Now, Marylanders know their crab cakes. They're so into crab there, they eat potato chips with crab seasoning all over them. And although Sonia suffers from allergies to many seafoods such as clams, oysters, and scallops, she decided to be brave and taste her first crab cake. This was actually her very first taste of real crab or lobster. Ever. She had been avoiding them, thinking them to be in the same class of animals as the aforementioned mollusks. Since I paid some attention in 9th grade biology, I was able to explain that crabs and lobsters are actually crustaceans, and that her allergy may not apply. (Fortunately, it didn't).
We ordered one individual appetizer crab cake from Phillips Seafood. It cost about $7.50! (That was at Happy Hour. They normally cost $15 a piece). It was pretty small. I could have easily downed 3 or 4 of them by myself, but that was all beside the point. We wanted a true gourmet crab cake from people who should know what they're supposed to taste like. And indeed it was very yummy. Absolutely the best crab cake I've ever had.
The following weekend, Russ and Sandy had dinner at our place for our first ever "blog summit" meeting and some good hangin' out. One of our many entree items wound up being Trader Joe's Crab Cakes. They were frozen, came two in a pack and cost something like $4. Trader Joe had his work cut out for him again. How would his crab cakes hold up with the taste of Phillips Seafood's still so fresh in our minds?
Sonia and I were both impressed. The differences in quality, texture and taste from the Phillips crab cakes were negligible. The only thing I could put my finger on was that Trader Joe's variety seemed flatter and slightly less like a pastry. If anything, I'd say TJ's had more crab meat. Also, the Phillips crab cake had a delicious cup of fine tartar sauce backing it up, whereas we had nothing but a little hot sauce with TJ's brand. But they were just fine as they were. Having had only two crab cakes in her entire lifetime, one of which she ate just yards from the shore of the Chesapeake Bay (basically the crab cake capital of the world) and that cost nearly a dollar per bite, Sonia decided Trader Joe's was a very close second, and she scored it a solid 4. I absolutely agree. I could certainly tell a small difference between the two brands, but I've had dozens of crab cakes in my lifetime from various grocers and restaurants, and I too must declare that Trader Joe's was the second best one I've ever had, falling just after the one from Phillips. My score, a 4 out of 5.
Russ and Sandy concurred with our assessment and also thoroughly enjoyed the crab cakes at dinner. Russ described them as "light and flakey, but juicy," and noted that Sandy would "give them an all around 'mmmmmm.'" 4 out of 5 Golden Spoons from each member of the Shelly clan.
That gives us a unanimous 4 out of 5 score. Not too shabby, Trader Joe.
Our collective bottom line: 8 out of 10.