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Live Crab in Santa Cruz

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Melanie's announcements on live crab reminded me that we received an email alert from Leo and Diane Morelli of MTM Sportfishing; this is the store at the yacht harbor right next to the Crow's Nest. Email says that they made a quick trip out yesterday and came back w/ a good catch of live Dungeness crab. Don't know how much they are charging, but you can reach them at 325-6635 or 476-2648.

We haven't bought anything from their store before since we prefer to buy directly off the boats if possible. We will go out on Fri. or Sat. to survey the situation and see if our favorite vendor, John on the boat, Gayle, is docked. Oh, I can hardly wait!! Will report back w/ an update...

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  1. Think we need to call you Crab Lover!

    9 Replies
    1. re: Pablo

      From now til about May, you can call me crab lover! We went down there around 4pm today (Sat) and there were "live crab" signs displayed prominently near the S & T docks. We were happy to see John aboard his boat, Gayle, and walked briskly down to the T dock. He recognized us and gave a warm welcome back for the season. We got two kicking ones around 2 lbs. each at $3.50/lb. Husband is starting to steam them as I type this...

      East West seafood distributor right under Johnny's Harborside was also selling, and I'm pretty sure a boat or two at the S docks.

      1. re: Carb Lover

        Post-eating update:

        We steamed both crabs and went for it. Knowing that different crabs bear different characteristics, we always split each crab so we can have a taste of both. One crab was amazing considering this is first of the season--firm flesh, buttery, succulent, sweet goodness. No dipping sauce needed. The other was a little smaller and bland in comparison, but still worthwhile to eat. Both shells had a rockier texture than usual and didn't turn as bright red post-steaming. Also carried less crab butter than usual. If the former is representative of what's to come, then I'd say it's going to be a good crab season...

        1. re: Carb Lover

          Wow! 3.50/LB is a great deal! Way to go Crab Lover!!

          1. re: Pablo

            Yes, that's a great price for off the boats at the start of the season; there seems to be more competition this year. John says that he doesn't plan to go above $4/lb. if he can help it. He's a good guy...

            We walked down to the harbor again on Sun. (just for the sake of walking, not to get crab), and we saw John's boat rolling in around 2:30pm. We decided against getting more since we don't want to OD early on.

            Below is a photo of what we did w/ leftover crab that we lumped. Made a little salad w/ crab, shaved fennel, mayo, lemon juice, smoked paprika, and salt. Very refreshing!!

            http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y45/...

            1. re: Carb Lover

              I guess that we were too early at 9:30 am - we walked over to the R and S docks after a hearty breakfast at Aldo's on Sunday morning. Great breakfasts! I devoured the Work Crew Sandwich with scrambled egg, avocado, bacon, grilled onions, tomato, cheddar cheese and my husband had the crab benedict. By the end of our breakfast, every table was filled.

              1. re: Cynsa

                Yeah, 9:30 is usually too early since the boats are still out. Timing can be somewhat arbitrary, but I've had the best luck getting crab off the boats in the late afternoon/early evening on Fri and Sat.

                1. re: Cynsa

                  I love crab and that sandwich and crab benedict sound out of this world good! I managed to get two large crabs at the Asian Market for $3.99. Not quite as good a price as Carb Lover but I was pretty happy with it.

                2. re: Carb Lover

                  Looks divine crab lover! Just out of curiosity, what brand of mayo? Been discussing different types of mayo lately,US vs. Japan vs. European, Kewpie is a favorite around here!

                  1. re: Pablo

                    All-American Best Foods. I want to try Duke's but have never seen it and need to add Kewpie to my pantry.

          2. Hi CL :). I LOVE crab (Who does the "cleaning" at your house--I'll admit after tackling it with abandon the first time, I'm a bit squeamish now...)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Funwithfood

              Crab preparation seems to fall under the husband's domain. We generally just like to steam our crab, so we just "numb" them in the freezer for about 15 min. before steaming. Opening up the carapace and removing the gills and guts after is not too big a deal. I have never cut one up while still kicking, and for stir-fried preps have par-boiled briefly before cutting up.

              Well, farewell to crab season for now! We got some great stuff from John off the boat Gayle this past year, although supply wasn't always consistent due to weather variability. While the MTM store usually had live crab available when boats didn't, freshness was questionable (they could have been in the tank for days) and I just don't find Leo very appreciative of my business.

              I'm looking forward to wild salmon season now!

            2. Just wanted to let you know that our crab in our tanks at the store come directly off our boat. We dont fill the tanks back up until the first load is gone. So they are always fresh. If we dont have enough customers between trips, we have certain resturants that buy them. MTM

              1 Reply
              1. re: dianemorelli

                Also, The defination of a fresh crab is a LIVE crab. We recycle ocean water in our tanks. It is the same as reaching in the ocean and pulling out a crab.
                Due to weather sometimes the crabs are in the crab pots until the boats can reach them. STILL fresh. The grocery stores sell DEAD Crabs.