I was shopping the other evening at my local HEB in League City, TX, I never go with a list but rather prefer to for meals in my mind as I peruse the isles seeing what is on sale. I am also one of those people who despises fixing lunch and taking it to work because, well, when I open it it’s our second encounter of the day and it feels like leftovers.
During my latest shopping adventure I happened upon a package that said bouillabaisse, and like Homer Simpson, drooled on my self as I moaned “Bouillabaisse”. The brand said Central Market, sort of sounds good so I grabbed a package.
As I sat here today realizing it was after noon and all I’d had so far was several slices of stolen (think fruitcake lite), I opened the freezer wondering if I should have pork chops or lamb chops (“lamb chops”…drool) and spied the bag of bouillabaisse, stopped dead in my tracks and started looking for a pan.
Hmm, interesting, a bag with various sea-life (former sea-life that is) and these funny hockey puck looking things that were apparently the broth base. I looked at the instructions, “add two tablespoons of water to saucepan.”
After several minutes the aroma began escaping and I anticipated my lunch, wondering if I should have saved this treat for dinner. I found the big bowl, poured it in and before adding anything (I despise when people assume they must add things to my food, I consider it a slap in the face) and took a taste, hmm. Interesting and not the good kind of interesting.
Maybe it’s me, maybe I am remembering incorrectly, maybe I’ve led a sheltered life and have not been exposed to the rich cornucopia of bouillabaisses out there, but I thought it was supposed to have at least two distinct flavors, saffron and seafood, this had neither.
I searched for a morsel of the aforementioned former sea-life, a mussel, this will do the trick! Hmm, maybe it’s some sort of polymer shaped to resemble a mussel, you know like the imitation crab that’s made from some sort of fish protein. The same could be said for the shrimp, were it not for the recognizable shape, I wouldn’t have know what I was chewing on.
I located onion that tasted like onion, celery that tasted like celery, potatoes that, well potatoes don’t always retain their flavor especially when they’re this small, but not a hint saffron or of seafood of any kind. I take that back, there may be the slightest saffron aftertaste.
After adding salt, pepper, butter and realizing to my horror that I had neither Tabasco or Tiger Sauce (I travel a lot), I retasted and found only the slightest improvement. Now I am not saying the soup is horrid or has an off taste, it just tastes like it’s a base that requires good tweaking to make taste like it should. I’m sure if I had shrimp, mussels and other former sea-life on-hand, I could salvage the soup, that’s all.
Would I repurchase this, no, but that said, I would try other flavors of Central Market soups. Central Market is a store brand for HEB . Now I need to go look back in the fridge for the lamb chops I originally opened the freezer to retrieve. Maybe I’ll do HEB a favor and look for a satisfaction guarantee and return the package, explaining what was wrong.