Embracing a seafood lover’s economical choice

It’s not ordinary tuna

In economically challenging times, dining out can be a difficult proposition; budgets are tight and compromises must be made.

But for foodies, a trying economy can add an element of fun to dining because it forces one to search for those hidden gems we might otherwise overlook. One can easily point to an establishment like Vietnam Kitchen as a delicious and affordable option, but that story has been told.

So imagine my surprise and joy when I recently stumbled into My Kitchen and discovered
a number of forgotten culinary delights. It was two days before payday, I was hungry, and while I live just footsteps from delicious options like Maido Essential Japanese Cuisine and the Grape Leaf, they weren’t really options for me at this particular time.

While perusing the “menu” of available options in My Kitchen cabinet, I scanned a number of options such as Glory-brand Southern Style Collard Greens — vegetarian fare that, when seasoned with a peppercorn medley and malt vinegar, could please nearly any palette hoping for a home-style, comfort-food experience. Unfortunately, the expiration date on the can was 2008, which prompted me to discard that option.

Next, I stumbled upon an Austrian-German appetizer called Vienna Sausage, which consisted of six tender, juicy, meat-based links packed in a clear, unidentified “sauce” and bursting with exotic ingredients and spices, including mustard. I considered this option momentarily, only then realizing that

there were no saltines in the house, prompting me to look elsewhere on the menu.

This is when I came across Chicken of the Sea Chunk White Albacore Tuna. Served in 5-ounce portions, this light lunch option has been hailed as a mainstay for many years as possessing great flavor, texture and appearance — even the brand’s website notes “our albacore tuna comes from around the world.” I had stumbled upon a seafood connoisseur’s heaven on a budget.

When opening the can of this light, oceanic fare, I couldn’t help but notice a robust aroma emanating from the tender, pinkish meat. Fresh spring water in which the fish is packed pools and glistens when served in a bowl, adding to the presentation of the dish.

After adding salt as the only garnish (the salad dressing in the fridge was spoiled), I chose as a side item a Mexican delicacy called Nacho Cheese Flavored Doritos, along with a few chilled Manzanilla olives, brine-cured and stuffed with pimentos.

Surprisingly, the bold (and that’s putting it mildly) flavor of the tuna meshed well with the crunchy, fried tortilla crisps and the artificial cheese flavor upon them, creating a unique dining experience that was quick, easy and light, yet also zesty and satisfying.

Due to my financial means at the time, the meal was especially satisfying because I had bought the tuna at a rate of four cans for $5, thanks to a weekly special at my grocer of choice. Plus, my family-size bag of Doritos (just $2.89 on sale) was still halfway full when I was finished dining.

Rating: 81