Monday Munchies: Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

A tower fit for royalty. Photo by Jefferson VanBilliard

Evolution may still be a hotly contested idea depending on the person you’re talking to, but around the world we see examples of certain species adapting and evolving as we speak. The rock-climbing goby fish, which is native to the Hawaiian Islands, uses suckers in its mouth to literally scale entire waterfalls and swim upstream whenever it needs to make a quick run to the local grocery store. Bird feathers, once used for insulation during the Ice Age, have now been repurposed by Mother Nature to allow birds the gift of flight. And let’s not forget about the bed bugs that are currently running rampant through the streets of New York. Our efforts toward the destruction of these gawdawful pests have only allowed them to become stronger, about 250 times stronger according to researchers at the University of Massachusetts, which means that by the time millennials are settling into their midlife crises, we’ll be bowing to our six-legged overlords and remembering our current presidency as the “good ol’ days”.

If you ask me I think it’s kind of silly to think that evolution is a hoax, especially when you can see evidence of humans adapting and overcoming obstacles around them every single day. A friend of mine used to tell me all the time that I was entirely too eager to stay within my own comfort zone and that if I ever wanted to grow (evolve), I would need to take a cue from the common salmon. You see, like me, salmon spend most of their young lives in the quiet shallow rivers where they are safe until they head out into the ocean. Venturing into the unknown can be dangerous, especially when you have a 50-inch, high definition television back in your fish house with plenty of fish weed to smoke. But like the generations of salmon and people before you, to fully achieve adulthood and grow into a future tasty meal, you have to bust out of your comfort zone and start your long journey from the ocean to start swimming upstream! Sure, there are bears, aging Baby Boomer fisherman and global warming to worry about, but what’s life without a little adventure?

Last week I stepped out of my comfort zone and swam upstream to visit Maestro’s famous Ocean Club. Known for their extravagant plates and infamous wine selection, it was time for this goby to put on something nice and suck his way up the waterfall. After a painstakingly difficult drive through a section of the Pacific Coast Highway that always seems to move at a snail’s pace, I arrived at my destination, which ironically enough was located next to the ocean my salmon spirit animals were so eager to escape.

This story isn’t about spying on old millionaires dining with women half their age, the stunningly beautiful waitstaff, or the half wasted trophy wife who offered to take me home with her (but all of those things definitely happened). No, this is a story about how every once in awhile stepping outside of your normal stomping grounds can produce wonderful results. As I sat there, sipping on a martini that was sure to haunt me well into the next morning and eating a seafood tower fit for a prince, I thought about those silly fish exhausting every ounce of strength and willpower they have to make it up that river to make hot fish love while we take our lives for granted. We should all be more like salmon. If you’re really into fish, or if you want to experience the culinary version of poppin’ bottles in da club, make your way upstream to Maestros Ocean Club and see how the one percenters dine. Just make sure you get properly baked beforehand so they can smell you coming. Happy smoking!

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