Crab Louie, known as the King of Salads, will surely live up to its name, right? I debated and wondered if I made the right choice in my first seafood order of my life. Crab Louie is what the waitress recommended, since I had never had seafood before. Coming from the middle of nowhere in Iowa, seafood is not at the top of the charts at meal time. She said that crab meat isn't as fishy tasting as some of the other items on the menu, plus if I liked salad then I would love the rest of the meal and could pick off the crab. Yet, here I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my lunch.
First Time for Everything
My life has been pretty simple thus far; I work at the 3M factory close to my town. Most of my family is nearby or at least within an hour or so drive. My grandparents were once farmers, but have since sold their land to the government to not farm it. The farthest from Iowa I have traveled is Chicago. But today marks my first full day in the farthest place I've ever traveled...California.
I told my family I would eat as much seafood as I could stand, walk the beach as much as possible, and try to see a celebrity while I was here. That brings me back to my first seafood order of my journey. Crab Louie is simple enough at this restaurant. Crisp Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, and crab meat. Seemed like an easy recipe to follow if I ended up loving it. The waitress said that it is called the King of Salads because of the King Crab mounded on the top.
She then went into detail describing the salad dressing recipe. The salad dressing sounds similar to something we might make in Iowa: ketchup, mayonnaise, relish, olives, and eggs. I love everything that this salad is, except the idea of crab. The waitress said it was a firm shellfish that is sweet. I can't picture anything that once lived in a shell tasting sweet, but I smiled at her when she told me.
Lights, Camera, Action!
The picturesque view I get to enjoy is breathtaking. The restaurant is nestled right on the beach, with an outdoor eating area. The sun was high above, but with the sea breeze blowing in, it was not uncomfortable to be outside. You could hear the crashing of the waves on the shore and seagulls calling out to whoever will listen.
The waitress smiled sweetly and placed my meal in front of me. It was a large salad, and Crab Louie lived up to its name: King of Salads. A huge mountain of crab meat was piled high in the center of my plate. The waitress laughed a little when I took a quick sniff of the crab meat.
I could feel the waitress's eyes on me from her post near the building. She wanted to see my first reaction. I felt a little silly being so nervous about trying something. But my palms were sweating, and I was steadily tapping my foot. It was now or never. I carefully pierced some lettuce and then some crab meat and finally a little salad dressing and quickly stuffed it all in my face.
I may have closed my eyes, because I don't remember seeing the waitress walk over, but she was standing right next to me asking if everything was okay. I swallowed my food, smiled at her, and told her how wonderful it tasted. I loved it! She was right, crab meat is sweet. Crab Louie is a salad that I most definitely want to have again and again.
The salad dressing has a tang that makes the crab meat taste wonderful. The other vegetables that went into the Crab Louie recipe gave it texture and crunch. I took my time eating, savoring the time I had sitting at the beach and enjoying my first seafood meal.
Sharing the King of Salads
When I left California, ten days later, I felt rested and relaxed. Something about the sea air and sun that can do amazing things for you. Once home and settled, I decided to do a little research to find a Crab Louie recipe that would mimic the King of Salads I had. I found several different versions of the salad and even more of the salad dressing. It took me two days until I found one that reminded me of the one I had in California.
Once I found the recipe, I ordered crab meat to be delivered. This might be the one and only time I make this salad, because to have crab meat specially ordered so that it is fresh cost me close to eighty dollars. I laugh about it now, but in the moment I was so hasty in wanting to share the salad with my family, the price did not scare me. Two days later, my fresh crab meat arrived and I was ready to attack this Crab Louie head on.
Preparing a salad doesn't really take much time, but I was overly cautious in making sure everything was perfect.
I invited my parents and my sister to join me for dinner. I couldn't mimic the beauty of the scenery I saw while in California, but I did find beach sounds to play while we ate. But I tried to make it as authentic as possible.
We ate and talked and laughed about my trip and about things from my childhood. My father took one bite of crab meat, and went into the kitchen to make a sandwich. But my mother and sister loved Crab Louie just as much as I did. We talked about how much I spent on the crab meat, and I thought my father was going to fall out of his chair. I explained how easy the salad dressing was to make and where I found the recipe. My mother agreed that the salad dressing could be used even without the crab.
I had tried so many other dishes while in California; some I loved and some I am glad I don't have to eat again. But ultimately, trying new things is what makes life fun.