Tuesday, January 6, 2009
But I was determined to have a hearty plateful of seafood, and the tour guide on Mr. Toad's Wild Tour said that Crab Ciappino was the way to go. I found a joint on Fisherman's Wharf and settled in at a table and ordered away.
What i wound up with (I had no idea what i was getting into) was a giant bowl of tomato broth (delicious, by the way) but it was filled with giant crab pieces , all in their shells. I've only tried to eat this kind of thing one other time in my life and it wasn't pretty. Add in the red soup aspect and i was destined to look more blood-spattered than Sweeney Todd.
And like Todd, you have to brutalize your quarry when eating a crab. Who ever came up with the idea of catching this giant monstrosity that looks like it starred in "Alien," and decided that it was worth the effort of cracking it open repeatedly and fishing out the meat with a dainty fork? On the one hand, it's a decidedly macho process; on the other, decidedly effete.
And I'm sorry, but I'm with the folks of PETA on this one. They think foie gras is bad, but how about this?! At least we're ripping it to pieces once it's already dead. But as I contort my fingers to wrest slivers of crabmeat, I realize my hands keep going numb from the no-doubt-permanent nerve damage I subjected them to on the GoCar, from numbing cold and attempting to navigate the world's craziest streets with only handbrakes to save me.
This is too much work, i quickly decide - I don't want to fight my dinner, i just want to eat it! I shouldn't need the technical skills of a surgeon to complete my meal. But then, maybe this level of frustration is why the Old Testament book of Leviticus frowned on eating shellfish in the first place.
But as I finally get the hang of it, a rush of adrenaline kicks in and I start ripping and tearing it, limb from limb, eventually staring into its gaping maw. I feel like I'm wrestling this beast more than the old guy in "The Old Man and the Sea."
Best of all, they rward you with a hot towel at the end. I also have a photo of the heaping mess that resulted, but that will have to be posted when i learn the technological wonders of uploading photos!