Some people take these online relationships to the extreme and others such as myself find that a nice balance can be met between the real world and the cyber world friends. On occasion, I like to meet some of these online friends. To put a face and a voice to the words I see on my computer screen. I had such an occasion recently. Being near DC and a cyber friend I though actually meeting face to face would be a nice thing to do. Honestly, it’s not that scary. Most of the time the people you meet are just nice people such as yourself. They aren’t murderers or cling-ons. They’re not out to invade or ruin your life. They’re just people you’d befriend if your proximity was closer.
When Alk suggested we meet at an Arlington institution known as the Quarterdeck for some steamed Maryland crabs I jumped at the idea. Mrs. Sippi and I are huge fans of all meats that swim. (Or crawl in the water as is the case here.) She made us a reservation on the patio where we and our significant others gobbled up crabs and drank beer until way past my bedtime. We had a great time and can’t wait to do it again.
The Quarterdeck is a bit of a ramshackle place about two blocks away from the impressive Arlington National Cemetery. The interior isn’t much to look at although I did like the bar area we retired to after dinner. The patio was absolutely the place to be. Even with the temperature in the mid 90’s when we arrived, sitting on the deck with piles of crabs in front of you and the beer flowing was just an incredible way to spend a hot summer (Saturday) night. Jammed in elbow to elbow there’s just enough room to maneuver but catching some shrapnel from another table is a definite possibility (not to mention your own). So dress accordingly.
This is pretty much an eat with your hands place. I’m not even sure if they had cutlery. Wings, nachos and of course crabs dominate the menu. Even our sampler platter had tooth picks not forks.
But enough of this, let’s get crabby.
We started off with a sampler platter that was more or less forgettable. Fried oysters, shrimp, scallops and crab balls. The best part was the scallops. Pass.
The house battered onion rings were fantastic though. They hit the mark across the board for me. Thicker sliced onions and beer batter that passed the pinch and pull tests. (Hold a ring at polar ends and pinch together. The breading should still stick. Pull apart and the onion should not slide out.) I like to dip mine in ketchup.
The piece de resistance. The crabs. 2 dozen (best thing to do is stagger them a dozen at a time) large Maryland steamed crabs liberally seasoned with Old Bay. We got a quick lesson from the guys at a neighbouring table and more or less it’s as follows.
Rip off the claws and set aside.
Rip off the legs and discard. (Don’t bother with them there precious little meat.)
Remove the apron (the pointy part on the bottom of the crab.)
Hold shell side down and separate the shell and body. (There’s goodies in the shell. Mostly juice and fat that I’m told it’s not for the squeamish but I loved it.)
Break the two sides in half and pick out the meat.
Break open the claws and eat the meat.
We got drawn butter with it. The meat was great with it. It was great without it. It was absolutely phenomenal any way you ate it.
Wash it all down with a pitcher or two of Yuengling lager on tap.
You can find the Quarterdeck at 1200 Fort Meyer Dr. in Arlington, Va.
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You can also find them on the web here or like them on facebook here.
Well that’s all from the food court patio for today folk. Time to wash up.