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This Shoreline Seafood Boil will require both hands. It’s worth messing around with

My friend Bev was a real firecracker. She and I bonded over our love of food and often cooked together. In the kitchen, everything approached to taste Bev. The food could be delicate, of course, but it was also something experienced with both hands. One of my favorite dishes was the cracked Dungeness crab; the crab legs were thinly sliced ​​and tossed with his dried oregano, crushed garlic, olive oil and lemon. I once proposed to him for dinner and he looked at me like I had my ears back.

“They’re too scared to eat with their hands!” he shouted from the guest list.

Eating with her hands was the mark of a foodie for her. Someone who wasn’t afraid to pry delicious crabmeat out of their claws, someone who could be trusted to halve or bone an apricot before leaving the parking lot, and someone who definitely had to go to dinner.

He passed away in January, but I’ve been thinking about him constantly lately, because the harvest season that runs from summer to fall was my favorite time to cook with him. I was in Shoreline this past week at two places where I absolutely had to dig with both hands, and the meals I shared with my friends were the kind of treats Bev would have loved – full of laughter and conversation, not just focus. food but about life in general.

The next time you’re faced with a messy plate, reach in with both hands. I don’t think you will regret it.

Bag O’ Crab

11:30-21:00 Sunday-Thursday, 11:30-21:30 Friday-Saturday; 1295 N. 205th San, the shore; 206-546-8988; bagocrabwa.com

There are 13 locations From this seafood-centric franchise with California roots. The Shoreline location opened across the parking lot from Costco in February. The menu here – as you might guess – centers around seafood boils, which come in a bag. For non-seafood fans, there are also fries, chicken wings, garlic noodles and beef ribs. There’s also fish fry and a lobster roll, but I only had eyes for the seafood boil.

Boils can be customized based on a seafood specialty or you can order a combo, starting with the basic – Combo #1 includes a pound of crab and mussels plus corn, potatoes and a slice of sausage ($25.95) – gems – Combo #4. includes whole lobster or Dungeness crab plus a pound of shrimp, crab and clams plus corn, potatoes and sausage ($84.95).

Once you’ve determined what you want to boil, choose your seasonings. There’s a plain steamed option, and Cajun, lemon pepper, garlic butter, or Louisiana flavor. We chose Atomic Sauce, which is a blend of Cajun, lemon pepper and garlic butter. Finally, you choose your spice level – from “Not Spicy” to “Fiery XX”.

My friend and I were hungry, so we went for Combo #4 with a whole Dungeness Crab, Atomic Sauce, and a “Mild” spice level. We also got an order of the lemon pepper fries ($4.95). The boil arrived in a small metal pan sitting in a basket filled with bibs, wet naps, gloves, lemon wedges, salt and pepper and plastic forks.

We decided to take the dorsum and throw the bag of seafood into the can and make the table covered in wax paper to make shells. A strong smell of garlic wafted out as I unzipped the bag, and as I poured it into the boiling pan we laughed at the sheer amount of chopped cloves covering everything. What must have been at least four heads of garlic splattered all over the surface as if the chef had gone out of control with a clove of garlic. Melted butter mixed with Cajun seasoning formed a mahogany pool at the bottom of the can to dip the shrimp and potatoes in.

My friend and I chose to wear gloves (I know, I know) at first, but scooping crabmeat out of a claw with a plastic fork and gloved hands is insane. Soon the flimsy gloves had holes in them anyway and for what? If you’re going to go all in, go all in.

Although the mild spice level packed a surprising amount of heat – I think I’ll aim for no spice next time – the flavor was excellent. We squished among clams, cut off shrimp tails, shredded crab legs, and even nibbled on crab heads.

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The hot pot was perfect for two. And while it was a very tasty meal, I’ll be back to explore other boiling options when I’m not so hungry.

Pho 99 Authentic Vietnamese

10:00-20:00 daily; 19828 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline; 206-542-3634

I’ve probably walked this slide of a restaurant a hundred times over the years, but never stopped. It is located at the corner of Aurora Avenue and North 199th Street (south of the Costco complex). There is a small parking lot in front and around the back of the Aurora, with access from North 199th Street.

A friend and I entered the small mauve dining room before the meal began. There are handwritten signs along the new specials advertising that the restaurant now charges 0.50 cents for lychee juice (it used to be complimentary) and to be patient because it’s short staffed.

However, while the dining room was full, the service was quick, and started with a tall glass of lychee juice, along with two small lychees. Paper menus are stuck to the walls; In addition to soup, there is a full range of appetizers, rice dishes, teriyaki, salads and bún bowls.

My friend and I ordered the pork and shrimp spring rolls ($6.25), short rib pho ($15.95), and the fried pork skewers and egg roll ($15).

In short, everything was awesome. The shrimp rolls were tightly wrapped and packed with Goldilocks-esque fillings: three shrimp, a paper-thin tender pork, lettuce, and rice noodles held up nicely despite being dunked repeatedly in our personal bowls of peanut sauce.

The pho featured a fragrant broth and three large short ribs that didn’t quite fall off the bone. That is, I had to dip in with both hands to get to the meat without fancy.

Finally, the pork skewer with lemongrass and garlic was incredibly heavy, scrambled egg, filling still moist. The nuoc cham wasn’t very spicy or sweet, but if you want to step up the spice level of anything here, each table is stocked with a full tray of condiments.

And while I loved the pho – and will keep it in my back pocket as we head into the rainy season – the buns and the awesome pork sausage stole my heart.

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