Bacon of the sea

I’ve always liked smoked salmon, but did you ever notice that when you buy it as a fillet, the flakiness can be annoying when trying to eat it as a snack?

I know I’m picking nit here, but I like to eat smoked salmon with crackers, sometimes with cheese and sometimes solo. And a smoked salmon fillet will flake all over the place when you’re trying to slice off a piece to place on top of a cracker. Delicious, yes, but also somewhat distracting. Or maybe my knives just aren’t sharp enough.

Anyway, not long ago, my girlfriend, Cynthia, picked up some pre-sliced smoked salmon at Costco just to give it a try, and it’s changed my world. I never bothered to buy it pre-sliced before because I always felt the value wasn’t there — thanks to Cynthia, I now understand the value.

She bought a package of salmon packaged by the Norwegian company Foppen, with one of those shiny, gold trays, which came with three rows of salmon slices: One was unseasoned, while the other two were seasoned with black pepper and dill, respectively.

Of course, I expected the familiar, mild smokiness combined with the signature salmon flavor, but what I didn’t fully expect was that the fish would have a mouthfeel that was absolutely creamy. And while the flavored salmon did offer up slight accents of pepper and dill, it wasn’t enough to get in the way of what I craved. (The serve-ready gold tray also comes with a packet of honey mustard dill sauce, but why mess with perfection?)

So refined am I that I usually simply eat the stuff on Club crackers. Sure, the square slices are shaped just like a traditional saltine, but if you’re eating smoked salmon, why not live a little? Pair it with smoked Gouda, cream cheese or blue cheese, with pickles, or some salty snack you might favor. Enjoying it with a chardonnay or sauvignon blanc isn’t the worst idea, either.

The party tray can also do what a salmon fillet can do, only easier; you can add it to a salad, put it into wraps or pinwheels, and I hear it’s even good with eggs. (That’s one I haven’t tried yet, but perhaps I will.)

All of those options, and more, are tasty because, hey, it’s smoked salmon. It’s the bacon of the sea. I like it for snacking so much that I sometimes call it couch sushi — I don’t even mind that my fingers end up smelling like somebody set fire to the ocean. Heck, I eat so much of it that my Omega 3s are through the roof.

You can get this Foppen salmon tray at Kroger, and it’s only about 10 bucks —– reasonable enough that sometimes I buy three or four at a time.

And now I almost regret having written this, because I’ve given away a secret I should probably have kept. Just save me one, please?

Speaking of fish …

BARcode1758, the little sushi-and-skewers place across Frankfort Avenue from Silver Dollar, has revised its happy-hour game. Previously, it had offered a selection of appetizers for discounted prices, not to mention drink specials; I especially enjoyed the fried oysters.

But owner Song Kim made a switch recently that is worth checking out, and it offers some good deals on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 4-6:30 p.m., rather than getting discounts on select menu items, you get 25 percent off the entire menu. That’s sushi, noodles, skewers, appetizers — whatever you’re craving.

I ate there the other day, and they even itemized my bill to show me what I saved on each individual item. I found myself saying things like, “I got a $6.95 spicy tuna roll and it only cost me $5.21!” (Hmm, I wonder if the Internal Revenue Service makes them itemize the receipt that way?)

Anyway, I had a tasty dinner of maki and nigiri, and the discount essentially made my nigiri salmon free. In addition, during happy hour on Tuesday and Thursday, all draft beers are $3, and domestic bottles are $1.50. And all day both of those days, domestics are $2, a small hot sake is just $2, and it’s just $5 for Old Forester or Jim Beam cocktails.

On Wednesday, the deal is a bit different — when you dine in and buy any sushi roll at full price, you get another roll of equal, or lesser value, for just a buck. That’s nearly as good as two-for-one, kids, and let’s face it: sushi isn’t cheap.

On Thursday, there is also the option of $19 bottles of selected wine, so if you’re looking for something to do on date night, BARcode1758 might just fill the bill. Or you can just stay home and enjoy the couch sushi. Your call.