Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Signs of Change

On a sweet, warm August day you can already see signs of the coming changes of season – and oh, the colors are so vibrant in the sunshine!


August 26, 2009 Posted by | Beauty, Living Conditions, Seattle | Leave a comment

Beautiful Flower’s Crab Cakes

Sometimes, the absolute best day happens and you had no idea it was going to happen – you didn’t plan for it to happen, it just sort of came about.

One of my two very good friends in Seattle is Beautiful Flower. We don’t call her that, but that is what her legal name means. After having lunch together in Ivar’s, a place we have haunted for years, we visited with my Mom and then she said she wanted us to go back to her house and make crab cakes. She and her husband had the good fortune to have caught their limit in nice fat crabs this last weekend.

I knew she was having guests from out-of-town, and I am a pretty good crab picker, so I said yes, besides, she has a new recipe from her daughter for crab cakes, and she says it is almost entirely crab, and it is a really good recipe, you can really taste the crab. Oh YUM.

So we put our aprons on and she put down a huge black plastic bag (if you’ve ever cleaned crabs, you know it is very messy work) and got out the hammer and the crab-crackers and the crab picks and away we went. She had four good sized crab – and it didn’t even take us half an hour to clean those beauties, giving us more than a pound of sweet, delicious fresh crab meat. We were talking so much we didn’t even notice how hard we were working!

Her daughter arrived, and they started putting together the crab cakes – just wrapping the crab mixture in panko, the Japanese break crumb coating.


We had a lengthy discussion about the right way to fry crab cakes – Beautiful Flower uses olive oil, but her daughter prefers straight butter. I love the taste of butter, but use mostly olive oil with just a pat of butter for the flavor. I think she used a mix, but we were all talking so fast I didn’t really pay attention as I should.

As my friend was frying up the crab cakes, she was telling us that she and her next two sisters all had names that started with “beautiful” but that when the fourth sister came along, her mother named her “too many girls!” Fortunately, the nurse at the hospital writing down the name wrote down “Proud girl” instead of “Too many girls” (they sound sort of alike if you aren’t listening too carefully).

My friend also told us she went to visit her mother in the hospital with her grandmother, her father’s father. When her grandmother discovered that her mother had another daughter, she was so mad she left my friend – 6 years old – and didn’t even visit her mother!

My friend, 6 years old, had to try to find her mother in the hospital and give her the food they had brought. But it was the middle of winter, and the nurses had covered up all the new mothers, from head to toe, so my friend couldn’t find her mother! Finally, somehow she found her and fed her, and then – at 6 years old – she had to walk 5 miles back to her house alone, because her grandmother had left her there! She said she didn’t talk to her grandmother for a long time.

Her daughter had never heard that story, had heard her mother’s sisters call the one sister “Lo Moi”, but didn’t know that it meant “too many girls!” The family still call the youngest sister “Too Many Girls” even though her legal name was Proud Girl.

See what I would have missed if we weren’t making crab cakes?!


Beautiful Flower’s Daughter’s Recipe for Really Good Crab Cakes

1 lb crab meat
2 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons chopped fresh chives (or green onions)
2 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons chopped fresh dill
2 Tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
salt pepper (we left it out because crab is naturally salty)
1/2 cup panko

Shape crab into patty, roll in panko, place on cookie sheet until ready to fry. Fry in lightly oiled/buttered pan until golden brown. Eat!

Crab cakes served with Beautiful Flower’s Daughter’s Homemade Plum Sauce:

(When I called my friend this morning to thank her for the wonderful time, I told her that I had a crab cake for breakfast, and they are as good cold as they are hot and she laughed and said she was having a crab cake for breakfast, too. What sheer luxury! Crabcake for breakfast! 🙂 )

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Biography, Character, Community, Cooking, Family Issues, Food, Friends & Friendship, Seattle, Women's Issues | 3 Comments

Tradition: Ivar’s in Mukilteo

I don’t know why I love going to this restaurant so much, but I do. The worst meal I have ever had there was mediocre, but considering we go there all the time, the majority of the meals have been between 90 – 100% absolutely wonderful. On this visit, my friend had clam chowder and the Fried Alaska Clams, and I had the crab bisque and the salmon on a bed of spinach. We were so busy talking, there are no food photos, I didn’t even remember photos until we were on your way out of the restaurant.

The Fried Alaska Clams, by the way, were so good that we ordered another order to go, and took them home to my Mother, who adores Fried Alaska Clams, and she said they were perfect!

The boat:

Looking toward the entry:

No signs of recession; the restaurant is full!

You can watch the Mukilteo Ferry come in and depart:

View of the pier on this gorgeous Pacific Northwest day, just outside Ivar’s.

The restaurant was full, but it seemed to me, at least on the lunch menu, that the prices are lower than they were six months ago. My friend said she thought so, too. A BIG bus full of Japanese tourists ate there, but the restaurant is so big, I don’t even know where they were eating.

And Purg, I feel so bad that there are no food photos from Ivar’s, that I took a food photo of the food in my refrigerator for you:

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Friends & Friendship, Living Conditions, Seattle, Travel | 5 Comments