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Dungeness crab and CA mussel seasons open 11/01

Let a chorus of a thousand angels break forth in song. The DFG Web site confirms that *recreational* Dungeness crab season for the *entire* California coast opens tomorrow. (In previous years, NorCal north of Mendocino had a later opener than the rest of the state.) The site also lists mussel season as "open" as of 10/31 -- although the traditional season is November through May. Time to get out to the coast and earn your dinner .....

Sushi Monster
www.emeraldlake.com/sushilist.html

PS: The definitive post on mussel harvesting was by the incomparable Melanie Wong, some time back. It's a classic -- and still accurate. Use the search function (Wong + mussels) to grab it.

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  1. Yup. They changed the opening date north of Mendocino from the last Saturday in November to the first Saturday in November. It's sitting on my desk being prepped for publication, in fact.

    15 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Does this mean that local crabs will be available in the next couple of days?

      1. re: srr

        Only if you go out and catch them yourself (or have a friend who does). That's the date for the recreational aka "sport" season. As far as I know the commercial season still opens in mid-November.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Thanks for this good news. My husband and I will be in SF near the end of the month (coming from the East Coast) and he was just saying last night that he hoped he could get some Dungeness crab while we are there.

          Does anyone have any recommendations for good places to enjoy crab in the city? More casual places where one might eat with their hands and enjoy a beer are our first choice for this particular meal.

          Thanks in advance.

          1. re: concordcourtney

            I don't believe there is any other way to eat Dungeness crab than the hands on way. You might try Swan Oyster depot for simple cracked crab. Thanh Long or PPQ for the messier sauced crab.

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            Swan Oyster Depot
            1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

            PPQ Dungeness Island
            2332 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

            Thanh Long
            4101 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122

            1. re: wolfe

              Crustacean (same owners as Thanh Long) is at Calif/Polk, easier for most visitors to get to.
              Swan: great but closes about 5:30pm and closed on Sunday.
              I went to PPQ once and was not that thrilled with it.

              1. re: walker

                I can't in good conscience recommend Crustacean to anyone. It's overpriced and pretentious, and the food is very uneven.

                Here are some discussions on where to eat Dungeness:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/436406
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/41785

                My choices would be Lotus Garden for Vietnamese style or Great Eastern for Chinese style. I'm not sure who does a really good "American" style Dungeness, since that's something I usually eat at home.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Thanks to all for the good and fast suggestions. I'll check the other threads as well and report back when we get home.

                2. re: walker

                  I went to PPQ the other night...last time was 6 years ago. While it was a good value -- $52 for set meal for 4 (chicken salad, egg rolls, sizzling pork, 1 large crab and dessert) -- the crab was only okay. If anyone goes, get the garlic crab, the baked one was way too dry/bordering on bad. Perhaps in full season it's better but in full season you're better cooking your own.

                  1. re: ML8000

                    Just clarifying that commercial crab season hasn't started yet. Nov. 15 is the official date, but usually local crab isn't available for a few days after that.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Yes, I assume these crabs were from WA or AK given their size...and thus had to travel a bit. My guess is when the full season comes to SF, the crabs would be better.

              2. re: concordcourtney

                A lot of people like Yuet Lee in Chinatown/North Beach. It's a hole-in-the-wall but the seafood is primo.

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                Yuet Lee Seafood
                1300 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

              3. re: Ruth Lafler

                I went last week on an Emeryville charter boat (C Gull II) for their crab/rockfish combo trips. The crabs (and fish) were excellent! Some of the crabs weren't as big as previous years, but the pots averaged about 12-15 each.

            2. re: Ruth Lafler

              "It's sitting on my desk being prepped for publication"

              So, by Monday the 3rd at the earliest, the official word will be out that one can fish for Dungeness on Nov. 1?

              1. re: Xiao Yang

                It was "effective on filing" with the Secretary of State (Thursday, IIRC). So it's official. It takes a little longer to publish it, since it goes out with all the changes to the regulations last week -- if you're curious about the publication process you can drop me a line, as it's both off topic and not very interesting. I believe it's up on the state website, though, and anyone on their mailing list would have gotten an announcement. Plus, interested parties would have known it was in the works, since the Fish and Game Commission actually approved the change in September and completing the regulatory process was basically a formality.

                1. re: Xiao Yang

                  Thankfully the internet has freed us from those things people your age used to use to learn about chow, newspapers ;)

              2. The search didn't bring it up for me. Any chance that you could post the link?

                2 Replies
                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Yes. That's the right article. As far as I can tell, everything Melanie said is still spot-on.

                    Sushi Monster
                    www.emeraldlake.com/sushilist.html

                1. >*recreational* Dungeness crab season for the *entire* California coast opens tomorrow<

                  What's the commercial Dungeness crab season?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Mick Ruthven

                    commercial season opens tomorrow. and it could be a short one....

                    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                    1. re: susancinsf

                      After reading that article (great read btw), I called the Pillar Point hotline just to see how opening day was going - the recorded message said boats went out but only one came in at 330pm...and there was a line of about 100 people. GAH!

                      Anyone get some locally caught dungeness and have any info to share? How are the crabs looking this year?

                      1. re: Bunson

                        I read that they are selling the crabs off the boats at $5 per pound at PP Harbor.

                        1. re: Bunson

                          I just came back from Pillar Point. I did not buy off the boats, but from the little market near the front of the pier. I saw crabs that were decent sized, maybe two pounds or a little larger. My crab cost a little less than $11. I think the cost was $6/lb. for cooked and $5/lb. for live. There were a ton of people there and lines were long, but I found parking no problem. My first crab of the season, wonderfully fresh and delicious.

                    2. If you want to do something really fun, head to Bodega Bay and go out crabbing with Wills. I have been going for my birthday for about five years and I always bring in Limit, which I believe is 6 crabs per person. I think its only about 40 bucks for two hours. So that adds up to $6.66 a crab and you get to do it yourself. You can camp for $28 bucks right on the bay too. All in all an awesome, cheap fun weekend. They clean and steam for a buck a crab. Get your ice chest filled with fishermans ice from the ice house on the west side of the bay and you are set for crab feast when you get home. Good times.

                      -----
                      will's bait and tackle
                      1580 Eastshore Rd, Bodega Bay, CA

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: mmerino

                        Nice suggestion. Might be the thing to do next year, though with the weather the way it is this year, it'd be perfect for camping.

                        1. re: mmerino

                          Crab pots are thin now that the commercial guys are out! I went on another crab/rockfish trip out of Emeryville on 11/17--this time aboard the New Salmon Queen. We got our limits of rockfish easily, but the crab pots were averaging only 0-2 legal crabs each. We had to run the whole string of 45+ pots and we got 4 per person for 19 people instead of the limit of 6. The only upside is that there were a huge number of undersized Dungeness crabs (released) which bodes well for the next couple of years.

                          1. re: baron45

                            It also matters how many boats went out on each of the days before your trip and how many pots those boats pulled.

                            My colleagues and I are planning on going out next Wednesday. Only one boat is scheduled to go out both Monday and Tuesday, and our boat is not even close to full, so its likely we'll get our limits of crabs.

                        2. I am a city dweller who is currently without a car, so driving to Bodega or Pillar is not an option for me. What's the best place to pick up the freshest seasonal dungeness crabs here in San Francisco? Swan Oyster Depot?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Kenois

                            I would scout out the fish markets in Chinatown or Seafood Center (the best fish place in that neighborhood) on Clement. If you're really lucky, they are still in the box so you don't have to pay for the water. I have relatives who will actually buy an entire crate and are therefore allowed to pick them up superfresh, but that is a LOT of crab.