My Dungeness Crab Adventure


Let’s say you’re growing up in Boca Raton, Florida and you’re looking at a map and someone says to you, “Point to a place in America that seems the most exotic to you, the most far away?” there’s a good chance you might point to Washington State. After all, it’s pretty much as far as you can get from Boca Raton within the continental U.S. And growing up, as I did (past the age of 11), in South Florida, I very rarely–if ever–entertained the idea that I might, one day, find myself in Washington State, on a barely inhabited island on the San Juan archipelago, sitting in a rowboat with my boyfriend, his dad, and brother, pulling up traps of giant crabs that we would take ashore, smash on the side of a bucket, and cook in sea water. The closest I ever got to cooking and killing my own seafood in Boca Raton was choosing a lobster from the tank at Red Lobster when I went there with my grandparents.

Flash forward to me at the age of 29: generously invited by Craig and his family to join them for five days on the San Juan Islands where we would catch, kill, clean and cook our own fresh Dungeness crabs; I was suddenly about to experience the most exotic adventure the younger me could’ve imagined.

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The Great Crab Debate

For as long as I’ve known him, Craig has waxed lyrical about the Dungeness crabs he and his family eat when they go to their cabin on the San Juan Islands, pull the crabs right out of the water, boil them and eat them right on the spot. Diana, however, who comes from Virginia is partial to the blue crabs she gets from the water near her house, cooked in a mixture of beer and various seasonings. Mark, her boyfriend, who’s had both Diana’s blue crabs and Dungeness crabs (though, not Craig’s Dungeness crabs) prefers the blue crabs and you can see them agitating Craig in the above video.

I’ll finally get to taste Craig’s beloved crabs a week from Friday when I fly out to Seattle for a week-long visit to Bellingham and the San Juan Islands. Meanwhile, those of you who’ve had both, which do you prefer: Dungeness crabs or blue crabs? If you say blue, prepare to get angry e-mails from Craig.



Bar Pitti in the West Village is a reasonably-priced restaurant; you can get pastas there for close to $10 that rival some of the better pastas in the city (I especially admire their eponymous pasta, one that involves sausage, tomatoes and cream.) However, two weeks ago, I found an item on their menu to be a bit overpriced: burrata for $19.

Craig really wanted it. “Ooooh,” he said. “Should we splurge?”

“No!” I yelped, or exclaimed, I don’t tend to yelp. “I can get burrata at Union Market in Park Slope for $9.”

Emotional Intelligence is a measure of how long you can delay gratification. Craig showed great emotional intelligence that night and, sure enough, as his reward I bought him burrata from Union Market last week. I also bought a container of cherry tomatoes, basil and a shallot and concocted the dish you see above; (slice the tomatoes in half, thinly slice the shallot, julienne the basil and toss it all together with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.)

What is burrata? Burrata, according to Wikipedia, is: “a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it a unique soft texture.”

Yes: indeed, when you cut into burrata it’s like whipped cream inside a marshmallow. Add those acidic tomatoes, splashes from that vinegar to cut the creaminess, and you have a superior summer dish.

“Mmmmmmm,” sang Craig, something he really does (I know I have Craig “mmmmmm” too much on my blog.)

“See, aren’t you glad you waited?”

But he didn’t answer. He was in burrata heaven.

Grand Sichuan


Do you have a favorite restaurant where you go again and again and always order the same things? We do. That restaurant is Grand Sichuan on St. Mark’s and I can’t believe I’ve never written about it.

Our meal always begins with the dish you see above: pork soup dumplings. “Can’t we try something else?” I ask Craig each time we go but Craig is adament, especially about his soup dumplings. “Nu uh,” he says. “We’re getting soup dumplings.”

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Spiced Eggplant Salad


Every relationship has rules. For example, in some relationships the person who makes dinner doesn’t have to do the dishes. In others, the person who cleans the bathroom doesn’t have to take out the garbage. In my relationship with Craig, there’s one overriding rule that must be obeyed or everything will crumble to pieces. That rule is: “Adam, don’t buy any more cookbooks.”

My cookbook shelf is positively bursting with cookbooks. 60% are cookbooks I purchased before meeting Craig, but the other 40% are books that are sent to me by eager publicists who, much like my publicist when my book came out, want maximum exposure for their books. I can’t say no: my policy is, I’ll accept the book (assuming it’s a book I think I’ll be interested in) and if I like it I’ll write about it. But the truth is, if it’s a text-based book there’s no way I’m reading it before the year 2020–I’m a slow reader and for me to spend time reading a book, I have to really, really, really want to read it. If it’s a cookbook, I’ll flip through it when it arrives and if I like something in it I’ll cook it and if it comes out well, I’ll blog about it. Obviously, that doesn’t happen too often because how many posts can you recall from recent memory that I cooked from a new cookbook? I can only recall one, and that wasn’t even a cookbook: it was a promotion for an upcoming cookbook.

All of that’s to say, I’m not allowed to buy cookbooks. “You don’t need any more cookbooks,” Craig will say when I’m tempted. “Where will you put it anyway? There’s no room.”

He makes very good points. And I’ve been good, I’ve followed the rule pretty dutifully for the past year. Only, over the past few months, I slowly fell for a book I flipped through again and again in the bookstore. Finally, after months of flipping, I decided to break the sacred rule. I bought it. I took it home. I hid it under the mattress. Craig didn’t know, he still doesn’t know. Thank God he doesn’t read my blog (well he does occasionally.) What book was it that made me break my pact? You must click to find out….(unless you’re reading this in some kind of reader, in which case the answer is right below this sentence….)

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Those of you who know what omakase is, you may want to skip this post. This is for those of you who see the post title above and you’re scratching your head and wondering: “Huh?” This post is for you.

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An Atlanta Lover’s Guide To Atlanta


Dear Matthew,

You are the director of my show The FN Dish and you are a smart, capable, likable fellow with good sense and judgment. Except, when it comes to one subject, you are a big dumbass. That subject is Atlanta.

You may remember that a few weeks ago, there was a plan for us to go to Atlanta to shoot a segment with Guy Fieri and possibly Alton Brown. You told Rachael, who also works on our show, “To get us in and out as fast as possible, I hate Atlanta.” It’s entirely possible that when you said those hateful, hurtful words you’d forgotten that I’d spent 7 years of my life in Atlanta and that it still holds a very dear place in my heart.

“Matthew!” I said. “Are you nuts? Atlanta’s awesome–we should stay there as long as possible.”

“Yuck,” you replied. “No thank you, you can have it.”

Strangely, I felt like I understood your misguided vitriol. I, myself, once had a very limited view of Atlanta. Back in middle school, I’d visited Atlanta with my JCC Teen Tour (yes, I was a Jew nerd) and we stayed downtown, ate at the Hard Rock Cafe and took a tour of the Coca Cola museum. Atlanta, for me, was much like what New York must be to the tourist who stays in Times Square, visits the M&Ms store and sees “The Little Mermaid”: a giant, soulless, corporate entity with no life, no quirk, no spark. I’m pretty sure that’s your slant: you came to Atlanta for work, you stayed in an ugly chain hotel, and ate your meals in sterile silence.

Well, Mr. Matthew, consider this e-mail your gateway to a whole new Atlanta. I will show you, in the next thousand paragraphs, everything you missed and why you are indeed such a dumbass. In fact, I’ll write you a guide. Here’s how to enjoy Atlanta the right way, a proven way. How is it proven? Craig came along with me this weekend for his first Atlanta visit. He was wary at first–“Atlanta?” he asked from the couch when I suggested it, “I dunno”–but, by the end, he was in love. Seriously. He’s doing the dishes right now, let me ask him.

“Craig, what do you think of Atlanta now that you’ve been there?”

“It was funky and edgy and reminded me of Seattle.” Which is high praise because Seattle is where he’s from and he loves it.

So here we go: An Atlanta Lovers Guide to Atlanta.

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Craig for Hire

Hey, remember that lobster roll video I did for Serious Eats? And the one about eggs benedict? Well Craig, my better half, is the cinematic genius behind them and he’s looking to do more work writing, directing, and editing short form content. He’s about to get his MFA in filmmaking from NYU and he just shot his first feature (see here). If you or anyone you know have anything for him please shoot him an e-mail at craigj214 AT Thanks!