We were lucky enough to inherit a much-coveted reservation at Hungry Cat's Third Annual Crab Fest (thank you very much Susan) yesterday. All you can eat Maryland crab and spectacular cocktails. You can't beat that on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. I had been looking forward to this day for weeks and it did not disappoint.
The seating was set up in a communal fashion. Long tables with newspapers sprawling over them and loud music playing – this was definitely an event. We chose an outdoor table to enjoy the sunny day. I'll admit I was a bit nervous, since I was not well versed in the art of crab boils. I'm from the Central Vally and B is from the Midwest, enough said. We both had no idea what to expect. We started out with a few drinks. I had a Thirsty Cat Bloody Mary (made with fresh tomatoes, of course) and B had a "Natty Boh"… Short for Natural Bohemian Beer, a lager brew originally from Baltimore, MD. After enjoying our drinks and the sight of bibb outfitted eaters, our first course arrived.
It was a little warm for soup, in my opinion, by tasty nonetheless. A little something to whet our palates for the main course. This was served alongside some grilled corn on the cob and cornbread. This actually would have served as a substantial meal on any other day, but not today. I was looking forward to how full I was going to be. :)
Before we even had time to start digesting, out came our second course. It was a 4 oz crab cake, which according to our server, was made from a 100 year old recipe. It was served with grilled bread, creamy coleslaw, a remoulade sauce and a side of macaroni salad. This crab cake was a serious no-frills cake, with zero fillers. No celery or bell peppers in sight. With the Natty Bohs flowing we were starting to have a good Crab Fest time. Now it was time for the main event of the afternoon.
With a quick lesson from our neighboring Baltimore-native crab eaters, and a wooden mallet, I was ready to go. Going along with true Maryland tradition, our server piled a bunch of steamed crabs in the center of our newspaper-lined table. It was so much fun getting all messy. By the end of it all, I had crab in my hair, crab juices running down my arms and shells everywhere. Here's a picture of some of our crab carcasses. They did clear our mess away once. So imagine this picture times two!
I lost count of how many I ate, but it was definitely one too many. I was stuffed. It's a good thing that desserts go into a second stomach, right? Just enough room for a refreshing plum cobbler. Nice and tart.