Monday, August 23, 2010

Not exactly a visit to the nearest Krusty Krab

Having grown up in the Southwest, the closest I ever came to fresh seafood was peeking into the lobster tank at my local grocery store.  And while this always seemed like "fresh" to me...I was recently informed that lobster tanks in Arizona are nowhere near to what fresh seafood actually is.  So since I am always up for an educational adventure, I decided to meander on over to the Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival at the National Harbor waterfront to see what I could learn from the locals. 




An entire day dedicated to crabs and beer...how can this be a bad thing??  What new and exciting things would there be to discover at a Crab and Beer Fest?  Well let me share with you my first lesson...which I was shown rather quickly. 

THIS is fresh seafood....



Maryland Blue Crabs...thousands of 'em...in many, many, many baskets, clacking their little claws, and just waiting for their turn to take a dip in their own personal hot tubs (aka...pots of boiling water that would then yield tasty crab-goodness).  Right off the boats, trucked on over to the event that morning.  Not a tank in sight!!

And these people know how to celebrate their crabs.  Not only were there mounds of these tasty blue devils just waiting to be cracked, picked and drenched in butter, but there were beer vendors as far as the eye could see...




Now mind you, I don't necessarily need a lesson in beer drinking.  But what kind of explorer would I be if I didn't investigate ALL of the options to report back to you with.  Around the tent, there were many different types of beer to sample.  Everything from the creatively named...


To the local standards...



To not quite beer, but tasty nonetheless...



Meanwhile, what would a day celebrating seafood be without a visit from pirates just in off the high seas...??



OK...maybe not the high seas....more like the Heavy Seas....



Who doesn't love pirates....really?

And I love these people....they really get into their crab!!!


Amy and Chris....passionate about each other AND crab!!


This guy wasn't even going to pick it out of the shell, he just went right for it!
I do have one question that hopefully someone out there can help me with.   Having grown up in Arizona, I couldn't just drive to a local pier, grab a handful of fresh seafood and have at it.  So when I would go to a restaurant in the area, whenever I ordered crab, it came with a nutcracker, crab-cracker looking dealio.  Yet here...everyone was expected to whack the crap out of the crab using wooden mallets...



Is this some type of coastal thing?  Is it a crab thing?  Or did I just lead a totally sheltered life and was never privy to the joys of annihilating my food with hardware??  Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

I discovered that the festival had more to offer than just beer and crabs....there was live entertainment...



(and no, there will be no pictures of my cumbia dancing...I didn't have THAT much tequila!)

and shopping...




Crab, beer AND handbags.  REALLY??  I hit the trifecta, people!!

And of course, no festival is complete without the used beer department...



By the way, have I ever mentioned my insanely ridiculous fear of portable toilets?  It's true...but we'll save that for another time.

So that is the joy of the crab and beer fest, my friends.  Cheers!!



And although I could keep typing, I've got a hammer in the toolbox I'm itching to get some use out of, there's a hot tub on my stove about to boil over, and a basket of hard shelled friends that are just dying to take a dip....