Carlo’s Fresh Salmon
I moved to the Bay Area at the tender age of 24, after living in Phoenix for a few years. At the same, Phoenix was loaded with mainly fast food, and strip mall restaurants. I thought an evening out that consisted of “great” food, meant a meal from a monster chain restaurant served that was served with a bottle of unnamed pink zinfandel. Then I moved to California, where I introduced to small, intimate restaurants that used the freshest ingredients available to them. At times, right in their backyards.
One of my first dining experiences in the Bay Area was at a small little mom and pop place in San Rafael, called Carlo’s. It was owned by a quirky Italian couple Carlo and Marie Avola. Carlo was the chef, and Marie, served her guests. The space was originally a gas station, turned into a small two room space. The inside was covered with dark wood paneling and had strings of colored lights hanging from the ceiling. It was casual but intimate. Each table had a white table cloth, with candles that were being held by old straw Chianti bottles; past evenings filled with it inmate conversations past, dripped down the bottles. Whether you had a table for two or four or six, it was still an evening to remember.
They would close the restaurant for three to six months a year, while they jaunted back over to Italy, to be with family, and to cook. Coming back with great new dishes to serve their family at home. The menu was small and changed occasionally. Sometimes Marie would just ask you what you liked to eat, and that is what you would get. To be honest, I only remember four dishes, a pot roast, salmon, a creamy pasta dish and an Italian dessert, called Frozen Surprise. Every dish was superb. The pot roast was so moist, that it would fall apart as soon as you put a fork into it. The salmon was poached so perfectly that it was like butter melting on your tongue. Carlo’s was such a special place it wasn’t like going to a restaurant, but instead it was like being at home with old friends.
** Unfortunately, you have to enjoy this special place by making this recipe at home. Carlo passed away in 1994, and his wife Marie sold the business shortly after.
Denise Woodward believes anything can be made at home as long as you have a little patience, and time. All of her recipes are made using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her recipes have been featured on Eat Boutique, the Mushroom Channel, Saveur.com, Foodies of the World, PBS and Fine Cooking.
Denise also creates the recipes on the popular food blog Chez Us. Saveur has featured Chez Us as one of 50 Food Blogs You Should Be Reading as well as one of the Sites They Love. Be sure to read more about what they are cooking up over at Chez Us.