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Dungeness Crab Sightings? (SF to Pleasanton)

Some SF friends just moved to Pleasanton (although they still work in SF). We want to get some live (the bigger the better) dungeness crabs on Friday for this coming weekend (either in SF or on the way to Pleasanton). We usually get live crabs from an Asian fish/poultry shop on the south side of Clement around maybe 8th ave. (that general vicinity on Clement). So, where have you seen crabs recently?

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  1. We just bought crab last week in Oakland's Chinatown. All of the seafood markets have it.

    1. If you can wait a couple of weeks, the local crab season will have started. Any crab you buy now has been shipped in from points north.

      1. Hmmm, I can't wait for crab season to start!

        1. 99 Ranch in El Cerrito. They're small and about $4/lb, as of day before yesterday.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

            That is really cheap. Are they alive? And by small - could you estimate approximate weight? Like are they half the size of usual dungeness? Are you sure they are dungeness? This is tempting but we've never been to that store. Where in El Cerrito is it?

            1. re: niki rothman

              right off of the Central Ave. exit on 80 -- you can see the Pacific East Mall sign.

              1. re: niki rothman

                Small claws, which is the whole dungeness thing isn't it?
                Maybe 1.5lb each? Last year they had them looking like this
                at roughly this price through at least Thanksgiving, so there's
                no rush until someone else confirms. I'm not much of a crab
                guy and there's some potential for confusion on my part here.

            2. The season opens Nov 15th. Although, it was delayed last year due to pricing issues.
              I'd wait a few weeks and get the local ones.

              1. The ones they have at Ranch 99 are live and definitely dungeness. They are in tanks, fished out, and put in paper bag if you want to kill them yourself. Otherwise, they will kill and clean them for you if you wish. There are several branches between SF and Pleasonton depending on which route you are taking (assuming you are driving). Here's a link to their store locator.
                As I've seen your posts about Lee Hou's crabs, the ones I saw earlier this week at the Daly City Ranch 99 were about equivalent to Lee Hou's "medium" ones.

                1 Reply
                1. re: niki rothman

                  I recommend you chow down on these Canadian crabs and then when the local crab season opens, have another crab chowdown - then you'll know whether you can taste the difference.

                2. Live Crab is now available in the SF area year round. The 99 Ranch Market in Milpitas is receiving live crab 2-3 times a week.

                  The last time (about 2 weeks ago) I purchased crab, I inquired where the live crabs were from; I was told Canada. I suspect Canadian crabs are held (live) in tanks and air freighted to the SF area. In the olden days, surplus crab was cooked and frozen, now days the demand is large enough for live crabs, the surplus crabs are being kept live in tanks.

                  A market size dungeness crab will weigh between 1.5-2 lbs, often smaller crabs (1-1.5 lbs) are available for a lower price than the larger ones. Yield on a dungeness is between 20-25%.

                  1. Bought a couple crabs at Ranch 99 in Daly City last thrusday for 3.49 a pound.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: jupiter

                      Live? How big? How did they taste?

                      1. re: niki rothman

                        Live, probably between 1.5 to 2 lbs. and they tasted very sweet and delicious. We were doing hot pot, so i had the fish monger chop them in to quarters and then we steamed/boiled them in our hot pot (our hot pot was too shallow to submerge them, so we jsut put the lid on and steamed them for about 15 minutes in the broth and they were AWESOME)

                        1. re: jupiter

                          On the home cooking board we were discussing crab and I noted I just liked it steamed with melted butter or with scallions, garlic and ginger the way Lee Hou in SF makes it. So Hungry Celeste was trying to convince me that my crabbie tastes were too simple since her compatriots in New Orleans made all these delicious crab concoctions (that seem over the top to me), but now, jupiter, you mention your hot pot dish - which sounds absolutely wonderful. Would you please post your recipe on the home cooking board?

                          1. re: niki rothman

                            Different preps for different crabs. Dungeness has a sweeter, more delicate flavor than Gulf blue crabs and those "over-the-top" preps just overwhelm it. IMHO, of course.

                            Uh ... topic ... my local fishmonger has had "new season" Dungeness for a couple of weeks now, but I'm not sure where they're from. I've been meaning to ask him.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              I couldn't disagree more, blue crabs are much sweeter!

                    2. I would try Oakland Chinatown, they have many options for fresh-live seafood and they are reasonably priced.

                      1. just had some crab tonight that I bought at 99 Ranch .... today's price was $4.69 :~( just a few days ago it was $3.99 lb. I was a bit worried when I was cleaning the crab and breaking it down - the claws came off very easily on some ... but the meat turned out to be very sweet. Although I think the meat's texture was a bit softer than I'm used to. These crabs were from Canada. Looking forward to the local season!