Tag Archives: crab

Best Thing I Ever Ate

There is a show on Food Network, called Best Thing I Ever Ate.  I guess if we all thought hard enough we could come up with something.  If we’re lucky, more than one something.

I’ve actually written about this before, and the Best Thing I Ever Ate were these pork candy goodies from a long defunct restaurant.  But that’s ok, because this past week it toppled from it’s pedestal and was replaced by something we had at Raku in Las Vegas, NV.

It’s no secret that I love to be WOW’d by food, both in restaurants and at home.  I’m not looking for some chef that can flex his technique-dejour.  Just because he just learned how to make foam or gelatin or some other IN thing, doesn’t necessarily make it good… just over used.

I’ll preface this to say, I love soft shelled crab.  Now I get that that’s not everyone’s thing.  But for me, the crunchy exterior, and luscious interior is just awesome.

So, without further ado… check this out:

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These are river crabs.  I had never heard of them.  But you have to admit, this presentation is amazing.  I couldn’t capture them well enough to convey the awesomeness we felt when they delivered this platter of cooked river crabs.  Talk about unbelievable finger food.


So, YES, you just pop one of these tiny little guys in your mouth and crunch through the crunchy soft shell to the soft interior.  I ate them in two bites, and savored them.

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I get that these are not everyone’s thing, and to some it might look more like Fear Factor than Best Thing I Ever Ate.  For me, they were the best.  They totally wow’d me.  The people next to us even took a photo.

Whether you like these little guys or not, if ever in Las Vegas, Raku, has an amazing tasting menu that I can never get enough of.  It’s worth the trip.  Just GO!


ANQi Costa Mesa

Talk about a family traditions.  The An family (House of An) has been making people happy with their Vietnamese / Asian food across California since 1971.  I was first introduced to them via my brother, Paul, at the Thang Long installation in San Francisco, where he raved about the famous roasted crab and famous garlic noodles.  This is a dish you can’t be afraid to get in and get dirty.  The dungeoness crab is roasted with a garlic sauce. A large part of the fun is to get in with your hands and crack the crab, and suck the savory bits off the shells.  It’s delicious fun.

There are also sister restaurants: Crustacean restaurant in Beverly Hills, Tiato in Santa Monica and AnQi in Costa Mesa with 4  An family sisters manning the individual kitchens with their secret recipes, overseen by matriarch Helene An.

Tuesday’s is the only day that AnQi in Costa Mesa offers An’s Famous Roasted Crab, so we actually extended our trip to partake.  We couldn’t help ourselves but go for lunch… and dinner, giving us the opportunity to try some of their small plates and appetizers as well.


AnQi is a beautiful place.  It is much higher end than we expected.. but then we were in South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa.  The interior had red lights, indoor trees, and hanging lights.  It was a stunning interior.  It’s a very Euro-Asian design.


For the purposes of this review I will combine the various courses we had at both lunch and dinner.  In summary, there wasn’t a bad meal there.  It was all good.  Where I had expected to love the crab… I actually enjoyed the appetizer dishes (like the fabulous calamari) even more.  Not that I didn’t enjoy the crab.. it was an experience unto itself.

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The calamari was lightly fried and very tender, crispy on the outside and nicely seasoned. The little bites of fresno chili and scallions added a nice kick… and the thai basil aioli was just the ice cream on top.

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The seared ahi tuna salad was fresh and crisp.  I loved the crunch of the cucumber, carrot, basil, and cabbage.  The soy – chili sauce that accompanied it made for a wonderful spicy dressing.  Very nice fresh tasting dish.

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The Crustacean shaken beef with sautéed Chinese broccoli with Chef An’s secret sauce was  perfectly cooked, tender and wonderfully flavorful.

Then there was that crab.

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The crab was just an adventure.  It was a good thing they sat us in the corner… where we could just go at it and tear apart and devour the succulent tender crab from it’s garlicky shell.  It was delicious… and good fun.