Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crab Cakes, Huell's Music Video, And A Question For My Readers

You may recall, dear reader, a post I did about six weeks ago, a stuffed flank steak I made as a surprise for my Elizabeth so that she wouldn't mind me watching Ken Burns's Baseball on the big TV while she watched Glee on the small, non-HD TV in the bedroom. My plan worked beautifully.

But that was a small effort compared to what I was trying to accomplish Sunday night. Not only was it a new episode of Huell Howser, it was an episode of Huell making a music video, singing "California, Here I Come." Elizabeth cannot handle Huell under the best of circumstances. When I told her what that night's episode was going to be, she gave me a look I usually only see when I tell her that New Jersey is basically the same thing as New York. (Which I admit I do too frequently, but if you saw how hilarious her reaction is, you would understand.)

Clearly, this was going to take a Herculean effort to commandeer the big TV. My idea was to make another dinner, something so spectacular that she would say "By all means, please watch Huell." Cleaning the Augean Stables would be easier than getting her to say those words, perhaps. For some reason, crab cakes seemed like it would win her over.

I've written many times of Taylor's Ol' Fashioned Meats in Sierra Madre, about their prime meats and marinated poultry. But I don't think I've ever mentioned their seafood. Because, on the whole, it's not very good. But they do have frozen crab cakes that I have made before that are outstanding: the kind of crab cakes bursting with crab and almost no filler. I picked up a package.

But, as I said, this was going to have be something more special than just crab cakes. Luckily, I had two other things going for me: my charm and a bunch of leftovers. Okay, I had one other thing going for me. We had some lobster chowder left from the night before, some fresh cilantro from the farmers market, and some"gourmet" potato chips.

I seared the crab cakes in a pan on each side, then finished them off in the oven for a few minutes. I plated them, drizzled some lobster chowder over the plate, and topped each crab cake with cilantro. (I heated the chips in the oven long enough to get them hot and slightly sweating oil, and I put them on Elizabeth's plate, but did not take any myself.)

They were very good, and once again my plan worked. I got to watch Huell. He was fantastic:


Now, on to the question I have for you. Next week I will create my 500th post. It seems like I just started doing this a couple months ago, I can't believe I will be up to 500. What should it be about? I can't decide. I was thinking about going somewhere for dinner Saturday night and writing about that for my 500th post. Should I go someplace that's meant a lot to me over the years? Pie 'n Burger? Hutch's? Yujean Kang? Should it be a celebratory dinner? The idea of going somewhere more formal is fun, but then again I rarely write about the fancy dinners I go out for, so that seems silly. Should I cook at home for some friends? Should I drink a few can of Guinness and walk down to McDonald's for a McRib?

I'm conflicted. Any thoughts are appreciated.

31 comments:

Melissa Good Taste said...

I think you should go where you love! And, maybe had closer up North, not far, like Ventura... So I can actually try the restaurants you review! Thanks! MGT

Anonymous said...

Dude, the Triple Kingburger at Fatburger! The perfect 500th post!

ben wideman said...

Yeah, it has to be something you enjoy, and something epic that you wouldn't normally do. I love the triple Kingburger idea, but you could also just go somewhere you like and tell your waiter/the chef to surprise you and write about what they select for you.

Have you reviewed the new NY deli? I'm curious as to what a real New Yorker like Elizabeth thinks of it...

Fritos and Foie Gras said...

I'm thinking you should go all out at an old favorite-really, nothing wrong with knowing what you like and sharing it via food porn. I am personally kinda looking forward to that triple kingburger myself...

Nosh Gnostic said...

Triple Kingburger idea is good, very good, but I wonder if it is wise to allow a single experience to make or break a landmark 500th post?
What about a best/worst list (more work on your part) or a trip down memory lane highlighting some great and not-so-great experiences (again, more work)?
Ultimately, whatever you decide to do, it will be appreciated by us, your humble and hungry fans.

JustinM said...

Melissa: We did so much driving around while Elizabeth's mom was in town, including Santa Barbara, I think this weekend will be a closer-to-home thing. But yes, there should be something involved that I love.

Anon: I have never even eaten a Double King. Hell, last time I ate the 8 oz burger and it was almost too much. I'm not sure I could do the 24 oz! That being said, it's still a good idea.

Ben: Nope, I have not been to the deli yet. I was going to go the day it opened, but I thought better of it and went to Seafood Grill instead. And my buddy Phil and I made plans to go last week but something came up and I couldn't. I will soon.

Fritos: I definitely think it should be something that I know will be good, so going someplace I love is appealing right now. A true celebration of the "every meal should be it's own party" thing.

Nosh: I agree with your logic, I would like it to be something that I know is going to be good. But I don't think I want to do a best/worst list for the same reason my heart sinks when I see that the Saved by the Bell repeat is one of those "flashback" episodes where they just show clips from old shows. New content is always better.

SuperLarge said...

Farm?

JustinM said...

I want to stay close to home, do something in Pasadena... but damn if that doesn't sound like a nice idea.

Anonymous said...

Take your parents to the Crab Cooker for their 39th wedding anniversary and order lobster.

JustinM said...

That's a suspiciously specific "anonymous" request.

Anonymous said...

pp- i say you cook for all the people you frequently mention here: tracy, your brother, elizabeth (of course), your friend the wine guy, your other friends whose names i cant think of right now, etc.

Emily said...

I think you should cook. I enjoy your fast food/restaurant reviews, but I always enjoy the posts about food you've cooked much more. Those crab cakes, for example, looked AMAZING!

JustinM said...

Anon: Thanks for the suggestion. Tracie and the Wine Guy (Tim) will be out of town this weekend and my brother is super busy. I do like the idea, though.

Emily: Is this Emily, my English Rose? I tell you what, even if I don't cook for people, I will make a dinner dedicated to you. What would you like to see?

Liz said...

Wow 500th post?!? Nice plan with the crab cakes btw ;)

Bryce said...

Strangely enough, the only thing that really annoyed me about that music video were the supposed 'professional' musicians...especially that guitarist in the black shirt.

Congrats on the 500th post. I'm sure something perfect will come to mind once Saturday rolls around. If not, I'll have a beer with you.

Diana said...

I don't like the idea of making such an important post focused solely on one restaurant/meal. Part of me thinks that it should be a marathon something-session. Like you did with the chili cheese fries where you tried a whole bunch of them. But I also really enjoy the homecooked meals and think that a big huge feast is in order. (It is Thanksgiving next week, but that would be such a copout.)

JustinM said...

Bryce: Hmm, taking my parents to lunch or making dinner for Elizabeth were tempting... but having a beer with you is the best idea yet. Can Amy come, too? Oh, wait, I saw her a week ago, that was my one time for 2010.

Diana: Weird. Were you a fly on the wall at happy hour with my friends and me about three hours ago? Because we had a very similar idea...

Anna A. said...

Your crab cakes look delicious. I love, love, love CC! I also agree with E about disliking Huell. Sorry. My mom loves Huell, if that makes you feel any better. I vouch for Elements Cafe in Pasadena, because, well it's awesome, BYOB (prosecco Saturday lunch?), and they have delicious food. Of I'd so get some ultra sinful chili cheese fries from some crazy place you've never been to, then pair it with some crazy alcohol. That's always fun!

JustinM said...

I understand Huell isn't for everyone. It does not bother me when (many) other people don't enjoy him.

I live less than two miles from Elements, one of my best friends lives literally less than 100 feet away, and another friend of mine worked there for months... but I still haven't been. I can't explain.

I have a bottle of Absinthe someone brought me from London 6 years ago when it was still illegal here. I haven't even opened it. Is that cray enough?

Anonymous said...

Cook a fabulous dinner to celebrate your parents' 39 anniversary. Invite your friends. Bring lots of wine. You can combine all ideas into one fabulous meal.

Emily said...

I am Emily, and I am English, but I am not particularly a rose. Anyhoo, I liked Diana's idea of a sort of marathon. A big occasion like this deserves something more that just one meal. But I like the idea of a meal dedicated to meal. How exciting! I am also obsessed with 'shrimp' (except we call them prawns) so anything involving them would be perfect.. :)

JustinM said...

Well, I'm a Dire Straits fan. (She thinks she's tough/ She ain't no English rose)

I think I have an idea of what I'm going to do for this event, but I promise a prawn dinner in the next week or so, dedicated to you.

(BTW I have at least a dozen English friends, so I am versed in the differences in most food words like prawns/chips/biscuits/bangers. It's taken years but I can understand almost everything they say now... except my Geordie friend. I have no idea what he means most of the time.)

Emily said...

I don't think anyone understands Geordies, though I'm not particularly a good example - I'm living in Glasgow at the moment, and I'm finding it hard to understand everyone here... Is your idea top-secret, or may we have a clue? Looking forward to the prawns :)

Emily said...

Sorry, I meant shrimp!

JustinM said...

My idea is not "top secret" - my friends Tim, Carla, Tracie and Elizabeth all know, as they are each playing some role in it.

But I will not be giving it away here. However, if you wish to email me I would probably tell you, as you have been a reader for quite some time.

Diana said...

I want to know! I've been reading for over a year!

But actually, I think it'll be better as a surprise.

So don't tell me.

I HOPE IT'S A MARATHON FOOD SESSION WITH LIKE 3000 PICTURES.

Emily said...

More like 5000. That'd make my day. But yes, I'm torn whether to find out or not. I do like a surprise... What day will it be on? Then I can look forward to it through my boring lectures.

Liz said...

Huell is not for anyone! And honestly, while I can tolerate a little of him here and there, this video was beyond.

I know part of the plan. :)

Emily said...

When is this special event going to be? Also, isn't the english rose thing from a Jam song?

JustinM said...

Wednesday. (I did a post Saturday just so the 500th post wouldn't be Thursday, our Thanksgiving.) The Jam indeed had a song called English Rose, however I have always liked Dire Straits much more.

Emily said...

That's fair enough, I suppose. I've never been a massive fan of the Jam myself. (Interesting trivia, since we're on the subject: I was actually named after a Pink Floyd song.) Looking forward to Wednesday! :)