Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Trolling: First Trip To The H Mart, Happy Return To the Crab Shanty

It's new food adventures and an old standard in this Trolling post from Marcia who struck out for H Mart in Catonville and took her mother-in-law to the Crab Shanty in Ellicott City.

It's the perfect Trolling because I have never been to the Crab Shanty even though it is a Howard County institution and I have been to H Mart so often that I can overwhelm new people when I explain what they can buy.  It's an email from November, but I'm just digging out from my email:
Popped rice bowls at H Mart
I finally got to H-Mart yesterday. Much to my relief, the clientele was varied, I was not the only non-Asian there. If anyone else is a bit nervous about going, I'd say I could identify about 95% of the items (not that I'd eat all those items, like the containers of blood, but I could figure out more or less what they were). The produce was very nice, I got a number of things including some beautiful tomatillos. I'll use those to make Tyler Florence's chicken echiladas with tomatillo salsa. Yum. 
Got some romaine lettuce, pea pods, and then spicy beef dumplings from the freezer case. I didn't get a ton - this time. Most of the produce looked really nice.  I saw some queso fresco in the dairy case that I want to try and so many types of frozen dumplings. So many different types of noodles, too, great for fall noodle dishes. I was surprised to see so many varieties of fresh mushrooms.  I'll be going back for those.

Also, we went to the Crab Shanty last night for the first time in five years or so.  My mother-in-law is visiting.  She's 80 yrs old and from the midwest.  She is not only fussy but very outspoken. Also, she's allergic to crab, but we chose Crab Shanty because it's close, they have non-crab dishes, and the prices are pretty reasonable.
I wanted to report that Crab Shanty is still a good standby.  Mother-in-law had the teriyaki salmon which she reported was very good and cooked perfectly. (She just came back from an Alaska cruise, she says the salmon on board the ship was horribly overdone).  My husband and I had their Maryland crab soup - a pretty decent version, pretty good Caesar salads (not overdressed), and I tried the crab canneloni. While it's not how I'd necessarily treat crabmeat, this was quite tasty. Crab mixed with mozzarella cheese, rolled up in what looked like lasagne noodle (not a canneloni shell), then just the lightest amount of tomato sauce on top. Nothing overwhelmed the crabmeat, I could still taste the sweetness, but the tomato and cheese were a very nice balance to it. Surprising. Good warm rolls and excellent service, too!
Trolling on Tuesday is my attempt at a series where readers would share three things with other HowChow readers -- favorite restaurant dishes, food to buy, food experiences, etc.  Click here for all the Trolling posts.  Click here for the explanation and the rules.  Anyone can submit.


M said...

I'm uncomfortable about admitting to the dinner at Crab Shanty, it's just not a place folks go to any more. I don't know about everyone's family dynamics, but if you have that particular visitor (as I did), who is not an adventurous eater, who is dare I say - crabby, outspoken, etc, etc, you sometimes need an old school place to go. CS fits that bill. They are noting the sources for some of their seafood on the menu, which I did like.

Marcia said...

ugh - that post is from me. messed up again

Leeann said...

Our recent Crab Shanty experiences have been disappointing. It was one of our favorite places to take out of town guests, especially during the holidays, but the last two times we went, the food was average at best and expensive.

OldWolve said...

I was surprised to hear a friend who lives close to H-Mart in Wheaton express some fear of going there because it was a "foreign" market. It might be foreign if you've never been there but it's not foreign in the sense you won't recognize most of the products. If you haven't been there, you owe it to yourself to check out the produce, meats and fish even if you have no desire to investigate Korean or Asian cooking and ingredients.

Marcia said...

Some years ago I went to an Asian market, no one in the market spoke English and it was very hard to decipher the labels on the products. I really got some stares as I wandered around looking for the items I needed for a particular dish. I have been cooking various ethnic foods for 20+ years, those of you newer to this sort of cooking don't realize how the markets have changed over the years and become more "western friendly". It is so nice. But I still hesitate about going to a new place.

Anonymous said...

Crab Shanty is running a deal right now $20 for $40 worth of cuisine http://bit.ly/f0JMJS