Saturday, December 8, 2012


People in San Francisco like to do things. Whether it's Critical Mass a monthly community bike ride downtown during rush hour, Santa Con, a massive bar hopping event, or the Big Wheel Races, we like to get our fun on.

For me, one of my highlights is something we call Crabonanza. Crabonanza was started by San Francisco Journalist and Editor Jon Rochmis. It involves going to Fisherman's Warf on a designated Sunday morning to enjoy fresh Dungeoness crab caught in local waters, local beer and locally baked bread. Typically we stand around drinking beer and eating bread as the crabs cook, then feast on freshly cracked steamed crab. When everyone is done eating we wander up to the Buena Vista for Irish Coffee. It's one of the best ways to spend a Sunday that I know of, thus being away from the Bay Area during crab season can be quite disappointing.

The good news is, I'm in Japan, land of seafood galore. I knew there had to be crab, and boy was I right. Last week an early trip to the grocery store revealed giant Japanese Spider crabs for around $25 each.  I hatched a plan to get go back and get one, but when I did, the crab were gone. I figured out, the trick to getting one or more of these beasts was to hit the store early, and not leave without crab.

Today, I employed my strategy and was duly rewarded with two unsuspecting crabs expertly wrapped in an ice filled styrofoam box. I had never cooked my own crab before, but have seen it done dozens of times, so I found my largest pot, threw in some Zateran's and a sliced lemon and let it boil. While the water heated up, I threw a couple of loaves of sourdough into the oven, and cracked open a beer.

It wasn't long before I was giddily placing a live crab into the rolling water, apologizing to it as I did. In a karmic twist, when I took the bread out of the oven, I got a bit of a nasty burn on my finger. Maybe I shouldn't have been so giddy about putting them in.

Each crab had to cook around twenty five minutes. Unlike the Dungeoness variety that I am familiar with in San Francisco, these crabs had spines all over their shells which made cleaning them a little challenging, but it was well worth it. The meat was sweet and luxurious. It was so rich it didn't even need butter. I believe I may have had my first real Crab-gasm.

Determination is a funny thing. It can yield extraordinary experiences and rich rewards. Today's homemade crab feast was just a reminder for me that some of the best things in life are the things you make happen for yourself.