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I plead temporary insanity, but I still want to sue......

I once started a thread titled "Unintentional Consequences of belonging to Chow". In which thread I explained I've eaten more Mc' Donald's simply from reading reviews of different items on the Chains board.

Well I've had another Chow inspired mistake this evening and I think someone should pay! There have been a few discussions on my local (NJ) board about crab cakes, specifically NJ vs. Maryland and so forth. Those threads have me subconsciously thinking about and silently desiring some of those Jersey Shore delicacies.

The wife and I were walking through our local BJ's wholesale club where I had picked up a couple of nice prime strip steaks to throw on the grill. As my wife must meander in and out of every Isle, as if there isn't one large direct lane out, I obediently follow behind. As we were walking down a frozen good section, and I assure you I am NOT a frozen food kind of guy, my eyes caught a glimpse of something that looked delicious. Momma Belles Maryland Crabcakes! No, could it be a sign from the Crabcake Gods that perhaps instead of just steak tonight should be surf and turf! They looked so good on the box cover, we've been talking about it on NJ, it must be meant to be! I grab the box and ran like the fat kid in a candy store to my wife's cart and placed them in.

I followed the directions to a "T", I baked them in the oven, no microwaving these babies, and I coated them with melted butter to give them the anticipated golden crisp finish as the box showed.

Well you can see for yourself how they turned out! Why.....oh why?!?!?! Why Chow have you betrayed me again! I want to sue! I have suffered damages! I think you, yes YOU, should pay me for making me suffer this cruel and extreme punishment!!!!

Seriously how are food companies allowed to so falsely represent their products? It's friggin ridiculous how bad these crab cakes were. My wife enjoyed a good snicker or two at my utter disgust in this product.

How about you? What are some of your biggest product dissapointments?

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  1. Phillips Maryland Style crab cakes have been around more than 50 years and counting. Nice reputation. They now use Asian crab meat, and are very clever about not revealing the source on the packaging. They suck, and that's why I still have two more packages in my freezer.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      I was shivering as I started to read your reply, I remember going to a Philips seafood buffet on a trip one time. It was horrible, I have no idea what the draw is to that brand.

      1. re: jrvedivici

        I went to a Phillips buffet in SW DC. Highlights included a vat of butter next to a vat of tom yam soup. Lowlights were much of the same...

        1. re: jrvedivici

          It was at one time one of the best seafood restaurants in Ocean City, Md. This is going back 40 years or so, before they expanded the brand to include other locations. Comparing the resto now to what it was is like comparing the TGIF chain to the original on the UES in the 60s (not that the original TGIF was a temple of cuisine but in the sense that the current incarnation is a pale imitation of the original.)

        2. re: Veggo

          I actually bought and cooked them last night (for the first time) and was so disappointed. I had some shell bits in them and the flavor was really off.

        3. I'm curious what the ingredient list looks like.

          8 Replies
          1. re: c oliver

            Here ya go C, who is better than Jr?

            1. re: jrvedivici

              Nobody, buddy :)

              At least the first ingredient is crab :(

              1. re: c oliver

                The direction said for frozen 20 mins @ 400, coat with melted butter for crisper finish, which I did. After 20 mins I didn't like the looks of them so I flipped the oven to convection for 5 minutes to try and brown them. After all that you see the results, really pissed me off. Lol

                1. re: jrvedivici

                  They are much more manageable if you allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight, or on a counter for 4 hours, and then pan fry them with butter. I usually make a chipotle tartar sauce and serve on toasted English muffin halves. Adequate, but not a memory maker so I wait for the buy one get one free deals.

                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    20 minutes from frozen? -- no way, josé -- that ain't gonna get you to much more than "slightly warm and not frozen."

                    i agree with veggo -- thaw them in fridge, then pan fry those babies.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      If there are any remaining, I'd either throw them out or give them to someone with a cat.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        Here ya go.....

                        As I said I did 20 mins regular bake and the last 5 on convection hoping that would brown them, to no avail!

                  2. re: jrvedivici

                    Well that doesn't look scary but the cakes do. I would at least try and salvaging the box by trying them pan seared and finished in an oven heated to the boxes heat specifications only shaving off some time. They also look like they need a panko coating. I hate to put that much effort into a frozen item but it is crab. I hate to see it go to waste.

                2. first, it is obvious they need to be baked longer.
                  second, they need to be fried, imho, to get that nice golden crust you see on the package.

                  just my two cents worth.

                  i never expect frozen crabcakes to be much. They usually are a lot of filler.

                  1. I'm sure that they suck even if done perfectly...but these don't look cooked.

                    I'd finish these fellows on the stovetop in a pan with some butter.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sal_acid

                      They do look pretty pale to me too

                    2. When I had Directv I used to watch a show with Mark Summers called Unwrapped that goes into food production venues and shows how things are produced for a mass market. Ingredients are cooked, mixed and literally blown through huge tubes, hoses and Gad knows what.That show caused me to stop buying *pre fabricated* foods.

                      1. Was this also a box with a ton in there??? Costco isn't known for two crab cakes a box sizes....

                        Was it just that the texture was off or did they also taste like cat food.....??

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                          There are 10 to a box. I made 4 tonight and I had served my wife and I 1 a piece when the disgust and frustration motivated me to take the picture for this thread.

                          1. re: jrvedivici

                            TAKE THEM BACK!! I KNOW it's a pain to do this but think makers are counting on people just going YUCK & tossing rest (and $$) into trash!?!

                            1. re: kseiverd

                              Except BJs eats the loss, not the manufacturers. At least not usually unless there's some kind of major flood of returns. But like they say, vote with your wallet, so what the heck.

                        2. I would take something like these and thaw them out. Crumble them up and add some finely grated parm or gruyere. Stuff some mushroom caps.

                          I've learned to use frozen crabcakes as an ingredient and then I'm not so disappointed.

                          Use them to "stuff" some lobster tails and drizzle with lemon. Using them in this manner, it cuts down on prep for sure.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: breadchick

                            That's actually a quite good idea.

                          2. As they say. You can't judge a book by it's cover. Those damn
                            pictures always lie of what's inside the box.

                            1. I understand the essence of the complaint. Can you just take the remainder back for a store credit? I'd rather do that then force them into something else. Good luck

                              1. Crab cakes are one of my favorite things. Have tried my share of "prepared" ones and have ALWAYS been disappointed to some extent.

                                The cost of real crab meat LOOKS like it's a MAJOR splurge @ about $20/lb. Remember "Phillip's" canned/refrigerated crab meat being on SALE at a very nice price, so decided to SPLURGE. I don't like a lot of fillers in my crabcakes... finely chopped onion, maybe bell pepper (if I have some), some Old Bay seasoning, and egg, and a handful of breadcrumbs. I coat with a little more seasoned crumbs before shallow frying in BACON GREASE till brown and crispy. You can make enough cakes from a lb that the initial cost isn't that bad per serving.

                                On PHILLIP's... when I got the can of crab meat home, put on READING GLASSES to see if there was an interesting recipe on can... this was before I started having readers permanently attached to my head. The crab meat came from somewhere on the other side of of the globe from Phillip's origin... Maryland. Crab cakes were very nice but I was bothered that I (and others??) are probably ASSUMING can had MD blue crabs in it?!?

                                1. A package of two TJs crabcakes has migrated to the front of our freezer. Asked the wifey to wait to prepare them until we shopped at TJs again. I'm thinking that, with three of us here at home, two crabcakes per person would be the perfect dinner portion size.

                                  After reading this thread so far, I'm not so sure my anticipation is warranted...

                                  1. You really expected more from a prepared food? How many pictures on the front of a box of food ever looked like what was inside? Blame your wife, she made you stray down that isle to disaster!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: treb

                                      Lol. And just for future reference, there's no fried chicken inside Crisco cans either.

                                    2. Just curious: Who on Chowhound recommended that you buy this?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: mwhitmore

                                        The OP said that Chow conversations made him hungry for crab cakes, not that anyone had recommended this particular kind.

                                      2. Our BJs here had a deal on Phillips crab cakes this week and I too picked one up thinking it would be a nice change. I know the Phillips name as one of the better ones, although that doesn't mean diddlysquat really. I am totally aware that most of their crab, except the top of the line line, are from Indonesia now. But whatever, it's Lent.

                                        Luckily when I got to the register, it turned out the coupon didn't start yet so I told her I didn't want them then. Crab cakes are such an impulse item, glad to know I did the right thing!!

                                        1. How much did you pay for them? Price is usually an indication when it comes to that kind of stuff.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: miss_belle

                                            I honestly have no idea how much they were. It was completely an impulsive purchase, and like most impulsive purchases, one I regret! Thank God it was only meant as a compliment to my steak which was excellent!

                                            1. re: jrvedivici


                                              I know this is from 2010 but whatever you paid, I'd say you got what you paid for.:-)

                                              1. re: miss_belle

                                                Thank you for further pointing out the error of my ways. :-(

                                          2. We tried that brand last year after our free promotional shop at BJs...never again, they were a waste of money.
                                            And I saw no reason to join the BJs club.

                                            1. I think the reason so many people wax poetic about crab cakes is because most crab cakes on earth are terrible, mushy, disappointing things, so they get really excited about the good ones.

                                              1. Fear not jrvedivici.

                                                Like others I have fallen afoul of oh so good looking but not so good tasting competitor Philips frozen seafood items in my past.

                                                My local Krogers groceries sell nice looking crab cakes lately in the seafood dept. since it is lent so I avow to buy 2 this week and cook and review to see if this "crabcake travesty" is a blip on the radar or a sadening trend.

                                                Sadly, like a good lawyer, I somehow know the answer to that question before I even typed it, but you never know until you try.

                                                I;m in.
                                                Just not in for your Mama Belle's carb cakes---errrr---crab cakes though. LOLZ.
                                                No offense. :-)

                                                1. Get thyself down to Mud City. Not fantastic, but better than frozen.


                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                        The computer must have froze....It should read Sandra Lee.

                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                          LOLOLOLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ fourunder.

                                                          I just LMAO!!!!!!!!

                                                          Sara Lee and sandra Lee double whammy.

                                                          In other news I did buy a storebought stuffed clam the other day from the fish counter (along with 2 crabcakes as I promised above)that was far less than heinous.

                                                          Came thawed but my guess was previously frozen.
                                                          About the dia. of a baseball and about half the thickness stuffed.
                                                          Said to have green peppers, red peppers, clams, stuffing, etc.

                                                          I baked topped with a brush of butter a 450F for 25 minutes and it was wholly acceptable. Brown and crispy top and fluffy interior.
                                                          Not fresh Atlantic Coast awesomeness but fully midwest acceptable.
                                                          There was no need to drown in sauce I should say.

                                                          The crab cakes from the same grocer go on trial tomorrow.
                                                          I can guarantee there will be no hung jury on that one.

                                                    1. and it just gets better... there's a good chance that, if the crabcake was made with "jumbo lump", those lumps were actually an amalgamation of a raw crab slurry an cooked crab flakes extruded into a mold and formed into those jumbo lumps.

                                                      phillips has their own patent for the molded lumps

                                                      2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Vidute

                                                          Well. That was certainly edifying!

                                                        2. The problem is obviously in your plating. Where's your plates that say "Crabcake"?

                                                          (p.s. - my cats have had hairballs that look more appealing.)

                                                          1 Reply