Monday, April 21, 2014

We Go in Search…

of soft shells.

We practiced due diligence. We called a day ahead. “Do you have soft shell crabs on the menu?” we asked. “We don’t have boiled crabs but we do have soft shells.” we were told.

So the following day we headed off to Benno’s on the Beach, a—there’s only one way to describe it—fish shack on the east end of Seawall Boulevard in Galveston, TX.
(There is an interesting back story to Benno’s that I related last year. Rather than repeating myself, you can go to our blog of April 14, 2013.)
It was a grey and windy Saturday afternoon when we arrived, and the outdoor dining deck overlooking the Gulf of Mexico was almost empty. This meant that indoor space was somewhat at a premium and almost every table was filled with diners, many of whom were noshing their way through piles of crawfish like the gentleman in the lower right hand corner of this photo
or munching on po’ boys. And what you see on this man’s head is actually a hanging plant in the background and not some elaborate form of pony tail.
And the line to order at the counter was long and remained long for the duration of our visit. But the order taker/cashier retained
her good spirits—even when the three young women in front of us ordered a three-pound serving of crawfish and wanted the charge split between three different credit cards.

So we took our place in line, and suddenly I noticed that there was no mention on the menu of soft shell crabs. This isn’t good. “Do you have a fall back position in case they don’t have the soft shells?” I asked Chuck. And a fall back was needed because we learned that they were out of the soft shells but now had the boiled crabs. In less than twenty-four hours the situation had completely reversed. Go figure.
So instead, I ordered the stone crab claws. Now the stone crab is an interesting creature. The body contains very little meat and it is the claws that are prized. And the normal practice is to only harvest one claw from each crab. “Both claws of a stone crab may be harvested lawfully if they are of legal size…, (but) this practice leaves the stone crab with few alternatives to defend itself from predators.

“…having (only) one claw (if the other one is harvested) will enable the crab to obtain greater amounts of food in a shorter amount of time (than if it had no claws at all)…. The quicker the crab can obtain the energy required to molt and grow its lost claw, the sooner this renewable delicacy will have another claw to replace the missing one” (
My order consisted of six claws sitting in a shallow pond of garlic butter, and if that wasn’t enough garlic, was accompanied by a loaf of garlic bread. The claws had been pre-cracked but the wooden mallet was necessary to complete the task. Now the shell of a stone crab is thick so the sound of my pounding reverberated through the room. And soon the shell shards began flying all over me, all over the table, and all over Chuck. “Is that a shell in your hair?” I asked him.

Once the shell was removed, the claw could be swiped through the garlic butter. Butter then ran down my hands and flavored the cuffs of my long sleeved t-shirt. Butter then ran down my chin and dripped onto the table. But the butter was also put to another use.
Chuck decided to order the fried shrimp poor boy that came with cole slaw, fries, and hush puppies. The shrimp came on a nicely toasted roll and the eight or nine crustaceans had been nicely tossed in a corn meal coating. Since Benno’s advertises that they “specialize in Cajun seafood” it should come as no surprise that they had been perfectly cooked.

The fries were good but, I am not a fan of Benno’s cole slaw. I didn’t care for it last year and still didn’t this year. But then there were the hush puppies.

Do you remember the poem “There Was a Little Girl” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?
There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good
She was very very good,
And when she was bad she was horrid.

Well, the same can be said about hush puppies. When they are good they are very good and when they are bad they are horrid. Benno’s jalapeno studded hush puppies are very, very good and they were made better—as Chuck discovered—when dredged through the garlic butter in the bottom of my plate. Then he tried the same with his fries. Fortunately there was enough butter for both my crab claws and his fries and hush puppies.
A rowboat hanging from the ceiling. ...I don't know.

While we were disappointed by the soft shell shortage, we still managed to enjoy a good 4.0 Addie meal.

To review the role of Adler and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.


adham said...

اهم شركات كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام كذلك معرض اهم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والخبر والاحساء والقطيف كذكل شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة وتنظيف بجدة ومكافحة الحشرات بالخبر وكشف تسربات المياه بالجبيل والقطيف والخبر والدمام
شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام

adham said...

اهم شركات نقل العفش والاثاث بالدمام والخبر والجبيل اولقطيف والاحساء والرياض وجدة ومكة المدينة المنورة والخرج والطائف وخميس مشيط وبجدة افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة نعرضها مجموعة الفا لنقل العفش بمكة والخرج والقصيم والطائف وتبوك وخميس مشيط ونجران وجيزان وبريدة والمدينة المنورة وينبع افضل شركات نقل الاثاث بالجبيل والطائف وخميس مشيط وبريدة وعنيزو وابها ونجران المدينة وينبع تبوك والقصيم الخرج حفر الباطن والظهران
شركة نقل عفش بالرياض
شركة نقل عفش بالطائف
شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
شركة نقل عفش بجدة
شركة نقل عفش بمكة
شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
شركة نقل عفش بينبع
شركة نقل عفش بالخرج
شركة نقل عفش بالقصيم

adham said...

شركة نقل عفش بخميس مشيط
شركة نقل عفش بتبوك
شركة نقل عفش بابها
شركة نقل عفش ببريدة
شركة نقل عفش بنجران
شركة نقل عفش بحائل
شركة نقل عفش بالظهران
شركة نقل عفش واثاث
شركة نقل عفش

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