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Dungeness crab and black truffle update in Santa Cruz

Carb Lover | Jan 14, 200611:42 PM

Had a fun food shopping spree today even though the rain kept me from the Aptos farmer's market this AM. Went down to the docks at the yacht harbor this evening to find the SS Gayle selling live crab for $3.50/lb. The crustaceans were as feisty as I've seen them, and we took 3 of the larger ones, each weighing just over 2 lbs.

There are two guys who we've dealt with on the Gayle. We ask a few questions and they oblige w/ a brief response but they are solitary, no nonsense guys who aren't really into chatting or moving into a first name basis even though I'm sure they recognize us. That's fine. I like how they handle the crab, and they're good about selecting good looking ones and not rushing to get us out of there. The guy on Lou Denny is more rough w/ the crabs, causing us to cringe as they splat onto his boat deck and perhaps lose a limb. We're happy to see either of the boats when we're craving crab.

Steamed them per the usual, and the meat was the best it's tasted all season. Snow white body meat was tender and not stringy at all while the claw meat was very sweet. They haven't reached the same natural buttery flavor as last year, but I'm hopeful that they will just get better as the season wears on. Saved meat from 1.5 crabs to make something different for a change...crab spring rolls. Can't wait!

The other adrenaline-inducing event was seeing a sign in the produce section at Shopper's Corner (see link) indicating that they had black truffles for sale. I was shocked. Never expected that. Asked the produce clerk about them, and he happily brought some out for us to inspect and sniff. Even though I knew that the chances of getting a really superb black truffle from a brown paper bag at my local market was very slim, my curiosity got the better of me since I've never tasted a real truffle before.

They got this stash from Oregon, but they have imported them from Italy in the past. The price of $100/lb. seemed relatively low, which makes the quality even more suspect, but I took the plunge and bought a small nugget. It was quite firm and had an earthy aroma. Only weighed 3/4 oz. which came to about $5. I'm not expecting much, but it's a small investment for the possibility of a taste of heaven. It's my version of buying a Lotto ticket...

Speaking of mushrooms, the 32nd annual fungus fair is going on this weekend at the Louden Nelson Community Center. Believe it's from 10-5 tomorrow (Sunday). $6 for adult admission, and sounds very interesting w/ hundreds of locally foraged mushrooms for viewing. Y and I will hopefully drop in. I still hope to go mushroom foraging one day...I've seen and tasted some amazing porcinis that locals have gathered. I marvel at how lucky I am to be living here and to be able to enjoy the bounty around me.


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