

Gain insight from a professional who increased room block bookings by 30 percent over three years. 


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If you attended the Emerald City Applause Awards on March 22, you were treated to a wonderful tribute to the meetings industry by the outrageously talented Melissa Jurcan, president of ILEA Seattle. If you didn’t, don’t worries—here are Melissa’s inspiring, entertaining and spot-on words of wisdom:
I am excited to have the opportunity for our chapter to bring our industry together tonight.