I am saddened to announce my friend and restaurant owner Mike Lee of the Cracked Crab has passed on to the big crab pot in the sky. He was my pal, fellow foodie and a good guy to grab a drink with guarantying a giggle at the end of a long, hard day. He was a renaissance man who lived a passionate life and touched all that knew him. He trained his staff well and most have been with him for years, so the restaurant is successively remaining. I went in to dine and honor a man who changed the food scene in Pismo Beach.
I have a few guilty pleasures. One being good wine, the second being Alaskan king crab. There is only one place in the United States you can find this delicacy and that comes from the Baltic Sea, and that’s at the Cracked Crab.
Mike had been going up to Alaska and bringing back the whole load of crabs from the Time Bandit fishing fleet and even hosted the whole crew in Pismo in 2010. Now Cracked Crab is the only American outlet that receives crab from Dutch Harbor. I sat down amidst the Jimmy Buffett music (another guilty pleasure of mine) and the murals of Pismo Pier to enjoy a huge hunk of crab in honor of my very missed friend.
Mike had told me adventure tales of a time when he traveled to Alaska and got to go out on the Time Bandit, meet the captain and crew, set pots and pull them in and watch how they processed the delicious crab to make it to California tasting as fresh as the day it was caught. He told of the plane (the only plane in that area) breaking down three times as he tried to leave and how the fishermen were as expected full of stories and whisky when not battling the elements. Mike bought 8000 pounds of this delectable food and brought it to our sleepy little beach town.
|Homemade Apple Cobbler
My crab arrived and I gasped at the beauty of it, three eighteen-inch long legs of the most delicious object on the planet. The Cracked Crab does a wonderful job at providing you with all the tools you need to break into these beauties, along with providing melted butter over a flame (so it stays that way), amazing cocktail sauce (the secret ingredient is a swoosh of tequila) and fresh lemon wedges. None of these was needed, as this was the most succulent, amazing crab I had ever tried. Perfectly cooked and so full of flavor, this truly is the food of Kings. I have never had crab this good. You owe it to yourself to try this. You may not be able to have the best car, designer shoes, or billion-dollar mansion, but you can have the best crab in the world and it is worth every cent.
The chef also prepared a rare dish of Copper River salmon for me. This long river causes the salmon to get fat and flavorful, sprinkled with capers, red onions and balsamic vinegar, it was perfect. I eat sushi all the time and I had never had fish this fresh or flavorful. Cracked Crab always has only the finest seafood for their customers; and their menus are printed daily for the freshest catches. I find even the sourdough rolls are flawlessly done and wonderful. I eat their San Felipe Style fish tacos weekly. These are cod filets breaded and fried, then wrapped in a corn tortilla with cabbage slaw and a special sauce. The Crab Cocktail is the best way to get delicious Dungeness crab without all the work and the key lime pie here is only matched in Key West Florida.
This is the restaurant to take anyone you want to impress whether it is company or your mother-in-law. I encourage you to treat yourself and go get the Alaskan king crab. Cracked Crab is located at 751 Price Street in Pismo Beach; they do not take reservations, but serve throughout the day. Call them at 773-CRAB or look at the wonderful pictures of Mike at www.crackedcrab.com.