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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Reel in some Reel Inn-sourced shrimp tacos

Damn it all.
I just got home from a grueling, hot and sweaty day at the Reel Inn, as I’m working the White Marlin Open again, but fret not. I love working this event, but it does wear heavy on my old and weary bones. I’m simply not the man I used to be.
I love working this singular week of mayhem, seeing old friends from as far away as Baltimore and Annapolis, such as the inimitable Sean Leahy and teachers and friends from down here, such as Chad, Misty et al, as well as the owners of the Reel Inn, Spunky and Angie. In reality I only see them once a year or so, so it’s always a great family reunion of sorts.
But this is not my dilemma. No, I’m upset that at the end of the day I jumped into the pool to bighead for my 11-year-old, who was quite happy to see me. You see, the deepest part of my pool in a meager four-feet deep. Yes, I decided for some unknown reason that a pencil dive was appropriate to show off for a kid who was spraying me with ice-cold water as we were simultaneously filling the pool while swimming late-night.
My left ankle reminded me in an instant that I was no force to reckon with a water-filled fiberglass cage buried in my back yard. The wince that ran across my face went unnoticed by my son, as I was underwater at the time, and all I could think was what it would do for the rest of the week of the Open.
And then I had a beer and figured that everything would be fine. This is a tough yet amazingly satisfying week for everyone involved, and I am certainly not going to let something this stupid from ruining it. In fact, if I look back on the career of burns, cuts, tweaks and twists that my body has endured, this is but a subtle nuance. At the absolute worst, I might need to get some of that cool sticky gauze bandage that they sell nowadays, but let’s stop right there. You’re not here to read about my idiotic moments of fleeting parenthood.
No, you want to know about food – and food is what I intend to give to you, if only in visual representation and a transitory summation of late-night nonsense.
While working this week, I reflected on the fish taco that we put on the menu when I worked there four years ago, accentuated with the omnipotent cabbage, which was Angie’s idea. It made sense, as many Latin cultures serve cabbage over lettuce since it won’t wilt as quickly in hot weather. I didn’t argue the point (my oversight was embarrassing, but she was absolutely correct) and it has stayed on the menu ever since.
And to me, since you can’t always have fish, why not go for shrimp? It’s a simple transition, and one that suits me just fine. Alas, I must bring up a sensitive issue, and that is the consuming argument of corn v. wheat tortillas.
As any of you who have been reading my column for the past 14 years will attest, I rather prefer corn tortillas. It’s just my thing as a former Marine who was stationed in San Diego for three-and-a-half years. I guess you could say that this is how I was built – or rather rebuilt after a lifetime on the east coast. It doesn’t take too many trips down to Baja to realize that corn is the end-all.
The Supreme Court case of Wheat v. Corn has been a difficult and strenuous one, and in hindsight I realize that I’m one of only a few people in our beautiful country that still actually cares about the issue. In fact, it kind of reminds me of Gary Larson and the DLDWWS, or “The Didn’t like Dances with Wolves Society,” one of his most famous single-frame cartoons from the 80’s.
Yes, there are approximately six of us from coast-to-coast who actually care about this. But, tortillas are tortillas, and corn is where I pledge my allegiance.
Regardless, I ate the shrimp tacos pictured. I reveled in their deliciousness and look forward to more. Beggars can’t be choosers, and no matter how you cut it these are some of the greatest tacos you’ll ever eat.
Reel Inn Shrimp Tacos
Per serving
6, 16/20 Peeled & Deveined Shrimp
3 Tortillas (corn is my preference)
Cabbage or slaw mix
Cheese, as you deem fit
Crema Fresca ( a little more tart than sour cream, but the latter will do in a pinch)
Your favorite salsa, as needed
Chipotle Mayo (Recipe Follows)

1. Sauté shrimp in garlic butter to boost it up a little bit, but don’t overcook
2. As shrimp near their ‘doneness’, grill the tortillas (or steam them or fry them if they are corn) and set aside until ready to serve
3. Once shrimp and tortillas are cooked, slap them all together, or serve them separate so that your guests can assemble them as needed. Everyone likes to build their own tacos, so give them space!
Chipotle Mayo (my recipe)
Makes about 2 cups
3 Tbsp. chipotle peppers in adobo
1 3/4 cups Mayo
juice of 1/2 lime
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until homogenous
2. Adjust seasoning and have at it