On the evening of Sunday, May 2, environmentalists and food lovers alike schmoozed their way through the Ty Warner Sea Center for its annual Sustainable Seafood event. Local restaurants, private fishermen, and private chefs mingled with guests while serving appetizers and entrées created with sustainable seafood, and local wineries also participated by serving wines that go best with a seafood pallet.
While tasting seafood delicacies such as abalone, oysters, seafood pâté, and sea urchin mousse, guests enjoyed the beautiful views from the panoramic windows on the top floor of the sea center. A tide pool simulation tank wound throughout the center, producing machine propelled waves every 3-4 minutes. Guests also perused the shark exhibit, viewing dangling mermaid’s purses and reading about the Abalone Sabellid Worm study as they sipped on Oreana Winery’s 2007 Verdhlo.
State and A Grill served a fresh, local halibut ceviche and Seared Ahi Wasabi. According to manager Whitney Lynd, the halibut is caught with hooks lining the sea bottom which will not disturb the environment. Owner Gary Lynd said that the purchasing of sustainable seafood guarantees the reception of a good quality product.
Although the Sea Center is usually a more kid friendly zone, Director at the Sea Center Emily Hendrickson noted that this event allowed adults the opportunity to enjoy the sea center after hours.
“We all have a choice to sustain a healthy ocean and healthy coastal lifestyle. The purpose of this event is to show that there are great sustainable seafood options that are absolutely delicious,” said Hendrickson.
The Arts and Letters Café served a loaf of seafood liver pâté. Newly appointed Chef Cosmo Goss said that the restaurant chose to showcase livers because they are not necessarily known as a delicacy, yet they are in actuality quite tasty.
Michael’s Catering provided a live cooking demonstration of Cultured Abalone with Butter Sauce by Chef Michael Hutchings. According to Hutchings, legal abalone is no more that four inches long.
The UCSB Dining Services also made an appearance, serving albacore provencal and tuna on poached artichoke, all prepared by assistant chef Jaime Herrera.
“Using sustainable seafood makes sense. The only negative impact is the cost,” said Herrera.
“The goal of the UCSB Dining Services is to become 100 percent sustainable,” said assistant director Bonnie Crouse. “We started out the year at 20 percent sustainable, and have now worked our way up to 60 percent.”
Buttonwood farms served their Sauvignon Blanc, entitled “Zingy,” a creamy, rich wine, placed conveniently next to Bernard Freedman’s oyster table, a 2007 Devin (great with abalone), and a spicy 2007 Syrah (great with crawfish).
“We were green before green was a buzzword,” said winemaker Karen Steinwachs. “I hope everyone is 100 percent committed and not just doing it for the marketing.”