Getting Crabby at the Piazza

I don’t get out to Northern Liberties nearly enough. There was a time, deep in my LivingSocial heyday, when I was out once or twice a week, helping with Beer Fest or setting up a BBQ in Liberty Lands Park or hanging out with my friends’ puppies. But then that ended (a moment of silence for the loss of the best part-time job of all time…) and all of the sudden I found myself a No-NoLibs-er. Well, that’s all about to change.

soms

My baby brother Somers, self-proclaimed Philly Sports Fanatic who’s been suffering in DC for the past several years (who is actually like…6’4” and towers over me now) is moving to Philly! Specifically, Northern Liberties. If this isn’t cause for celebration, I don’t know what is. And, lucky for me, the folks at Crabby’s Café and Sports Bar felt the same, inviting a handful of us Philly folks out for some crawfish sucking, claw-cracking, mollusk munching fun in The Piazza last week.

Philly PR Girl Kate laying down the deets

Philly PR Girl Kate laying down the deets

Unfortunately, I had volleyball game that evening, so cocktails and craft beers were not in the cards (though it did appear that they had a nice selection of beers on draft, and were pouring these “Happy Crab” cocktails that looked like neon KoolAid and apparently was a boozy treat.) But volleyball couldn’t stop me from chowing on the eats presented to us in the best fashion possible: In themed waves, with giant sheets of paper covering the tables and an endless supply of paper towels. I love a spot that not only tolerates messy eating, but encourages it.

Luckily, bibs were provided

Luckily, bibs were provided

We were given trays upon trays of crabby fries, sweet potato crisps dusted with powdered sugar (why don’t more restaurants do this?!), and my favorite, Crabby Wings!

photo 4

They wouldn’t reveal what made these wings so crabby, but they had a distinct taste that separated them from your typical buffalo wing (which they do offer). My guess is fish sauce, but the jury’s still out. Well, I do appreciate some mystery in my meals… There was no mystery in these mussels, though.

p6

I feel sorry for the folks who didn’t spend a LOT of time getting up close and personal with these bad boys. Marinara mussels, served with crusty garlic bread (and, unfortunately, plastic forks… kind of cheapened the experience for me) were perhaps my favorite course of the meal. But we can’t forget the coup de grace: The Seafood Boil.

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LOBSTAH! Crawfish! Clams! Corn! Sausage! Everything but the kitchen sink. Except that it sort of looks like it is served in a kitchen sink, so I guess that doesn’t hold.

**Everything IN the kitchen sink.

I opted to sit at the “spicy” table, but honestly, wasn’t too burned out by the spice factor. I think that, even despite the Vietnamese influence on many of the dishes, they try to make it palatable for folks. Those lobster claws were elusive on the meat front, and we managed to break not just one but two claw-crackers during our meal. Luckily, they made for great photo props.

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I had to dine-and-dash a little early to skitter off to volleyball, but was excited to see Crabby’s is doing a handful of big events this summer, including a Luau Party July 19th (pig roast!), a Crawfish Boil August 9th, and a Clam Bake September 13th. If you’re starving for some seafood and sports and suds in a relaxed setting…. Well, I think you couldn’t pick a better spot than Crabby’s.

Don’t Skimp on the Shrimp (Omelet)

Ooooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?

OOooh, Heaven is a place on EARTH!

And that place is in my kitchen. Or, I guess, now, my belly.  But first…

CX30 + BodyCombat = WHOAH!

Les Mills, you’ve done it again.  O2 Fitness Clubs launched the newest releases of their infamous Body____ classes and, since Saturday, I’ve tried BodyJam, BodyCombat, and CX30.  Each one was more hardcore than the last.

Yesterday, it was a double whammy. CX30 was up first, followed by BodyCombat.  And I kept the HRM on the whole time.  An hour and a half later, 1,227 calories blasted, and approximately a hand towel’s worth of sweat drenching my body, I felt like a superwoman.  I also felt like I needed to eat a house.  I didn’t, I enjoyed a homemade whole wheat, eggplant, spinach, Parmesan, mozzarella, and Sockarooni pizza (I should’ve shaped it like a house).  And then, with the help of my new favorite app, I slept like a rock.

But today is a new day.  A day that I was craving seafood.  The pickin’s at home were slim, but there was something beautiful in the fridge.  Well, a few somethings beautiful.

Shrimp, avocado, tomato

Come to MAMA!!

Inspired by this Shrimp and Avocado Omelet recipe from Whole Foods, I scrambled the heck out of two eggs, chopped my ingredients, and hoped for the best as the eggs fried in some EVOO.

Sizzling

I have to use up my never-ending supply of spinach, so I added that to the innards of this omelet, along with the (pre-cooked) shrimp (from Target… not exactly the local fishmarket, but it’ll do in a pinch.)

This totally screams “throw me inside some eggs!”

And, after a flip and a fill, followed by a fold, this omelet was ready to be topped with the always-decadent combination of tomato and avocado.

You should want this in and around your mouth

This protein-packed omelet will certainly get me through the rest of the day and, though it was jam-packed with shrimp, I can’t help but feel like I have a seafood itch that needs scratching. And I know just the shellfish to scratch that itch.

Yummmmm

Yummmmm

Oh, Aqua Grill, take me home…

Do you eat seafood? If so, what’s your favorite? ANYTHING I CAN MAKE?!

I don’t think I even tried fish (other than canned tuna) until the past year or so….  Now it’s become one of my favorite ways to eat flavorful AND healthy meals.

NYC Take Three: Cousins Club Takes Aqua Grill

So in case you missed them, here are a few recaps from this weekend’s trip to NYC:

Saturday night, though, was for family.  If you’ve been reading for a bit, you may remember my cousin’s NYC wedding last month!  Well, the happy couple just recently got back from a glamorous honeymoon in Turkey, and offered their home for a little happy hour before dinner.

Ted and Whit, the happy couple!

The title of this post actually references to the “Cousins Club” that all of my younger cousins had growing up. My mother’s one of 8 kids, so you can imagine there are quite a few cousins in that club.  Well, this past weekend, I felt like we were the grown up generation of the Cousins Club!  And what’s more grown-up than a bit of a cocktail hour for the Cousins?

Whitney and Ted were fantastic hosts, and really pulled out all the stops for their guests (namely, Claire and me).

Quite the spread.

Quite the spread.

We got to tour Whitney and Ted’s apartment, which was adorable and perfect and totally reflected them.  Whitney even picked up some tasty craft beer, knowing how much I love it!

Clearly I was a fan.

Clearly I was a fan.

It was the Smuttynose Imperial Stout, and it was rich, malty, and oh-so-drinkable (perfect to go with all the salty cheeses and meats!)

After a quick photo op, we were on our way to one of their favorite restaurants, Aqua Grill.

Tiny tiny tiny

Tiny tiny tiny

Aqua Grill, located in the Financial District, is one of the newlyweds’ favorite spots and, the moment we walked inside, I could tell why.  The atmosphere was infectious. Even though it was a late dinner (around 10pm), the joint was bustling. There was a din of chatter and laughter, the lighting was warm, and they had a gorgeous display of raw oysters as we passed the bar.  I could tell we were in for a treat.  I ordered a Jalapeno Quencher, the spicy cocktail I mentioned in this week’s Six Pack Sunday. It was delicious and, after careful deliberation, we decided to order four different kinds of oysters for the four of us (16 oysters. MATH!) I even took a picture so I wouldn’t forget which ones we ordered.

Ah, memories.

Ah, memories.

We did an impromptu “oyster tasting”, which was actually my first opportunity to taste the different types of flavors that you can get from different types of oysters. They were creamy or briny, and we also ordered my first “wild” oyster. Maybe it’s because I date a fellow raised in the Cajun tradition of loving all things oyster, but this was just an awesome experience. We let our tongues do the tasting, and it was an exploration of flavors before the main course.

I'm selfish for shellfish

I’m selfish for shellfish

Ted also ordered us a little sushi type dish but, I’ll be totally honest, while it was tasty, it almost paled in comparison to the oysters and the main course.  For moi?

Heavenly

Heavenly

Seared Diver Sea Scallops with Dungeness Crabmeat Risotto and Sugar Snap Peas in a Tomato Shellfish Emulsion

MY GOODNESS!! This was to-die-for!  I’ve only had scallops once before and these were so on point, matched perfectly with a creamy risotto and the sugar snap peas were a surprisingly crunch every time I bit into one. I think my favorite was putting a little bit of each piece on the fork before eating to merge all the flavors and textures in one divine bite.  I can’t speak highly enough about this dish.

Aqua Grill certainly did not do us wrong. Although there was a bit of a wait for some of the dishes, it was a packed Saturday night, so I kind of expected that. No worries, as the company more than made up for the wait.

My tummy was so stuffed and sated by the end of this meal, I felt like I should either float or be rolled back to the apartment. We made a quick attempt at “going out” but, after weighing our options (and pushing through the crowds at another crowded NYC bar), we thought it might just be more pleasant to fall blissfully into bed, dreaming of salty oyster shots and luscious scallops.

I’d say that if the younger generation wants to compete with this cousins club, they have some work ahead of them.