Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Crabbin' Cousins

What a crabby weekend.  The fam and I headed south to Monterey to get a glimpse of the water and stay at the Naval Post-Graduate School, with a Saturday evening jaunt to Hollister for the Portuguese crab feed at the hall.  The base's lodging is in the historic Del Monte Hotel, whose name has been demoted in grandeur to the more military-appropriate Herrmann Hall.  The grounds and the main building do not seem to have lost any of their original magnificence, however.  A stroll around the property, especially through the rose garden or by the shallow fountain pool, are particularly serene.  I spent my stroll hunting down the alleged resident peacock, who I have deemed a figment of my parents' imagination, as I have not glimpsed him on either of my visits.

Friday night we spent at the bar in Herrmann Hall, enjoying their "gourmet" cheese (does pepper jack in any way deserve the title "gourmet"?) and playing pool.  My mom even participated, to even out the numbers, and she and I were ecstatic when we succeeded in sinking one ball each.  (Don't worry, it wasn't boys versus girls.)

The next afternoon we headed to Hollister to get our crab on.  It's all you can eat-you bring the tools and they'll provide the bibs. 

The Portuguese crab feed has surged in popularity among Ashley's friends, so it was sort of like an Ashley & Ryan's wedding reunion for me.  I got to see almost all the bridesmaids/Vegas girls, and it made for a lively bunch.  One of them, Jen, felt crowned "The Chosen One" since her place had been set with not one, but two, bibs.  Ashley was cute trying to teach all the tricks, and was especially adamant about lemon under the fingernails to clean up ("Whatever, at least my hands won't smell like crab tomorrow.").

There's a running joke about the wine served at Portuguese functions.  My parents and godparents were recently at one of the Portuguese restaurants in San Jose, and commented to the proprietor that they really liked the wine because it reminded them of what they used to drink back home in the Azores.  He replied that everyone says that, which is why they don't feel bad serving the Carlo Rossi red to their patrons.  Such refined taste we Portagees have!  But hey, it's not easy to bottle nostalgia.

While the red is drinkable, I can't say the same for the Carlo Rossi white.   The website describes it as a "semi-dry white wine with...crisp, light taste and flavors of ripe pear."  That's quite an exaggeration for what tasted like spiked apple juice.  I asked my padrinho about it and he shrugged, saying, "Yeah, it's a chablis."  I couldn't help replying, "Well, it's cha-bad."

But how was the crab, you ask?  Well the crab was damn good.

Look at these handsome Portagees in their fancy aprons.  You might think I caught them at a particularly industrious moment, but no, they were taking a break to watch the niner game.

At one point, someone asked Daniel to describe the Portuguese beer, Sagres.  He pondered for a moment before replying, "It's sort of like a Mexican Bud Light."  Well, there you have it advertising execs.  Throw that on a billboard and call it a day.

It really was such a fun night filled with good food and family.  Plus, you can't beat a DJ playing Gangnam Style, the Electric Slide, and some classic Portuguese tunes.  Am I right?  

 Can't wait for next year!

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