A couple of nights ago, I finally made time to attend an event to benefit an amazing family who happen to be going through a very rough time. Amanda Wray waits tables with me at Joe’s Inn and in my six years of working there we have had a hilarious time making fun of each other and joking around in order to keep ourselves sane at work. In the time I’ve known her she’s been married to a great guy, Dustin, and has had two little boys; Lazer and Zory. As a child, her husband Dustin battled cancer and while the battle has abated at different times, it is not over yet. He was recently diagnosed with cancer again after the doctors found five tumors spread throughout his body. While things are serious, we are all rooting for him and their family and I know that Amanda is working hard to keep her family's spirit’s up.
There have already been a number of great restaurants that have offered to hold “Wray Nights” where they donate a percentage of their profits to the family and where friends can come and show their support. I, unfortunately, have been unable to attend any of the fundraisers, with the exception of the one held at Joe’s Inn where I made some sad looking cupcakes for a bake sale out front. When I saw that the next fundraiser was being held at Pescado’s, a restaurant whose reputation precedes it (in a good way), I knew that this would be the perfect time for me to show my support and hog out all at the same time.
Apparently there are two Pescado’s locations. One is far far away (from me) and one is slightly closer in Oregon Hill on the corner of China and Pine streets. This location just opened during the summer, responding to the popularity of their other location in Midlothian…wherever that is. After perusing their menu online in order to prepare myself for the meal, I was even more undecided about what to order. I had a couple of options in mind, but I knew that it would all be contingent on what the rest of my table orders. I can’t very well order the same thing as everyone else. Where’s the variety in that?
After greeting all of my co-workers, friends, and other well wishers, anddd after having at least two glasses of wine, we all got seated and awaited a great feast. Apparently it was Happy Hour and wine was cheap, so we went a little nuts slurping down our drinks. After much discussion and deliberation, I was pleased to see that my evil plan had worked; everyone at the table was getting something different and everyone wanted appetizers and salads. We were in it for the long haul with this meal. I was willing to spend any amount of money. Not only was I hungry, but I knew that it was going toward a good cause. That’s enough to make any person drop some serious dimes.
As appetizers we got grilled calamari and conch fritters. The grilled calamari was my favorite, hands down. In my old age, I’ve learned to really appreciate un-fried calamari. I love the chewy, tough texture and the way it slides down my throat. I also love that it isn’t completely full of fat. Pescado’s calamari was no exception. The calamari was cooked perfectly and tossed with white beans, peppers, and diced chorizo. The best thing about the calamari was the occasional tentacle cluster that I was able to unearth from the large portion we were served.
The conch fritters were also delicious, but similar to most other conch fritters I’ve had. I know this because my best friend Daniel is obsessed with conch fritters and whenever we go anywhere that offers them, that’s what we’re getting. As long as a fritter is delectably fried and served with some sort of mayo-based sauce, I’m good.
Another appetizer worth mentioning is the Voodoo shrimp. I didn’t get it and neither did my table, but my friend Elizabeth at another table did and was generous enough to offer me a bite.
As the menu describes it, Voodoo shrimp is “wild-caught shrimp, allspice, rum, chorizo, torta round, banana, soft-fried egg, habanero.” It also advises on the menu, “very spicy.” That concerned me not one single bit. The spicier something is, the more I like it. I was confused though since the sauce seemed to be a sweet one and of course the sunny-side up egg and breading are neutral flavored. It turned out to be just as spicy as they’d warned, which surprised me and excited me. This was probably the most interesting flavor combo I had at Pescado’s. The shrimp was perfect and one of my favorite things in the world is chopping up a softly cooked egg over anything. The sweetness of the banana and the rum sauce were almost enough to overcome the habanero. They certainly gave the habanero a run for it’s money. When I return to Pescado’s I will definitely be ordering both the calamari and the voodoo shrimp. Yumm. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
As if the appetizers didn’t wet our whistles enough, we ordered a couple of salads for the table. We ordered the “Los Cabos,” a dinner-sized salad made with beautiful local field greens, goat cheese, pine nuts, red onions, avocado, mango, and mango dressing. It was fresh and flavorful. The dressing was a little sweet, but with a dash of salt, it was perfect. A healthy entree for anyone who doesn’t want to indulge themselves too hard. They also offer shrimp or chicken for their salads.
For dinner, everyone got something different. I won’t get into it all here, because some of it wasn’t what I wanted and some of it I didn’t even try. The first dish I tried, even before my own, was my friend Mari’s Enchilada Acapulco. It didn’t sound like my kind of thing when I read about it on the menu, mostly because I don’t care for enchiladas but this turned out to be a whole different enchilada. It is compromised of a Cabo crab cake, wild-caught shrimp, caramelized onion, flour tortilla, saffron potato cakes, grilled zucchini, and a lobster/lime cream sauce. Absolutely delicious. I was thoroughly happy with this and so was she. While I only had a bite, she ate the entire thing. For someone who I know is as picky as she is, I know this was a winner. So succulent and flavorful.
I was able to convince my friend Cynthia to go halfsies with me on a couple of meals. Even though I was desperate to try their fish tacos, I knew I needed to branch out more, especially since I just had fish tacos at Tarrant’s. She, luckily, was totally into the idea of going half and half and wanted just the other meal I wanted, scallops. I LOVE scallops. Whenever I see scallops on a menu, I want them. They will be mine. These scallops in particular were seared, served with green beans, a sweet potato puree and a pomegranate salsa. Another thing I always love, no matter what day or time is pomegranate. It symbolizes winter’s coming for me and I have great appreciation for the work it takes to break one of those babies open and free the seeds from their tiny chambers.
The scallops were freaking amazing, in case you had to ask. Just looking at that picture it’s clear that the scallops were fat beautiful beasts ripe for the picking. They were seasoned beautifully and just spicy enough to offset the sweet and savory taste of the sweet potato puree which was buttery and smooth. Double yum.
We also got fish tacos, which a. I was too full for and b. we let sit too long and got soggy. It was sad and I cried, but I was somehow able to move on. We also got dessert. They offered an avocado tart and guava cheesecake, both of which we got. They were so sweet and creative but I was unable to appreciate them due to my crazy full-ness and my preoccupation with drinking wine solely as dessert.
Oh yeah, give to the Wrays, if you can because they’re awesome and I love them. https://www.giveforward.com/supportthewrays