Having just returned from a very enjoyable trip to the West Coast—specifically the Bay Area—my belly is plumper, my face more tan, and I have a noticeable smile on my face—probably due to all the good food I ate. Though I need no excuse to visit SF and its environs, The CIA (as in Culinary Institute of America) brought me out this time to speak at their 15th World’s of Flavor Conference, where I presented Sri Lankan food along with Colombo’s own Chef Koluu. I also hosted my first Sri Lankan Supper Club in in the city, and even found time to check out some amazing Asian spots in my new favorite dining district, Inner Sunset. I did not have a bad meal during my entire trip, but if I had to single out the most memorable one, I would have to say it was Bay crabs steamed in Old Bay.
Now, being a Baltimore cat, I’ve had steamed crabs more times than I can count, but what made this meal indelibly imprinted in my mind was the fact that we caught these crabs ourselves—a first for me. My buddy Gabe, who lives in SF, has been taking advantage of his town’s proximity to nature and recently bought some crabbing nets. Gabe, like myself, is a serious DIY guy, who loves to eat, and having sampled his simple but divine crab bisque on my first night visiting, I had to have him take me to the source.
And that’s exactly what we did. On election day, which was a balmy 80 degrees in the Bay Area, we spent most of the afternoon on a little pier overlooking the iconic Golden Gate, tossing in crab nets, sipping brews, and waiting for the nets to fill up with delicious crustaceans. There are three kinds of crab in the San Francisco Bay—rock crabs, red crabs, and the popular Dungeness, which you are actually not allowed to catch in the Bay, but rather only in the Ocean. We actually trapped quite a few of these beauties, but had to throw them back in along with the red crabs that are less than 4 inches wide.
But crabbing is hella fun! All it takes are some nets, some bait, and a little patience as you wait about 10 minutes before hauling in your catch. It’s a bit like playing the slots—you never know what you’re going to get (or if you’ll get anything at all). And the whole concept of catching your own food, puts a whole new spin on dinner. It just tastes that much better because of all the effort you put into it, and the excitement of pulling in a load of keepers is even better than winning at slots.
Gabe himself cuts quite a character. He makes his own bread, his own pickles, and even his own kombucha. He also makes his own music, and that is, in fact, how I know him. Dub Gabriel, as he is known worldwide and outernational, was into dub music long before the hype, and he will be doing it long after everyone else has gone on to greener pastures. In fact, he is just getting another album ready as we speak, and you have a chance to support him in these efforts by following the link below and making a donation to his Kickstarter campaign, which has only a few days left.
Help Gabe reach his goal before time runs out!