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May 26, 2008 08:13 AM

Copper River Salmon - Phx?

It's that time of year again. As former Seattle-ites these are red letter weeks on our calendars. We start drooling and looking forward to the season a couple months ahead...

Tough start to the season this year is making for high prices. I saw some available at AJ's on Saturday at $43/lb. OK...even for this not available for very long, I really really love it item...I can't bring myself to pay that. Hopefully the prices in the markets will go down in the next couple weeks...and some more markets get it in this year.

We're thinking about trying to find some for dinner tonight somewhere though(oddly $40 as an entree portion in a nice restaurant sits better for me than paying the AJ's price to make it at home.) I'm going to call McCormick's since they usually have it and I remember from last year someone(silverbear?) mentioning Kincaids as a possibility. We use to head to the Rockfish here in Chandler as without fail they brought it at a reasonable price but they closed in the last year. Nothing else there was notable really but a piece of simply grilled CR Salmon at a reasonable price was reason to visit a few times each May/June and right now at least I'm missing them.

Anybody seen it anywhere yet this year?

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  1. I actually bought the AJ's copper river Salmon. I was not going to but as you said, I'd pay that in a restaurant. It may have been some of the best we've had.
    I know that there is a lot of supply/demand pressures on the CRS (Copper River Salmon) market out here. Last year at the beginning of the run the AJ on pima and pinnicle peak had it for $32, but ran out by the afternoon. I then went to the AJ's on 67th AVE and Beardsly (of the 101 in Glendale) who had it for $24.

    1. I live in the Seattle area, and I am looking at $45/lb for Copper River. The fishermen are having a devil of a time this year in Alaska and the price is reflecting it. I have a terrific fresh fish monger in Kirkland Parkplace and I decided on 8 oz. of his Ivory Salmon instead at $29.99/lb. I know the price will drop in the next couple of weeks. I just don't know if it will drop significantly!

      17 Replies
      1. re: firecracker

        Ivory Salmon. Lucky you! It's very very rare we ever see that down in these parts. Sigh....I don't miss the weather at all but miss everything else up there. Don't remember a fishmonger at this the same one that used to be down on Lake St?

        1. re: ziggylu

          If Tim's Seafood was on Lake Street, then yes! One of the things I like about Tim's is all of the fish is wild - no farmed. Much better for you! I like King salmon period and prefer the Ivory to the Red. I don't turn my nose up at either though. How long have you been living in Phoenix, Ziggy?

          1. re: firecracker

            8 long summers. :-)

            I think Ohana was the place on Lake Street. they must be gone now, I'm sure if there's another fishmonger at Park Place. Much better location really for that kind of thing. Ohana was down at the end of the businesses by the Baskin Robbins.

            I don't buy farmed either. I've been eagerly awaiting the start of wild salmon season as I a lot of the previously frozen wild stuff that gets here isn't that great.

            You went from here to there right? Hopefully you're coping with the gloomy weather better than I did in my years up there! Such a great place to live - and eat - in all other aspects.

            Does Izumi still exist over in Totem Lake?

            1. re: ziggylu

              Exactly, Ziggy - for me it was Phoenix to Seattle. The weather doesn't bother me, but I think we all want something different than what we grew up with. For me, the seasonal changes are sheer heaven. I used to say it was going to take a man or a flood for me to leave Phoenix and then the only place I would go would be San Diego. Hadn't counted on a job transfer.

              I don't recall Ohana, but I probably wasn't looking for it. Tim owned the place for some time and the first time I walked in there three years ago, the fish smell nearly knocked me out - yecchhh! Tim's brother who had also been in the fish business took over. Apparently he had warned his brother perception was everything and smell is part of perception. Now if you walked in blindfolded, you wouldn't know what the shop sells. No fish smell at all. The floor and displays are cleaned out nightly with bleach and water. Fresh oysters, clams and mussels greet you enscounced in ice. The display cases hold a variety of fresh wild fish. The scallops are dry pack only. Light beige and not the chemically injected snow white ones. If you still communicate with folks up here, encourage them to try Tim's - across from the QFC.

              Enough about the NW. Where are you finding good fresh fish in my former hometown?

              1. re: firecracker

                Not many places!

                Nah, actually Sprouts has a nice fish counter...just not a very interesting selection. I've always been happy with my purchases at AJ's as well, the prices are a bit much though. I have a shiny new Whole Foods near me...when they first opened the fish was great but lately the fish hasn't been looking so lovely or fresh so I've been avoiding that. The selection is also much smaller than when they first opened(true throughout the store actually...I suspect their numbers are well below what they expected for this store).

                I also live near Lee Lee which has great fresh fish. It can be hard to manouever through the crowds but if you time it right when the crowds are thin it's a great option for us.

                So I can find good fish to cook at home. Wish we had more good seafood restaurants to choose from - at all price points. But well this is the desert. I have to keep reminding myself that.

                I actually went from San Diego to Seattle, transferred by the Price Club/Costco merger...and kicking and screaming the whole way! LOL

                1. re: ziggylu

                  A good friend of mine moved to Phoenix four years ago and we talk several times a week. She also likes AJ's and Sprouts, but hasn't mentioned Lee Lee's . What part of the Valley of the Sun is it located in?

                  I'd keep looking for the value in fresh Copper River if you can find it. If I find anything "reasonable" I'll let you know and see if I can send you some overnight. I know the CR salmon addiction. I have it too!

                  1. re: firecracker

                    Two locations: SE Valley and NW Valley (Chandler and Peoria, respectively)

                    Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket
                    2025 N Dobson Rd, Chandler, AZ 85224

                    Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket
                    7575 W Cactus Road, Peoria, AZ 85381

                  2. re: ziggylu

                    It's funny you mention the decline of fish quality at whole foods. i live by a whole foods in scottsdale that recently open also. I was amazed at the quality and selection when it first open, but the last 2-3 months both have declined rapidly.

                    1. re: Goofy Yno

                      Could some of the problems everyone is experiencing with fresh fish at Whole Foods and other places, be due to the abysmal fishing season in Alaskan waters. It's been a terrible weather year for those who fish up there and it is just now turning around.

                      1. re: firecracker

                        Nah, all the fish is looking pretty bad no matter what the provenance.

                        I can only speak for the store my's one of the big new fancy ones with all the prepared foods, the tapas bar, the grill, etc. Huge investment and they dont' seem to be getting a good return on it. I can walk to it and don't go in much but when I do I only see crowds on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. It's dead quiet the rest of the time. they've cut back on the store hours since opening and except the weekend afternoons have cut way back on the prepared food offerings.

                        Seafood selection got cut way back as well and just isn't looking so fresh and enticing. Probably not turning as much inventory as quickly as they'd like.

                        1. re: ziggylu

                          Firecracker may have a point. The store my me, which is the same set up as the chandler one, is still busy. So on my end I don't think is due to lack of revenue.

                          Of course, Ziggylu has a point in that it is all fish across the board, from all areas. and to further the point, AJ's fish is looking much better, which was not the case when they first opened.
                          Maybe they changed fish suppliers or something?

                          (where do I get my application for ambassador ?)

                          1. re: ziggylu

                            Did anyone check out Albertson's to see what they had?

                            1. re: aztami

                              not yet. I had to work last night and we're having friends over for pizza tonight. But I'm goign to try and get by there tomorrow to have a look at it for dinner tomorrow night. I'll let you konw what I find!

                              1. re: ziggylu

                                forgot to mention that I saw it @ AJ's in Chandler yesterday for $33 lb (down from the $44 you mentioned there the other day???????) Good luck on your search!

                              2. re: aztami

                                Change in plans. Husband's flight was late getting home today(i'm shocked...shocked!) so we moved pizza night to tomorrow...

                                Went over to Albertson's and picked some of this up. It's Sockeye not King. SImply grilled it was pretty good...seemed a bit more mild than past seasons though which is odd. Not like farmed just more mild than typical. Still would like to get some of the King and am going to try to do so this coming week.

                                As an aside, I also picked up some corn...and the corn I've been getting at Sprouts the last couple weeks is so much better than the Albertsons. If you're tempted to get corn to grill with your salmon, go somewhere else.

                                1. re: ziggylu

                                  Sockeye and not King explains the price differential. Thanks for clearing that up, Ziggy! Mild but good isn't bad. I think when we talked upthread about the $40+/lb of CR salmon we were both thinking about King. Folks in my neck of the woods don't even consider sockeye. Nice to know you haven't lost the "connection" either, Ziggy! ;~D

                      2. re: firecracker

                        I am surprised to hear the different prices for Copper River salmon at different AJ's but will tell you there is no comparison between the Copper River Kings and Copper River Sockeye. I purchased two nice 8 oz pieces at the Chandler AJ"s for $30 a pound but I had an AJ's $10 off coupon ($50 total purchase required) and you can get a 10% off card if you subscribe to some of the food magazines. They include them every May and are good for the Summer. I pan seared them in butter with a little fresh lemon and they were fantastic.

              2. I purchased it multiple times from Sprouts last year at 28th St / Indian School. I haven't checked this year yet though...

                3 Replies
                1. re: azhotdish

                  The season is only a week old but havent' seen it at the Chandler Sprouts this year yet. I don't think they have a big market for $40+/lb fish to be honest! The Whole Foods here probably has it but they'll be the same as AJ"s and I find AJ's tends to fresher/better quality on their seafood.

                  We're contemplating dinner at McCormicks....but seeing that Goofy Yno mentions how good the AJ's is maybe we'll reconsider and bite the bullet ot make it at home. It is a lovely day to grill!

                  1. re: azhotdish

                    We had really good luck at Sprouts last year as well & it was much cheaper than AJ's. Still wonderful though.

                    Also saw Copper River salmon at Binkley's last year. I'm sure it would be wonderful there.

                    1. re: ccl1111

                      Looks like we bought it for $8.99/lb last year! I can't imagine it's going to be anywhere near that this year.

                  2. Thanks for the reminder. Kincaid's usually has CR salmon around this time of year. I just signed up for their email list. I'll post again if I get a notice about CR salmon.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: silverbear

                      Do let us know if you hear! I've been calling around this morning and Wildfish and Ocean Club both told me they'd have it in a couple weeks but not yet. McCormick's and Kincaid's aren't answering so i'm thinking they mgiht be closed for the holiday. Roy's Scottsdale says they might have it depending on how the season develops.

                      I wonder if Tarbells will have it? I was actually impressed with their seafood offereings when we were there back in the fall. They're closed today too.

                      I may have to go ahead and pick some up to make at home to take care of my first of the season craving. I seem to be striking out today! Any other places I'm not thinking of to try?

                    2. Gave up the quest, decided didn't want to cook and took advantage of the holiday traffic to head up to Richardson's instead.

                      Several places did tell me they expected to have it on menu in the next couple weeks...hopefully the market price drops as well. Hoping to grill some up this weekend.