Wednesday, August 24, 2011

CrabFest 2011 at City Tap House

I seem to shock folks sometimes when I tell them what I like and don't like to eat. So here we go again: I don't like lobster. As in, I don't really like it, I don't really want it, and I definitely don't seek it out. (That said, a lobster roll with just the right amount of mayo still has the potential to get my attention.)

Crab, on the hand, is a whole other story. I adore crab in practically any and all forms. And the bigger chunks of crab I get, the happier I am.

So as one of my last summer food adventures, I picked up an early bird ticket to City Tap House's CrabFest 2011. For $35, I had access to all-you-can-eat boiled crabs (with delicious Old Bay Seasoning), corn on the cob, red potatoes, bread, and drinks.

For all-you-can-eat anything, a girl's got to bring along her fellas, right? I had good company in Erich and Joe, who had more than their fair share of food and drinks. Little did they know that I could hold my own as well! (Actually, never mind, I'm sure they were well aware.)

First off, full disclosure. I pretty much adore City Tap House. It's a great venue for lunch, dinner, happy hour, formal meetings, informal gatherings, and last-minute, off-the-cuff get-togethers. Even when the service is a little slow due to volume issues, the staff almost always make up for it in one way or another. And party planning is easy breezy. As the Director of Events, Jessica McGarvey is definitely on top of her game. (And I swear I don't know her personally!)

As soon as I walked into CrabFest, I knew I was in for an awesome experience. Until that point, I had no idea that the ENTIRE restaurant was set up for the event. As in, the ENTIRE bar, the ENTIRE dining room, and the ENTIRE patio. And even though the event started at 2PM, and it was only 2:45PM when we walked in, the place was already covered in crab shells atop newsprint!

After Erich and I signed in (yes, signed in!), picked up our drink tickets (which they didn't even bother asking us for after we sat down), and strolled out to meet Joe at one of the fire pits (yes, fire pits!), a server (of which we had several throughout the afternoon) came out with two big silver buckets. The large bucket contained some pretty big crabs covered in varying amounts of Old Bay seasoning, and the small bucket contained corn on the cob, red potatoes, and bread (most of which I didn't partake -- why fill up with unnecessary carbs, right?)

Armed with wooden gavels and seafood crackers, we made our way through some hefty crabs (and the fellas through some hefty beers -- and me through some hefty lemonades). All the while, we got to enjoy an awesome band that had an awesome grasp of the greatest hits of the 90s. Woohoo!

At some point early on, we were left waiting for a while before more food and drinks came along. It probably seemed a pretty long while because we'd all decided to come to the event in a somewhat starving state. As such, we were definitely grumpy. Our servers attempted to pacify us with more corn and potatoes, but we were NOT to be distracted. Well, that is, until the beers came around. A sure sign of a restaurant that knows its clientele!

As soon as the new batch of crabs were ready though, they came out full force. We had servers swing by several times with very fresh and very hot crabs. Before long, we were sufficiently full. (Well, I was sufficiently full. The fellas took a while longer to fill up.)

My biggest goal of the day was to eat more than the table, or rather the series of tables, next to us. Here's how they fared with at least 8 people.

And here's how we fared with only 3:

Needless to say, we were quite impressed with ourselves.

All in all, this was an absolutely wonderful way to end the summer. Great food, great music, great company. Not to mention a great crowd all around. Lots of folks of varying ages -- big groups of friends, small groups of friends, lots of families -- and some very cute couples showing off their dance moves!

Thanks to City Tap for a fabulous event! I'll be back in November for that Turkey Roast for sure!

City Tap House
3925 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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