Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cravings Crabs and Beer.... Yum

Have you ever been to Maryland during blue crab season? If not... you should, they are yummy. I've had a fantasy of eating crabs in a crab shack ever since I moved to Washington. I envisioned me rolling up my sleeves, drinking cold cold beer and digging in.

My west coast friends will not agree with the conclusions I'm about to write. They will say that Maryland Blue Crabs are too small and too much work for the food (I say that this is part of the fun). They will also say that the meat isn't as sweet and luscious as west coast crabs (I say that you can't get any fresher than Blue Crabs in Maryland... so you should eat the Blue Crabs when out here).

My food philosophy (or culinary point of view)... if I were to start my own Food Network show is that you should always try to eat food made from regional ingredients. Yes... I do make exceptions for ethnic cuisine, but when you have the choice between something picked from the ocean or the farm that day... or something flown in... go with the fresh local ingredients.

So I was fortunate and tried a crab shack earlier this year. I went online, I did some research and found a great place near Annapolis called Cantler's. I took some friends (Mid-Westerners) to the place for a second round. The good thing about growing up in the middle of the country, I think, is that you don't have an allegiance to either East or West coast cuisine because everything just seems to come together in the middle. So we were able to have crabs and enjoy the work... for admittedly a little reward... but I think that is half of the fun.

Now to some of my (impartial) observations regarding East vs. West coast seafood. I've noticed that the seafood from the West Coast is larger and sweeter than East Coast seafood. I've noticed this mainly in shellfish (because they seem to percolate on both sides of the country) rather than fish fish since there tends to be different types of fish on each coast (if you have any insights to this let me know). From the WC, I've noticed that the oysters are huge, the crab legs are a meal in and of themselves, the mussels are on steroids, and the food tends to be sweeter... not sure why this is... probably warmer waters??? That being said, I prefer East Coast seafood (at least for now since I'm living in Washington).

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