The Hungry Cat Crab Fest VI

Maryland Blue Crab

It’s a famed event. After, all, we’re on the Crab Fest No. 6. But I’m late to the party and this was my first time around – but now I can finally say I’ve been initiated as a Hungry Cat Crab Fest attendee. The prix fixe pricing ($65) could justify itself well enough, with the starter courses providing a stable anchor to the batch of crabs to follow. The Peekytoe Crab Beignet with its spicy aioli was like a crispy wonder given a creamy kick. And the Solomons Island Crab Soup that followed was extremely flavorful and even a tad spicy, its vibrance really bringing my sinuses to their senses despite my recovering from a cold.

The spicy sauce that sat expectantly at the bottom of the bowl of Singapore-style Softshell Chili Crab rewarded me well. And it made me wonder less if the delicious, crunchy salad that smothered the crab was meant to distract in the first place. But what a refreshing salad to compliment the leggy crustacean. Just don’t ignore that sauce and accept the lesson in surface to meat ratio. Relish that softshell. Chew those legs!

And one thing’s for sure, you can always count on a good cocktail at The Hungry Cat. Solid pours all around – my mint julep not excepted. But when the crabs came out – and then again for round 2 (at 6 crabs per person), I was ready. Flip up that apron on his underbelly and pry his shells apart. Move aside his gills. Or hers, as a couple females ended up on our table – and a couple crabs with more liquid than meat. No matter, it was par for the course and we were pretty much satiated and salted. The copious amounts of seasoning weren’t quite the problem, but whatever of it was salt encrusted my fingers in white. My white napkin, as it stood, became streaked with orange. The camera never came out again, not even for dessert.

Mmm, the sides. The Roasted Corn Salad With Pablano Chiles, Avocado and Queso Fresco was sweet and savory – great for tempering our spiced crab. The Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes With Provolone, Red Wine Vinegar and Oregano came with sweet onions and a kick-filled arugula salad. And once all the shells had been wrapped in the once table-covering newspaper and stowed away, our Lemon Curd Parfaits with berries came out to put the tart period on the end of our 4-hour meal. Sorry – were you going somewhere? Whether or not you’re late, you’ll have to roll there, now.

Bottom line: The $65 price point is a good deal. Not everything was a home-run but the beginning courses and sides were tasty, the crabs are a tad salty, but let’s be honest. I have a hard time arguing with crab. Where’s that wooden mallet?!

The Hungry Cat
1535 Vine Street
Los Angeles, CA 90028


Mon – Wed: 12 – 11 PM
Thur – Sat: 11 AM – 11 PM

Happy Hour Mon – Fri: Noon – 6 PM
1/2 price specialty cocktails
1/2 draft beer

Every Tuesday:
1/2 off Bottle of Wine

Giddy Up: Mint Juleps On Derby Day

Mint Juleps | Photo credit to heathercapri on Flickr

This may not be Kentucky, but if there exists a people who are experts at pretending we’re something or some place we’re not, it’s us, Los Angeles. Celebrate your bets vicariously at the bar with a Mint Julep tomorrow (and today, if you prefer to celebrate early). There are plenty of spots around town to get a good version of the spearmint muddled cocktail.

Dominick’s (West Hollywood)

Dominick’s always brings a solid pour to the bar. Enjoy your Mint Julep surrounded by the ’50’s era decor with tiled floors, dark wood and deep booths. Or, since the wind has died down, sit outside on their pleasant patio while basking in the sunshine.

Open at 6 PM

8715 Beverly Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048

Thirsty Crow (Silver Lake)

I’ll take any reason to revisit the brand new, 1930’s-themed bourbon far from 1933 Group. In fact, I’ve already had their Mint Julep made with Maker’s Mark, and it was pretty fantastic. Don’t forget to play a song for a nickel on their 1936 jukebox. 

Open at 5 PM

The Thirsty Crow
2939 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026-2127

Elements Kitchen (Pasadena)

Enjoy the recently-revamped space with its modern decor while you sip your Bourbon and mint. As one of the most exciting places to eat or drink in Pasadena, Elements’ Mint Julep comes from a cocktail program designed by Michel Dozois of Neve Ice. What more could you ask for?

Bar Service 4 PM – 12 AM

Elements Kitchen
37 S. El Molino Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101

Rivera (Downtown)

They may serve food under the “Modern Latin” column, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the official Kentucky Derby cocktail from a menu designed by Julian T. Cox. The bar in the subtly-lit, elegant restaurant is the site of one of the premier drinking spots in Downtown L.A.

Open for dinner at 5:30 PM
Late night until 1 AM (Food 12 AM)

1050 S. Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Copa d’Oro (Santa Monica)

Whatever the cocktail and whatever the occasion, it’ll turn out top notch at Copa d’Oro. Special order up a traditional version or pick one of Vincenzo Marianella’s gin variations (the Freezing Jess includes elderflower and a touch of absinthe).

Open at 5:30 PM

Copa d’Oro
217 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401-2311

Have a great weekend with your mint-muddled cocktails!

There is something about a mint julep.
It is nectar imbibed in a dream,
As fresh as the bud of the tulip,
As cool as the bed of the stream.
There is something about a mint julep,
A fragrance beloved by the lucky.
And perhaps it’s the tint
Of the frost and the mint,
But I think it was born in Kentucky.

-Ogden Nash
Excerpt from: A Drink With Something In It