Dungeness crab may be named after a town in Washington state, but it is hard to dispute that this delicacy is more closely associated with the Bay Area. It is on the signage for Fisherman’s Wharf, and very few tourists who visit depart without partaking.
For those of us who live here, crab is part of the holiday season. The season opens each year right around the week of Thanksgiving, and runs through the spring. And every year, the fishermen hold the crabs at gunpoint until they get the wholesale price that they want. This year being no different, currently the crabs are blindfolded, claws restrained behind their backs. Thankfully, the crabbers are still hard at work in Oregon, providing a steady supply, and a price is expected to be agreed upon this week, ensuring a crab in every pot for Christmas.
Crab is such a part of our local culture that, in 1984, the Giants unveiled an anti-mascot, “The Crazy Crab”. An ugly foam crab with googly eyes, TV ads that season portrayed then Giants skipper Frank Robinson being physically restrained from assaulting the Crab. Fans were encouraged to poke fun at the Crazy Crab, and amid a ninety-six loss season, he suffered under a constant barrage of verbal assaults and thrown beers. He even had his own theme song, “All those fans in Giants land, love that Crazy Crab”, which brought boos and hisses as he scuttled from side to side. Occasionally the Giants break him out for a throwback night, there was a bobblehead night a few years ago, and there is even a fan club supporting his return to glory, called “Rehab the Crab”.
Dungeness crab season coincides with citrus season, which is a perfect pairing. On the menu now, one can find a salad of marinated crab, endive, avocado and Satsuma mandarins. Other crab dishes will surely make an appearance this season, such as the classic soup from Veracruz, Chilpachole de Jaiba. Even if you are an A’s fan, at Comal you can “love that Crazy Crab”.