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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fisherman's Wharf - Dungeness Crabs, Alcatraz and Shopping Bags

Fisherman's Wharf is a historic landmark in San Francisco. It is the original home of San Francisco's fishing fleet dating to the days of the Gold Rush (mid-19th century). Though there is still a very active fishing fleet here, the area has also developed into one of the city's largest tourist destinations. I was able to re-visit the area for the first time in years during my recent holiday visit.
Fisherman's Wharf is fun for the whole family, and an easy place to spend an entire day. Its attractions include Pier 39 (shopping and sea lions), Ghirardelli Square (chocolate and specialty shops), street performers (singing and juggling), and the San Francisco Maritime National Park (museum and historic vessels). One can take a boat over to Alcatraz for a day's tour, or just have a leisurely bay cruise. If you don't have good sea legs, just amble along the boardwalk; it has great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
Fisherman's Wharf has become a foodies delight over the years. One can find a myriad of seafood delicacies, and the curbside stalls' and restaurants' steaming crab cauldrons fill the air with a delicious aroma. There's so many options to choose from here, whether its one of the dozens of sidewalk stands or more famous establishments such as Boudin (legendary sourdough bread bowls with clam chowder), Ghirardelli Chocolate (probably the best chocolate, ever), Buena Vista (famous Irish coffees), Fisherman's Grotto (Crab Lious and Cioppino), Alioto's (pan-fried calamari and seafood cannelloni).
Dungeness crab is a San Franciscan favorite. They are indigenous to North America's west coast, and are harvested from the northern reaches of the Aleutian Sea off Alaska and as far south as Point Conception in California (just north of Santa Barbara). They were once plentiful throughout the San Francisco Bay, but high demand has seen their numbers dwindle; today, crabbers must venture outside the bay's mouth to the Farallon Islands to find these tasty critters. Dungeness Crab meat is renowned for its perfectly tender texture, and its mild, sweet, and slightly nutty taste. It's popular for salads, bisques, and just plain old eating.


  1. Had a nice Dungeness Crab in Jenner, CA at sunset overlooking the Russian River Delta.
    Brilliant and now I wonder if it'd be only better w/ your 2008 Cal Poly Pinot Noir (which is on order).

    1. Thanks Jim, good plug for the wine but would go much better with the Chardonnay!

      Let me know what you think of the wine when you get a chance to drink it, or hold on to it for a while as it will age!

  2. A Chard, this time of year in the East Coast? Only if it can hold-up to being room temp. Plus the crab was prepared not as delicately as you might ordinarily expect - more savory than sweet. Though, man, I love a Buttery Caneros Chard (Rombauer) or the one out of Talley in SLO/Arroyo Grande was equally terrific. Jim

  3. PS. I think we probably did have a Russian River Chard at the time.

  4. SO - Your Pinot is brilliant - the next day. Full flavored.
    Definitely recommend decanting well before drinking.
    First taste, while good, was mostly "after-taste" - the fruit wasn't there, yet. But, still in the bottle, the day after - it was utterly delicious.
    How long should it be cellared - if at all?

  5. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed!. Little bit of air will help, but don't decant vigorously or for too long. I think it's drinking pretty well now, but it can cellar for another few years easily.

    1. Both bottles we've had were definitely better and fuller w/ the fruit up front on the second day.
      In the winters here the house is below 70 so perhaps in a warmer climate it comes up front right away.
      Looks beautiful where you are - too envious.

      NJ, NY cold use your expertise (Just had a small Vermont - not known for wine - Pinot and - we think - it was harvested too late. Very sugary and slightly off. maybe badly corked (stained halfway up)so we'll try again)