Dungeness Crab at Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor!
We decided to time our first taste of Dungeness this season w/ my parents' visit. Yesterday, I took them down to the harbor to lunch at Aldo's (love this place more and more and had a GREAT bowl of clam chowder!). I'll write a separate post and include pics of our lunch later.
The weather yesterday was the worst rain storm we've had in a long time. I was worried that this would mean the harbor would be deserted w/ no crab to buy, but I was so happy when we walked down the S Dock and saw some guys bundled up on the SS Gayle. We bought from them last season, and their stuff has always been reliable. Link to harbor website w/ maps below.
Pleasantly surprised that going rate was $3.50/lb. since it started around $4.50-5 at this time last year. We bought 3 of the bigger ones, about 2.5 lbs. on average. I was told they were caught the day prior. For our first taste, we wanted to keep it as simple as possible so chose to steam them and dip them in a solution of lemon juice, S&P (the way my Vietnamese family does it). Photo of them stacked on top of each other post-steaming is below.
They were delicious and soooooo satisfying...I forgot just how luxurious and succulent they are. I paid attention to the shells, and while they were a little more flimsy than last year's batch, the shells were pretty sturdy. Gayle guys said they're not getting thin-shelled catch as some folks are getting "up north." The meat didn't seem as sweet, buttery, and compact as during the peak last year, but it was damn good for a first showing.
I asked the Gayle guys when they're usually docked and selling, and they said usually in the late afternoons/evenings on weekdays and much of the time during weekends. There's a harbor festival going on this weekend, and I imagine they and others (at R & S docks) will want to capitalize on the crowds and be open for business. I have a feeling they'll see my face again real soon...