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Dancing in the Ocean part 2

...Fast forward a couple of years and I was having a conversation with my mom about the menu at Cueva Bar Café. When I shared with my mom about offering empanadas she asked me what I would be offering for our guests while they waited for the food to get prepared she took me back to Cancun and the puffy pita. Needless to say, I began practicing at home using my inspiration from the pita at that place that opened my mind to the idea that you don’t have to be Argentinean to serve chimichurri, or middle eastern to serve pita bread.

On that same trip, my mom displayed another side of her I hadn’t seen yet. She would spend a couple of hours in the ocean at a time, something really out of the ordinary.

A year later she got admitted to the hospital after a nervous breakdown. Doctors diagnosed my mom with schizophrenia. The day she went to the hospital she wouldn’t recognize my dad or my sister. Years later and after a couple of fallbacks she got admitted to the hospital again after passing out in the shower. This time the doctors found a tumor in the front of her brain.

Eventually, my mom was diagnosed with two more cancers, one being bone cancer.

She has since recovered and continues to gain strength in her legs and arms and always when I remember her, I see a painting of her, dancing in the ocean.

To honor these memories, I picked a fish recipe. This recipe's inspiration comes from between 1985-1990. There’s a recipe with fish my mom would always make for us, especially after trips to the lake my dad would take me to along with my uncles, cousins, or a group of my dad’s friends and their kids. We would come back with several fish, all of which neither my dad nor I caught. For some reason, my dad and I never had a good hand at catching fish. The recipe I share with you here is inspired by the Mexican recipe called Pescado a la Veracruzana. It consists of preparing the fish with onions, green and red bell peppers, tomatoes, salt, and pepper all together put inside aluminum foil. I am pretty sure people in Veracruz use banana tree leaves to wrap and cook the fish. This recipe makes for a juicy delicious fish that can be served over rice, with tortillas and as many Mexicans do, with salsa on the side or fresh hot peppers


My mom's health has not improved and she had another mental breakdown episode, refused to see her doctor, and stopped talking to my dad and my siblings. She was in a state of mind where she felt my dad, my siblings and I are plotting against her. She has begun to talk to my siblings and me in the last two weeks but still refuses to see the oncologist and psychiatrist.

Mental health is real y'all! Make sure to take care of your mental health and of those around you.



2 6 oz Red snapper fillets or 1 whole red snapper, cleaned, gutted and deboned.

2 tbsp chimichurri by Chef Oz™

1 sm red onion, sliced

1 sm heirloom tomato, sliced

1 sm yellow bell pepper sliced

2 chile D' arbol

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch white pepper

2 12X12 banana leaf

2 12X12 square parchment paper sheet

2 twine strings to tie parchment paper up

2 cups white navy beans, cooked

2 cups white rice cooked with corn

1 cup butter rice, cooked.


  1. Pre-heat oven at 350 F

  2. De-bone fish carefully

  3. Season with salt and pepper

  4. Place fish on top of banana leaf

  5. Place tomato, onion, and bell pepper on top of fish

  6. Top each fish with 1 tbsp chimichurri

  7. Place chile D' arbol on top

  8. Wrap fish with the banana leaf and parchment paper carefully and use twine to tie up on top

  9. Place fish on a small baking sheet inside the oven and bake for approx. 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet

  10. Remove fish from oven

  11. Cut twine carefully, avoiding steam that comes out when opening the paper bag.

  12. Lift the fish with the help of banana leaf and serve over a bed of white navy beans and butter rice.

  13. Use the juice that remains in the parchment paper and pour it over the fish.


We appreciate your support, your patience during these times of change, and all of the love you pour into De Nada Kitchen & Market. Please leave us or send us a note with your feedback, we'd love to hear from you.

De Nada Kitchen & Market in San Diego California offers a menu with plenty of omnivores, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. Our happy hour is from Wednesday to Saturday from 4 pm to 5 pm. Happy hour offerings are $5 tapas and $7 house wine. We're located in the eclectic University Heights neighborhood.

About the author: I chef Oz write these blogs. I am a home cook gone pro when my wife Jo and I decided to open Cueva Bar, a fusion tapas bar and restaurant in San Diego California. I am passionate about offering a space where people gather for a good time, and to enjoy mindfully prepared tapas, made with love and passion by our culinary team. I'm all about inclusivity, peace, love, mutual respect, unity, kindness, and compassion under the sun with liberty and justice for all.

Let food bring us together!

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