I recently had the pleasure of taking a long road trip, from my home in Southwestern Colorado to the Seattle area (via Wyoming, Montana and Idaho). One of my primary goals was to eat as much seafood as I possibly could – and I more than fulfilled it!
My first meal out was at the Four Swallows, where I indulged in Kumomoto oysters, Penn Cove mussels with roasted tomatoes, smoked paprika and Spanish sherry, and scallops with Pancetta and pea vines. That’s right – three separate sea creatures, all in one meal!
During my trip I also managed to eat salmon, more oysters, and too many fin-fish to name.
The culinary highlight of my trip, however, was a gloriously barbarous crab feast on the beach. Intent on eating crab (it was the seafood I most coveted when imagining a trip to the coast), I made it to Central Market’s seafood counter right before it closed, where the surly attendant’s attitude softened considerably when I made a proper demonstration of gratitude. Two pints of perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes, explosively sweet and tasting of sunny contentment, creme fraiche gelato, a baguette, Greek olives, a bottle of Prosecco and a salad of just-picked greens rounded out the meal.
We carried a heavy cooler down to the beach in the growing darkness and found an amenable log to sit on. Heedlessly cracking crab legs with my teeth, tearing into the sweetly briny meat, indulging in rare and precious tomatoes and olives, guzzling Prosecco, my fantasy was realized.
On the eve of my departure, I decided I wanted crab again. I arrived at the seafood counter, only to find out that there was a crab shortage; there was no crab to be had.
I think it was better that way.