I was up late, working on various things, when a stray link wandered across my photoreceptor array, and like a fool I clicked on it. I ended up on seafood YouTube. This is like porn to a west-coastie living deep in the center of the continent, so my eyes glazed over and I started to drool and I was probably looking a bit Homer-esque, I had to watch it all. A sample:
I eventually staggered off to bed, hungry. There is a dearth of exotic seafood here in Minnesota.
Maybe it’s just me, but Pacific seafood looks so much better than Atlantic. It’s also the size — Dungeness vs. blue crab, or geoduck vs. those tiny little clams that are mostly shell. Why bother? I’ve eaten most of the crustaceans and molluscs he brought out, but I’m not so enthusiastic about urchin roe, and what was that weird thing he called a razor clam? I’ve never encountered that thin strange beast. It’s apparently the Atlantic jackknife clam, Ensis leei, but I grew up digging the Pacific razor clam, Siliqua patula, which again is bigger than those reedy little Atlantic specimens.
I was also getting into the casually brutal way he dismantles crustaceans.
Anyway, now I’m hungry and tired, and I have a lot of work to do. I’m tempted to dart off to MSP tonight — flights are cheap I hear — and ruin my health and mental state further by bingeing at a Seattle seafood bar.
Not really. I’m not leaving my house for a while.
“Maybe it’s just me, but Pacific seafood looks so much better than Atlantic.”
Boy, I wish we could edit comments. Then again, the word “LOBSTER” is an effective refutation of your statement…
PZ Myers says
OK, I will grant you one exception to my otherwise true and valid characterization.
We don’t have any lobster here in Minnesota, either.
I find fresh dungeness crab or king crab to be decidedly more delicious than lobster.
Thomas Scott says
Washington shellfish farms are still working and shipping right to your door. Perhaps a couple of pounds of mussels would improve your outlook.
We generally get ours from Taylor Shellfish https://www.taylorshellfishfarms.com
PZ Myers says
A geoduck for $80 + $40 shipping?!?!! That just killed my appetite.
@microraptor: “I find fresh dungeness crab or king crab to be decidedly more delicious than lobster.”
I live in Atlantic Canada. I am not legally permitted to like anything more than lobster.
Patrick Slattery says
Uni (urchin roe) is one of those things that you have to have really fresh. If it’s not trying to get out of the bucket then it’s too old.
The first time I had it it almost put me off it for life, that was in the noted seafood paradise of Dallas.
The next time I had it, I was in a small sushi place on Venice Beach and a guy comes in with a bucket, hands it over to the chef and sits down beside me at the bar. The chef prepared some uni for him and he told me he had just been diving for them in the bay. I decided to try some and was glad I did, they were divine. Next thing I know it’s 3AM, and the three of us (chef included) had polished off that bucket of uni and a few bottles of Patron.
It’s an interesting channel. They also did videos about slicing “every kind” of fruit and one for vegetables. I also like their “4 levels” series where they have a home chef (level 1), an amateur chef (level 2), and an expert chef (level 3) make the same dish then have a food scientist (level 4) explain what they did.
I lived in Seattle for many years, visited the Pike Place Market frequently as it was a straight shot bicycle descent away (then back up powered by seafood). I loved the native varieties of salmon, especially the Chinook, and learned to cook it gently on the grill. I did partake in geoduck and clams and crabs but had less luck in preparing them, since they require impeccable timing, not easy a few beers in. I didn’t find much in the way of raw bars there, though I’m sure they exist.
I now live back in the Chesapeake Bay region. And yesterday I got sucked into watching Maryland Public Television’s shows Eating Oysters and Eating Crabcakes. A variety of raw oysters on the halfshell are incomparable to anything else. In the Chesapeake, they are differentiated not just by their breed but also their merroir (it’s like terroir is for land but now for sea). Different parts of the bay give different flavors. I have downed 60 oysters in a sitting and loved every one of them. And the blue crab meat from the backfin (their swimming muscle) is divine and makes a great crabcake. The first rule of a great crabcake is for there only enough filler just to hold the crabcake together before it gets to your mouth. What’s in the filler are tightly held trade secrets, and I keep tightly held secrets where to find the divinest crabcakes. Now I am really looking forward for the area to open up this summer enough to get seafood.
The Chesapeake bounty may not give you the large portions like you find in the Pacific and up the Atlantic Coast, but it’s quality over quantity, mates.
OK, wtf is it with gravatar.com not letting me log in with the WordPress account I’m using to post this comment?
I lived in Md for several years — Carroll County, not exactly bayside. Loved the crab cakes at Baugher’s in Westminster.
A couple of questions for PZ: with as many lakes as you have in Minnesota, don’t you have a decent selection of “local” fish? And, asking as someone who read Pharyngula obsessively for several years but not so much since about 2012 because my Internet access was reduced from essentially 24/7 to 3 hours per day maximum, when did your research interests change from cephalopods to spiders?
One of the seafood treats that we learned to love when we lived in Monterey Ca a few years back was calamari steak.
It’s considered to be a Monterey specialty and many restaurants claim that theirs is “The Best”.
While we were in exile for six years back in Texas, we checked all over San Antonio (and even in Houston and Dallas when we traveled) for a seafood restaurant that served it, to no avail. I did manage to find some frozen ones at the HEB gourmet store called Central Market on occasion and I would attempt to replicate our favorite version. I finally found the seafood provider that the store used – a place called Groomer’s Seafood – and I would buy a case of frozen calamari steaks for my home freezer.
It wasn’t quite the same as being in Monterey, but it was good.
Now that we once again live in Monterey, we were happily eating at every restaurant we could find that offered calamari steak. The quarantine has put a stop to that, but we can sometimes get fresh calamari steak, so I’m back to replicating our favorite version at home – sigh.
It took me five or six attempts at eating sea urchin roe (in Santa Barbara, the center of the West Coast urchin industry) before I finally “got” it. Now my body understands that it is one of the best things possible to eat.
I order it every time I see it available now. Don’t give up.
PZ Myers says
I’m not going to get fresh uni in Minnesota! So I am giving up, unless I get an opportunity to spend time on the west coast.
We do have an excellent selection of freshwater fish here. I’m a salmon guy, though, and we don’t have much of that.
I started getting into spiders two years ago, when I realized you don’t have to live in Hawaii to study eco-devo of 8-limbed things — they’re all over the place, just in a different phylum.