Have you ever thought about becoming a pescaterian? Then you should get to know the Chicago Pescetarian, an amazing food blogger who is doing a lot to promote and educate her audience about not only the deliciousness of different types of seafood, but sustainability and the environmental aspects as well. And we fully support that! (as well as enjoying her amazing restaurant recommendations in the Chicagoland area and beyond).
So without further adieu, meet Pooja!
Why did you start your blog? When did you start and more importantly, why did you start and how did you get to where you are are today?
I launched Chicago’s first and only seafood blog in 2015, and I've been a pescetarian for 7 years now. I used to eat meat, and then I tried to be a vegetarian but missed fish too much, since I grew up on the coast in Mumbai and it was such a staple. Plus I didn’t want to just start a more typical food blog, and I saw the opening since there was no real seafood blog based in Chicago. And I wanted to draw attention to the amazing seafood that's being created in the Midwest!
Where would you recommend that we eat in Chicago?
If you're in Chicago or planning a trip, some of my favorite restaurants are Swift and Sons, Shaw's, Duck Duck Goat, Shanghai Terrace at the Peninsula, and Le Bouchon.
Who are some of your personal favorite chefs/cooks? How about bloggers? Who inspires you?
Chef Jean Joho from the Chicago restaurant Everest makes amazing French-Alsatian dishes, particular a phenomenal lobster dish. I studied French for many years, so I'm a Francophile! I also love Rick Bayless, since he took the time to actually get to know Mexican cuisine and even lived in the country for years. I'm also a big fan of Bill Kim from Urban Belly, he makes such imaginative cuisine and is the nicest guy.
What restaurants would you LOVE to eat at? They can be anywhere in the world.
Any location of David Chang's Momofuku restaurants, and Jiro for the most exceptional sushi experience ever in Japan.
Let's talk serious foodie aspirations. What’s your “last meal” dish? If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? And if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
My last meal would have to be a really elegant Bouillabaisse (French seafood stew). La Sardine in Chicago and Oceanique in Evanston make my favorite versions in the Chicagoland area - they use the saffron and the fennel really delicately. I grew up with Indian food, but if I had to stick to one cuisine I would have to say sushi since I can switch it up with nigiri, sashimi, different types of rolls, etc. I can eat sushi any time of day! And if I could go anywhere in the world? I would go to Japan to eat all the nigiri, then eat all the langoustine in Iceland, and then go anywhere in the world that serves good caviar.
Do you have a food motto that you live by? What is it?
I believe in the concept of “good food good mood”. You have to feel good about putting good food in your body! Food is such a big part of our lives. People connect about food and over food so much; what's more, bad food can ruin your day while good food can make your day. If your food is great, why not live to eat?
What’s the one piece of foodie advice you’d like to share with our audience?
Respect your ingredients and the ingredients will respect you! Also, price doesn’t always equal quality - there's a lots of great little fish and seafood shacks or little diners that people miss out on.
In addition, don’t necessarily think sustainable and organic and local are real qualitications with really doing your research. I did work with Shedd Aquarium here in Chicago and put out a list of reasonable seafood restaurants. Respect the ecosystem and environment!
What are your goals for your blog?
I'd love to write a book and have a travel show! I'd travel the world eating seafood and demystifying fish. I think a lot of people don’t venture into very far into the seafood realm cause they lack the knowledge or understanding of the various options. I also want my blog to be a platform for chefs!
But what I want to do is to help people start eating more environmentally friendly seafood. I want to contribute a lot more to the Ocean To Table movement doing things like promoting sustainable fishing methods and showing people how to shop for and buy fish and even showing how you can buy from local fisherman and fisheries like shares like CSA veggie boxes.
What’s your day job/what do you do in addition to blogging?
I'm a real estate broker with Weichert Realtors First For Chicago and the owner of a professional organization company called Organizing With You, Inc.