Maryland Blue Crabs?
- A.Weisenbach Jun 5, 2006 09:21 PM
Is there anywhere in Chicago to buy live Maryland Blue Crabs?
I'm nearly over missing my years living in DC, except for not being able to eat blue crabs. Help?
Restaurant-wise, not even Shaws Blue Crab Lounge has them anymore. Bob Chinn's in Wheeling would probably have them - I'm sure you're talking about a whole heap of them, poured out on brown paper so you can smash them with a mallet. Give Chinn's a try - it's a bare-bones place with a huge menu and a huge selection of crustaceans.
To buy them yourself, go to Argyle Street, to the Vietnamese neighborhood of shops, between Broadway and Sheridan. I was there a few weeks ago, and all the larger groceries had live blue crabs. The males have more meat, but the females may contain roe - someone there will be able to show you how to tell them apart (if I remember correctly, the males have a wider breast-plate on their undersides, and on the females it's narrower - if you look at them you'll see what I mean).
Try any Asian market. The one in Westmont usually has a basket of Blue Crabs. I discovered Dungeness crabs when I lived in Seattle, and see no reason whatsoever to eat Blue if Dungeness is available.
You can sit down to a couple of bushels of cooked Blues and starve to death while you're trying to get the meat out.
Asian markets usually have live Dungeness, too. They keep the Dungeness in tanks, while the Blues are usually just thrown into a basket. That should tell you something.
Isaacson & Stein usually has a crate of them, but I think you may have to go early. I usually go later in the day on Saturday and they seem pretty picked over. When I have looked they are all females, but not sure whether this is always true.
I realize this topic has been dead for a while, and although I can't help Weisenbach out, I can feel for you. I too am from the DC area and miss the days of celebrations being a keg of beer, a bushel of blue crabs steamed in Old Bay, and picnic tables covered in news paper.
Dirk (of Dirk's) suggested just ordering a bushel over the internet. He said it would be cheaper than going through him, since that is basically what he would do anyway. Haven't looked into it.