On December 26th, or Boxing Day as known in the UK and Canada, or the shopping day after Christmas as we know it in the US, my family members, all five of them, wanted to do different things. Continue reading
I’m not much for giving food vendors a second chance, but this past weekend while at the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival, The Hubby and I decided to give Ballard Brothers Seafood and Burgers another try. Actually for me, it was a matter of being too swayed by the numerous food booths, and also feeling the dangerous mix of famishment and capriciousness. Bad decisions happen that way. Continue reading
It’s the weekend of the “Red, White, and Blue” which many are probably celebrating with foods bearing patriotic colors. Redmond Whole Foods had a sale on soft-shell crabs so we took the opportunity to buy a couple for dinner appetizers. There’s a short season for this warm season delicacy and when they’re gone, they’re gone.
It’s probably unpatriotic to have red, white, and tomalley during our nation’s Independence Day, but come to think of it, since soft-shell crabs are ahem*… “stripper” blue crabs in our part of the world, eating soft-shell crabs might actually be more patriotic than eating hotdogs. (*The technical term is molting, I only call them strippers for fun.) The greenish-yellow bit flowing from the crab is the crab version of tomalley (lobster liver). It’s edible and great with toast, but if you’re squeamish, don’t eat it. The soft-shell crab is still delicious without it.
In the East Coast where crabs are popular, with Maryland topping the list, soft-shell crabs are usually fried. We don’t have a deep fryer so to cook the crabs, we broiled the yummy “crusties”.
When you’re in Havelock, North Carolina, you need to have seafood, and you need to have it at Crabby Patty’s. Was I being cheesy? Yes, I was. Was I also being serious about promoting Crabby Patty’s in Havelock, NC as a have-to-go place for seafood? Yes, I also was.
The Hubby’s grandparents, whom we refer to as the “Grandparents G.”, call Craven County (located in the mid-coastal part of North Carolina) home. We visited the grandparents for what felt like a short time and saw some fascinating historical places, with the city of Beaufort being one of them.
We happen to all love seafood and one of the grandparents’ favorite restaurants is a seafood restaurant called Crabby Patty’s. The place is known for good seafood so we had to try it, of course.
The restaurant is right along Main St./Hwy 70 and pretty easy to spot. Inside, the restaurant is well-lit, and the din of diners talking and enjoying their meal makes for a comfortable setting.
My dates were fun. Here’s my main squeeze reading his menu.
And here are the grandparents reading both their menus.
I barely scanned the menu since I cheated and memorized some of the dishes before going to the restaurant. I knew that if I had to read the menu at the restaurant that I would end up taking my time deciding what to have and probably leave my dates antsy, so I prepared ahead of time. I knew what I wanted to get… Crabby Patty! It’s not quite the krabby patty made by SpongeBob SquarePants, but what makes them similar is that some ingredients for both patties are apparently a secret.
We started off with Catfish Fingers and the Seafood Sampler. The catfish fingers were deep-fried and came out tender. No chewiness at all. It’s the best catfish we’ve had so far. It took some discipline not to make a second order of it.
The seafood sampler consisted of clam strips, calamari, and fried shrimp. No substitutions allowed for the sampler. As if we would anyway. We were very happy with the parts and parcels.
For our entrées, The Hubby and Grandma G. both ordered crab cakes with their choice of sides, while Grandpa G. went with shrimp burger, and I chose the crabby patty. The Hubby’s side choices were great. The hush puppies were crisp on the outside but with a moist inside. The collard greens were fine, but it was missing that acidic kick and was milder than what I’m used to.
With the evil-minded Plankton not within sight, I ate my crabby patty feeling safe and secure. I thought the crabby patty was tasty and the fries even tastier.
We thought we were done but we couldn’t pass up the chance to try a couple of other items on the menu. Specifically, the steamed shrimp with old bay and the steamed oysters.
I usually like oysters raw or grilled, but since the option to steam was available, The Hubby and I decided to give it a try, and we’re glad we did. Steamed oysters are less slimy than raw versions, and may be more appetizing for those put off by the sliminess.
The fun night was finished off with a song and cupcake for Grandma G., the birthday girl, and cannoli (not pictured) to go. Good food, good company, and good times. We missed out on the calypso shrimp and soft shell crab burger and so we’d really like to return next time we’re in town.
Do we love seafood? Oh, do we ever. We see food and we eat it. Was I still being cheesy? Yes, I still was. But who can blame me. I love seafood, and it’s a trial not be cheesy, cutesy, and mushy about something one loves.
The Hubby and I spent the holidays in both Central Coast and Northern California regions, per our custom, to spend time with families and friends. Thanksgiving may be the day of gluttony for many people but Christmas at my family’s, especially when the whole clan is afoot, is Thanksgiving times two. This past Christmastime, the parade of food rivaled Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and I wish I had Kobayashi’s talent of eating enormous amounts of food at one seating. Oh wait. I kind of do. Except maybe only a quarter-enormous. We had a Noche Buena late lunch at my parents’, Christmas Eve dinner at The Hubby’s parents’, Christmas morning breakfast at The Hubby’s again, and then followed by Christmas brunch at my parents’.
Before we left, our parents gave us going away goodies in the form of leftovers from the Christmas meals. I’m a veritable noodle fanatic, but I passed on the palabok (Filipino “spaghetti”, as my family would describe it) when my Mom asked me if I wanted to bring back leftovers. However, I did ask for over a pound of ham and some tuna salad. I couldn’t pass those up. For good measure, my mother gave me a package of palabok noodles so I could cook palabok at my own time.
Back in the Evergreen State, and with the Christmas bonanza behind us, yet benevolently haunted by the food packed by our mothers, we decided that for New Year, we’d break our normal tradition of having New Year’s Rice (a savory sticky rice dish I learned from my paternal grandmother) and long-life noodles, and have sushi instead. We wanted something light after all the good but heavy foods we’ve had.
We went with Kikka Sushi Catering in Whole Foods Redmond to cater our New Year’s Eve dinner since we were already familiar with their service for we occasionally pick up impromptu dinners from their Whole Foods Redmond booth. Kikka Sushi is not exclusive to Whole Foods Redmond, and can be found in other Whole Foods and Ralph’s stores. At least 24 hours notice is required for all orders, and make sure to ask about their prices because they’re subject to change due to seasonal variety. I’m only reiterating (almost verbatim) the specification in small print on the catering menu.
Kikka Sushi provides a nice selection of sushi platters and customers can even choose to build their own. We went with their Cherry Blossom Platter which consists of Rainbow Roll, Spicy Tuna Avocado Roll, Spicy Salmon Avocado Roll, Spicy Shrimp Avocado Roll, and an assortment of nigiri. The folks at Kikka Sushi in Whole Foods Redmond are attentive and courteous, much more so than some of the grocery store employees.
The menu doesn’t say how many people each platter would adequately serve, but based on your own and your fellow diners’ appetite, you should be able to make a guess. The Hubby and I had half of the Cherry Blossom Platter for our New Year’s Eve dinner, and the leftovers for our lunch on New Year’s Day. Hence, I can guesstimate based from experience that the CB platter should be good for four adults. Or one Kobayashi. Hah.
Hope everyone had a lovely holiday season and wishing everyone a fun 2014!
*Photos courtesy of The Hubby and our swell Canon EOS 20D.