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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Greatest Mail Order Crabcakes

Belinda asked me if I could search for the greatest mail order crab cakes. Sure. I've got nothing but food on my mind because I feel like total crap and it's better to imagine food than to actually eat food when you're feeling like this.

I know that there is a Maryland vs San Francisco Bay crab rivalry. To me, there is no contest. Absolutely none. Maryland Blue Crabs win, hands down. And I say that as a person that has not ingested a crab or crabmeat of any kind since around 1970. But I did live in Baltimore for a couple of years and I did eat more than my fill of delicious blue crabs, and they are literally heaven on a plate. My favorite are the steamed crabs dumped on your table that's covered with brown paper. You use a bib and mallets to crush the shells, and every piece of skin that touches the crabs starts to burn because they are covered with Old Bay seasoning. Hot, spicy and succulent. Can't get much better than that. Whereas California, where I spent my childhood, has big giant boring crab legs that taste sort of, well, tasteless.

I'm not an expert on crab cakes. Me, I make salmon cakes instead using canned red salmon (with the bones, quelle horror!). But I make them with a ton of Old Bay and matzoh meal and they remain one of my kids favorite meals. Anyhow, although I'm not a crab cake expert by any means, I have eaten in a couple of the more famous restaurants on the list below, and can attest to their excellence overall. So without further ado, here's my research which commences with an article on this very topic from Slashfood:

Crab cakes are a favorite food of many seafood lovers. They are made with crab meat that is bound together with a small amount of filler then fried (or baked) until crisp. There are a huge number of variations on the basic cake, but the most important ingredient is, of course, the crab. Summer is typically considered to be crab season, but thanks to frozen and imported meats, crab cakes are available to most people year-round. The question is not whether you can get them, but whether they are worth getting. The week, the Wall Street Journal's Catalogue critic asked that very question and taste-tested five kinds of mail-order crab cakes.

All the cakes had to be cooked at home before serving and all but one was shipped pre-formed. The top choices were Philips Seafood and Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes and More, which came in first and second with only the narrowest of margins deciding the winner. Third place was the Cadillac Crab Cake Co., the company that shipped the crab cakes unformed in a "loaf," allowing you to shape them according to your preferences.

The biggest drawback is that not only are the cakes expensive, but shipping is pricey, too, so keep that in mind when you decide you want a crab cake or three in the dead of winter.
Other restaurands that I am familiar with, and that ship crabcakes include Obrycki's in Baltimore and Legal Seafoods, a local Boston chain of fabulous seafood. At Legals, you can get a combination of crabcakes and chowder, just plain crabcakes, and you must must must add some bluefish pate to your order. Spread on slices of bagette, the bluefish pate is close to heaven in your mouth. We're lucky that one of Legal's restaurants is in our city, and it has a wonderful fish market attached.

I found a few other Maryland restaurants that ship crabcakes, but I have no personal experience with any of them. Here are the links anyhow. Crabcake Express and G&M Restaurant.

So there you go, Belinda. Hope you find what you're looking for.
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