Number 174 in a Series

Ice. Is it safe? Can you drink the water? Are tortillas all the same? Is the shrimp I buy here any better than at the store at home? I had a conversation about a bunch of important stuff with Mike Nielson from Gilbert.

MIKE: People tell me to avoid drinks with ice. Is that a problem here?

CAP’N GREG: Actually, the problem is the people who tell you such things. Repeat business is the life blood of bars and restaurants. If they sold drinks or water that made you sick, they wouldn’t last very long. Commercial ice plants using purified water have supplied Peñasco fishermen and restaurants for decades. And many establishments have their own ice machines that use purified water. If you are still concerned, drink bottled water and bottled or canned beer and sodas. That will leave more drinks on the rocks for the rest of us.

MIKE: There must be dozens of tacos stands around town. Where do they get their tortillas?

CAP’N GREG: Years ago, people made their own. Many still do. But for a lot of folks, the labor involved makes buying the finished product more economical and convenient. There are many tortillerias that crank out tortillas of consistent size and shape by machine. The ones made by hand, which I prefer, are not perfectly shaped, but they are perfectly delicious when eaten hot off the grill or filled.

MIKE: The last day I am here, I usually buy five pounds of shrimp to take home. How do I know it will taste like fresh off the boat?

CAP’N GREG: You ever had shrimp fresh off the boat?

MIKE: Um, no.

CAP’N GREG: I have. Let me put this in perspective for you. Fifty-five percent of all shrimp sold in the world is farm raised. Shrimp that is harvested during the season here can’t all be immediately consumed, so it is frozen to preserve it. The shrimp you buy May thru August at the fish market or other places in town has also been frozen. Mike, I love shrimp, and I can’t tell much difference in the flavor between farm and sea, no matter how it is prepared. The thing about buying shrimp here, however, is it has been caught more recently, is typically less expensive, and during shrimping season it is way cool to think those tasty critters were crawling around the bottom of the Sea of Cortez only days ago. And that is as fresh as it gets. One other thing, while the big blue shrimp taste fine and look great on a platter, I prefer the smaller browns that I think are more tender.

MIKE: I appreciate the advice, Cap’n Greg. May I buy you a margarita?

CAP’N GREG: Gracias, Mike. With lots of ice, por favor.