Monday, July 5, 2010

Crabfest 2010

I love crabs. In crab form only. Sadly, eating a Maryland crab with a Maryland crab in human form is not so nice. This is what I discovered five years ago at the 2005 Hungry Cat crabfest which was billed as an all you can eat Maryland blue crab event. Apparently, in Maryland, at least in Maryland circa 2000 B.C. to 2000 or so, you would go down to the shore and buckets upon buckets of steaming hot Old Bay crusted blue crab would thunder down on your newspaper laden table and you would eat until look like a crab, all big abdomen and little helpless limbs waving surrender in the air.

As the myth is told, the crab is so plentiful that you actually discard crabs solely on the basis that they're gotten cold while you've dispatched the huge pile of hot crabs on top. The crabs are so never ending that you simply do not deign to eat the little crabs or the male crabs which aren't as sweet and don't have any eggs. I didn't know any of this, but I soon learned it by heart after hearing for the 100th time how the Hungry Cat's crabfest was "a joke". The Hungry Cat's crab fest was so maligned to all fellow Marylanders. They were told of the moment of revelation when the Hungry Cat servers would bring a bucket by and dump two solitary crabs onto the table. The sounds of the two crabs hitting the table by themselves would be made in the telling: "dunk"... "dunk"... then the bucket would be taken away. Oh the horror, the horror. All the Marylanders listening would laugh at our California desecration of their sacred crab overeating ritual. The Maryland blue crab and the crab cake defines them people (because let's face it, they ain't got nothing else to be proud of - other than like ancient history aka colonial times and who the hell cares about that but Ken Burns and some AP History teacher somewhere who gets his hair cut to look more like Ken Burns?)

It was unfair and it made me mad. I thought the Hungry Cat crabfest was marvelous and special, but as a valley girl, you know, I didn't want to stick my oar into such hostile waters. I mean, I grew up eating Dungeness crabs. From Redondo Beach. I never even knew what old bay was. Oh, the horror, the horror.

So, imagine my surprise when I went to the crabfest last last week with the Hungry Cat crabfest hater and his friend also from Maryland and we had us a time! Sure they didn't eat anywhere near the 15 to 20 crabs they felt they could each eat but this time, we knew to savor the sounds of the three or four crabs hitting the table. And boy, were they tasty suckers or what? It was all super amazingly tasty from start to finish and definitely one of my favorite-ist meals this year by far.

This candied peel I think about it too much and how many there are behind the bar and can I sneak behind there and steal them all and eat them one by one in my bed with a flashlight and a Nancy Drew mystery and my cat Oscar who was a girl cat but misnamed Oscar because I didn't know cat anatomy too good when I was a youngun.
The menu. The six per guest actually wasn't held to too strictly. I'm sure my friends ate at least 8 crabs each.

Man, I told you, pour on the Old Bay and steam them till they die. This is war. War against the crab. No mercy. Death to all. Even the women and children crab.
This beignet was crazy beautiful. Wasn't there a movie starring Kirsten Dunst titled crazy beautiful? I sense that movie sucked real bad. Well, this one didn't. It tasted like the best most crazy beautiful sweet and sour pork but now featuring crab. Can you get with that kind of magic? I didn't think so.
We don't know why Pabst Blue Ribbon is everywhere at once. Is it ironic? Is it working class? Is it douchebaggery in 24 ounce cans? When can I get me a malt liquor is all I'm sayin for now.
Oh hell yes. Bring on the crab jiggae. Where my tabasco at?
Jitlada, look over your shoulder. That's right. It's Hungry Cat moving into Thai territory. This was amazing. It was Crazy Beautiful the sequel. Where Kirsten Dunst's character gets even more crazy and yet beautiful despite the rehab and the no decent parts and the I only date alternative rockers from England or um Scotland.
The crab. Might I confess, I can't really eat more than like 4 or 5 because they're damn delicious and all don't get me wrong to quote The Pretenders but they are so salty I'm gonna retain water to the extent you could like ship me to Mars as the water source of the future. So, yeah, I'm thinking I'm not going to kick ass in the all you can eat crab contest that I was planning on enrolling in.
The aftermath is pretty impressive.
lemon curd
This lemon curd was crazy beautiful part three. It's like Kirsten Dunst reunites with Tobey McGuire and they do the Spiderman kiss but they're like in a nursing home and they only speak Latvian.
on the lam
The crabs knew what was up and they tried to effect a prison break but resistance is futile crabs. This is the Hungry Cat and this is the crabfest. I'm definitely going next year.
Hungry Cat on Urbanspoon


  1. ahhhh jealous! I really wanted to go to this. Interesting that they used soft shell crab for the Singaporean chili crab. Hope it tasted like the real thing. ooo where is that all you can eat crab contest you are competing in??

  2. You are definitely bringing me with you next year. Some people say I look like Kristen Dunst so I can reenact scenes from Crazy Beautiful whilst we wax about how crazy beautiful them crabs are. Then we wax about how much water we are retaining like the Titanic.

  3. i love crabs but not in pubic hair. man i miss your posts. sounds like a lovely time....yum!

  4. I'm tempted to do word search on your post just to calculate the number of "crab" used. In fact.. BRB.

  5. 38.

    I thought there'd be more. And I had to count that in Chinese just to do it fast enough to follow the keystroke.

    Anyway, this looks like a ballin' time, but MANG! $65! Can 1 call the lemon custard lemon "budino"?

  6. i love the prison break photo. but jeebus, this sounds EPIC.

  7. "Sadly, eating a Maryland crab with a Maryland crab in human form is not so nice." LOL
    Whatever, come to MD and we'll show you how to have a real crabfest.