Crab Louie Salad, the healthy San Francisco Treat?

Featured in menus of reputable San Francisco & Portland restaurants since the early 1900s, this crab meat salad is a typical example of a locally sourced West Coast salad.

In Canada we are about to embark on our first long weekend of the summer. Monday is called Victoria Day (or National Patriot Day in Quebec). The weather is looking relatively nice and I will do my first trip to the cottage on Sunday. It’s the perfect time to start eating a bit lighter to for the summer and enjoy lovingly prepared fancy salads. I came across this West Coast classic and just had to give it a try, the Crab Louie Salad.

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Mad. Sq. Eats in New York City, a special correspondent post

Today I have a very special post for you from my very good friend Karyn who spent a lovely weekend in NYC not too long ago with her friend Sari. Karyn mentioned to me they would eat their way through a street food festival so I could not help but ask her if she would like to write a guest post as a special on location correspondent. Happily she agreed.

If you are a regular CEE reader you will remember Karyn in past posts such as when she made Dutch Baby Pancake with Peaches, she was a dinner guest during the luxurious dinner party for PFB, I picked vine leaves out of her backyard to make dolmades, she was here for the miracle fruit dropping trip and finally I did an interview about her Pastry Chef on the side career.

Without further ado, here is Karyn with a special report from NYC. Thanks and love you hun!

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Every year, my friend Sari and I head to NYC for 4 days of adventure. This is the eighth year of this trip, which is based around shopping and eating. It seems that as the years advance that it’s really more about the food and yet we had never ventured into the world of street food – except for Sari having a NYC hot dog in year 2, but it was nothing memorable! This year we decided that it was the year to crack the street food scene and see what NYC has to offer. My research led me to the Urban Space NYC blog about a street food festival in its second year, and wouldn’t you know it, it was happening exactly when we would be in NYC! It was meant to be!

 

 

We planned on hitting the Mad. Sq. Eats festival the day we arrived in NYC, and basically were just waiting to get there and eat! It was a perfect day for an outside festival and there was a fantastic collection of restaurants participating.

We took a walk around the grounds to see what caught our fancy and decided that we should start in style at Red Hook Lobster Pound, with Lobster Macaroni. We placed our order and waited, mouths watering, as we watched our order come together. There were a few technical difficulties as the blow torch being used to melt the cheese on top ran dry during our order, but Emma, our hostess was very pleasant and it gave us a chance to explain that we were doing this blog. I took a picture of Emma and the way her arms came out, made her look kind of lobster like, don’t you think?

Finally, the blow torch was ready for action! It was great to watch it come together.

Et voila!

The noodles were very large macaroni noodles, the biggest we’d ever seen and WOW for 9$ we sure got our money’s worth in lobster! There were quite a few large chunks and I think we each got a claw! Definitely a great start although I would have preferred the cheese sauce to be a bit warmer, but fantastic street food otherwise!

We barely paused before searching for our next victim, deciding on Fatty Snack, which I had read about. They have a restaurant in their group, the Fatty Crab, and I was very excited to try their food. We decided on one order of pork buns, which were actually two little buns overflowing with wonderfully spiced pork for $6.

They were fantastic. I would go back for another one anytime but maybe not for a first date as it’s not the most elegant thing to eat!

That’s Sari in the pic, waiting for our buns. The man in the picture was wandering around the grounds trying to decide on what to eat and he approached Sari, asking about what to try and she gave him great feedback yet he continued to wander… I don’t remember what he finally ended up with, but there was something there for every palate. He looked a little overwhelmed with all the choices.

Sari was parched after this and decided on a beer from a place whose specialty was beer and chocolate. She had a Southern Tier Pumpking. I’m not too sure if the g in Pumpking was intentional or not, but I took a pic of the sign to prove that I can spell! They also had chocolate covered bacon caramel that I really wanted to try, however they were out of it and were only receiving more the next day.

 

Did you think we were done? Not even close! Next on the tour was a stop at Waffles & Dinges. Of course we needed to know what a Dinge is. Well, it’s a term that basically means “Things”. We ordered a waffle with Spekuloos! I was SO excited when I saw they had Spekuloos and they were even selling it! I showed some restraint and didn’t purchase as I would have had to carry it all day… oh yeah and I have a bottle at home.

We’re not sure what the guy in the pic above was eating, but boy did it look like he was enjoying it!

Our waffle: Spekuloos and fresh fruit, cut in two for us to share.

Ah… OK, after that was done we thought, OK, we’re ready for dessert! Sari had spotted the cannoli and wanted to try it, so we did. The man working there not only guessed that we were Canadian, but Montrealers! He was an expat, having left in 1984 and could pick out our accent!

The cannolis were $5 for 3 of them and we decided on Peanut butter, Kahlua and Salted Chocolate. I am not a cannoli fan and even less of a peanut butter fan so I tried the last two only. The Peanut butter cannoli is missing from the picture below – I think Sari was just too excited to try it! I didn’t care for the Kahlua one as it was very cheesy… and the Salted Chocolate tasted good but the shell was way too hard for a cannoli, but the chocolate and salt was a really nice combination.

OK, after this we were stuffed! It was a great festival and intro to street food. The door to street fare has been opened and is far from being closed. The only advice I would have to someone going to a festival like this is to go with someone that you can share with so you can try more things!

5 Star Makeover: Tail Gating with Lobster Sauce Crab Poutine with Oka Cheese

Tail what?  Tail gate was the clever theme our wonderful hosts Lazaro and Natasha settled on for this month’s 5 Star Makeover. Clever and confusing! See I am not a sports fan at all. And I am not alone because the announcement of the theme caused a lot of reaction from my fellow challenge friends. OK so I knew the word but I had no clear concept of what a tail gate party was. I am sure some Canadian sport fans have them but not nearly to the extent of our friendly Southern neighbor.

After a bit of research I understood tail gate food revolved around a grill and pot luck like dishes. Lots of junk food in general too. What could I make that would have a certain Canadian flair, even better if it could have a Québecois touch? Of course! I would make our ultimate world famous fast food: poutine! Now even if the rest of the world thinks this is our national dish…it is not. Let me say it again: poutine by no means is considered fancy.

Yet this is suppose to be a gourmet challenge. Have no fear, Chuck is here! I based my poutine on the Lobster Poutine recipe by Montreal local super star chef Chuck Hughes. This is one of the recipes Chuck prepared on Iron Chef America that helped him kick Bobby Flays’ ass (pardon my French Québecois). What can I say, French Canadian Chuck beating Bobby on Iron Chef America, it was a proud moment for Montrealers!

I made a few bold changes in Chuck’s recipe – not by choice but by obligation. I got to the grocery store pretty late and the fish monger was gone. The young kid taking over the next door deli section was trying to be helpful, resigned himself to package a lobster for me but could not find the price scan and I eventually found canned crab meat. There was also no curd cheese left when I got to the store, which is THE poutine cheese to use. I did however find some Oka Cheese which I thought would make for a good substitute. Curd cheese is kind of bland but Oka packs a punch flavor wise, I just had a hunch it would work. It really did! Please take my word on it and try the recipe, poutine is not a photogenic dish so don’t judge purely on appearance.

hosted by 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks!

On a funny note this was my first time ever do real French fries…as in deep frying. No one was hurt and nothing was damaged BUT I did manage to set the burner on fire. Half of me was trying not to laugh my head off and the other half was trying to remember how one puts out a fire in the kitchen again? Oh yeah put a lid on it or baking soda.

Ξ Lobster Sauce Crab Poutine with Oka Cheese Ξ
adapted from Chuck Hughes

Ingredients

  • 250 gr crab meat (original recipe 2 large lobsters, 1 ½ lbs each)
  • 4 cups of lobster base sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch, dilute in water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 Yukon Gold potatoes with skins on, washed and cut lengthwise into fries
  • 1 lb Oka cheese, cut in cubes (original recipe cheese curds)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

To make your own lobster base from scratch see my recipe here, I had some in the freezer already. If you prefer using lobster meat, cook your lobster, remove the meat and make base with the shells.

For the sauce, reduce the lobster base in half. Add a little bit of base to the cornstarch mixture the add it all to the pan and cook until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Next, whisk in butter and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Preheat oil in deep fryer to 300F (148C) and blanch the fries for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and let stand for several minutes.

Increase the temperature of the oil in the deep fryer and immerse the fries in the oil again for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Place on a tray lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Plate fries in a shallow bowl and garnish with the crab and Oka cheese . Pour the lobster sauce over top. Makes 4 servings.

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Vacation Eatz: Sanitary Beach

No, Raleigh is not by the beach as most people seem to think. Depending on which beach you decide to go it can be anywhere from a 2h30min drive to 5h. Going to the beach for me was a priority so my host was accommodating. We went the first and last day. I may not enjoy spending the whole day on the beach but for me a holiday without sand in my toes and a swim in the ocean is just not complete. First day we went to Wilmington beach and the last day we went to the Fort Macon State Park near Morehead City.

On that last day we decided ultimately to have dinner in the area before heading back home to Raleigh. Being by the sea I had a hankering for some seafood. We went to Morehead City where we checked out about 3 restaurants. We settled on Sanitary Fish Market (a fave of my friend’s dad apparently). Sexy and appetizing name, I know! But there is a story behind it…

On February 10, 1938, two partners, Tony Seamon and Ted Garner, opened a fresh seafood market on the Morehead City waterfront. A small building had been rented from Charles S. Wallace for $5.50 per week with the understanding that no beer or wine would be sold and that the premises be kept clean and neat. The name “Sanitary Fish Market” was chosen by the partners to project their compliance.

By the spring of 1938 it had 10 stools in the market to serve seafood. Sanitary Restaurant opened in 1942. Since 1969 they can sit over 600 people! You don,t actually sit in a room with 600 people though. it is split up into 3-4 rooms. You can tell each room was a built addition. Of course it is located on the waterfront. The atmosphere is very reminiscent of a coast seafood shack…just a big one.

When you sit down you get a basket of hush puppies. Apparently hush puppies are a normal thing here because in 6 days this was my 3 or 4th free basket of hush puppies. These were the best! I am not going to tell you more about them…this will be a future post! One thing I will say: they may taste good but the shape (which is the common shape) is way too similar to a small turd!

We shared a starter of Peel-& Eat shrimps. The concept is fun – you have to shell them – but they were rather tasteless. Rich had a fried combo plate of shrimp, scallops and clam strips. The scallops were amazing. I opted for a daily special of a full Flounder stuffed with crab. The fish was very good but it really needed more seasoning in my opinion. I ate like half it was a huge portion. One of my sides was a stuffed baked potato which was awesome but I was so full my friend had most of it. He can be a bottomless pit lol.

I have traveled extensively over the US and restaurant, service, customs can vary greatly. There are a few things I noticed here in the South that stood out for me…coming from Montreal, Canada:

1) Waiters are always in a good mood, always give their first name and will usually bend over backwards to get you what you want.

2) Restaurant food in North Carolina is dirt cheap! Most of the bills for us two were not far off what in Montreal would be per person.

3) Service is wayyyyy to quick. Like you order and 5 to 10 min later you have your main meal. For me a nice Montreal dinner outing is a good 2-3 hours spaced over time. In no way did the staff ever make me feel rushed to leave the table but you can tell the general mentality is get in, eat fast, get out. Eating out should be an event, and experience…not a chore to get over asap. But I digress, that is the European side in me talking perhaps.

And so you have it. I hope you enjoyed this little Vacation Eatz series of my summer holiday. We will soon be returning to our normal program. Actually first thing up will be a restaurant review: Bofinger. This Montreal restaurant (a chain now with 4 addresses) specializes exactly in the Southern food I ate for 6 days while in NC. Did I think they measured up to the real deal? Tune in to find out!

Vacation Eatz: Washington DC

Trying to figure out how to summarize my food pics from my vacation was an overwhelming task. So much to share, it would have taken 12 posts and 85 pics minimum if done individually! I decided to condense stuff over a few posts instead, have brief descriptions and do photo collages. I hope you enjoy this Vacation Eatz series!

I do want to try my hand at some recipes or explore some of the food’s background once the Vacation Eatz series is done. We always say that but we end up with a zillion other projects. So I am writing it down now here and you, my reader, can hold me to it that way lol. They are not exotic recipes at all, more your traditional Southern American staples. But for me they are exotic as they are not part of my food habits. So recipes/explorations to come in the future are:

  • She Crab Soup
  • BBQ as in the NC pulled pork version (I know different sauces, I’ll pick one)
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Fried Chicken
  • Grits
  • Banana Pudding
  • Indian Taco
  • Cornbread
  • Hush Puppies
  • Fried Green Tomatoes

Now let’s start the trip. My first stop was Washington DC for a day and I slept 2 nights at a friend’s house in Alexandria Virginia. It was so awesome to catch up with her, it had been 7 years since we last saw each other. I kind of wish I had stayed there longer…it went by too fast.

When she suggested Maryland crab as being a must I was not going to argue with her lol. We took a walk in Old Town Alexandria (which is just too pretty) and went to The Warehouse Bar & Grill. I am warning you right away…not a cheap place lol. But hey it’s a vacation treat. The walls of the restaurant are covered in caricatures of patrons. No one famous, no idea who drew them…but it is a unique and cool decor.

I had the She Crab Soup and the All Lump Crabcakes plate. My heart stopped a bit at the price of the entree, $28.95, but you only live once. The soup was amazing and very filling, so much so I had little room for the main dish. I stuck to the crabcakes mostly which were awesome with nice big chunks of crab meat. The veggies were plain enough anyways. What is lump crab? Lump crab is the extra large portions of meat that come out of a crab body. In other words you get chunks of crab flesh…not just torn apart little pieces. In my research online for this it is apparently common for commercial crab to be pasteurized but connoisseurs say it is to be avoided.

My friend works in DC so I hopped in the car with her in the morning. I spent the morning seeing lots of outdoor stuff like the Lincoln Monument, the White House from afar, the Capitol, and more. Funny enough you can’t get near the White House without getting a reservation 6 months prior but Obama’s veggie garden is right by the street lol…it’s the pic in the middle. It was so hot though I decided to spend the afternoon in the Smithsonian Museums. But first I had to have lunch.

The Smithsonian neighborhood is not a restaurant hub area at all. But I asked the cashier in the American Art History to recommend a place. She suggested the cafeteria in the National Museum of the American Indian. The Mitsitam Native Foods Café was a great discovery portal into the indigenous cuisines of the Americas. It’s set up like a food court with 5 counters representing the different cuisines: Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Meso America and the Great Plains.

I ended up having an Indian Taco which was made with Buffalo Chili and a fried bread. This recipe I have already made at home and posted about it here. I also got for dessert a Guava tapioca pudding. Yes I like tapioca lol. I have to say for a museum cafeteria the food was good but again the bill !!!! 20$ for a taco, a dessert and a juice. Me thinks DC would not welcome a Cheap Ethnic Eatz group to well.

Tune in tomorrow for more of my DC foodie adventures with Julia Child’s kitchen,  space food and Thai cuisine!