Monday, October 9, 2017

Pass the Claws

Metaphorically speaking, David slew Goliath. Again.

Generally, when I want crabs, I head down and over a few blocks, where a cadre of men sit talking in chairs near a sidewalk with a sign advertising fresh steamed crabs. They're as nice and friendly as neighbors. One of them has a cousin who crabs on the northern neck and what they get of his haul is steamed nearby in somebody's backyard and sold to people like me on a strictly cash basis.

I'm sure it's all quite illegal, but the crabs are always meaty, well seasoned and priced for a budget. I stop by and visit the guys for crabs whenever I get a craving and wave as I walk by even when I don't.

But today I saw that Rapp Session was running a crab special - blue crabs steamed in Miller High Life, $3 each Saturday and Sunday - so I messaged Mac, my partner in crustaceans, to see if she wanted to join me in some picking.

Her YES came back in all caps and further, she'd be here in 30 minutes. Yes, we take our crabs seriously, she and I.

We walked to Rapp Session, passing Godfrey's just as a trio of women were rushing toward it, trying to make it to Drag Brunch before the show began. A large man outside the door waved a wad of cash and asked them sweetly, "Need any ones, ladies?" The first woman wanted $20 worth, so clearly she had plans to tuck a lot of bills into panties while eating her overpriced omelet.

You go, girls.

We had more important things on our mind, but once at a table, the bad news hit: crabs were a dinner special only, although our hapless server tried to convince us that crab legs would be just as good.

I don't care for crab legs, son, I want blue crabs. Capisce?

The only logical thing to do was walk back to my house, change into walking clothes and head down to the river to kill time until crabs were available, never mind that the humidity was hovering at 98% under rapidly moving cloudy skies.

On Brown's Island, we navigated around the Folk Fest tents and preparations for next weekend's extravaganza, walked the pipeline and came back up through Capital Square, which seemed to be bustling with far more tourists than usual for a Sunday. Walking back, we detoured through the Second Street festival to gawk at the vintage car show - look at that Cadillac, it's as big as a whale - and run ionto friends.

Only after losing our sweaty walking clothes did we return to Rapp Session for crabs and, as it turned out, disappointment. Mac and I, crab pros, should have been suspicious because the announcement had said that the crabs would be served with melted butter and no crab eater worth her Old Bay or J.O. Spice uses butter, but we rolled the dice anyway.

Rapp Session, I bow to your superiority with oysters, but you don't know diddly squat about crabs. I'm not even talking about giving me a lobster cracker as a mallet. But of the eight crabs we ordered, one was delicious, two were so far past their prime they smelled and five were watery and the crab meat mushy.

Unfortunate, to say the least.

The only logical way to address our loss was with Old Saltes and we swallowed the briny bivalves as much for their salty punch as to erase the memory of lackluster crabs. Mac used smoked bluefish dip to do the same.

This is what happens when you cheat on your primary crab supplier, kids. Don't do it. Learn from our mistake and stick to kindly old men on folding chairs for the real deal. We sure will.

Also, butter is for amateurs.

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