Courtesy Red Lobster

I tried bringing Crabfest to my home, because I'm going through something. 

Maria Yagoda
July 10, 2018

I guess I'd never understood the meaning of the word "alienation" until last night, sitting alone on the subway with several pounds of crab dishes on my lap in a Red Lobster-branded sack.

The train was crowded—it was rush hour—but the seats on either side of me were empty, likely due to all the crab I was trafficking. I didn't mind the stares, because I knew that in a quick 60 minutes, I'd be in Brooklyn, on a couch, eating crabs, crab pasta, and all sorts of crab accoutrements. But would the food taste as fresh as if I'd just crabbed the crab out of the Hudson, or wherever the Times Square Red Lobster crabs its crab? I wasn't sure, but I was ready to take the risk, because the biggest risk of all is not taking any risk, and I like crab.

For the first time ever, Red Lobster's annual Crabfest is available for pick-up via the restaurant chain's new online ordering platform. Who is ordering Crabfest to-go? I wondered. Isn't the whole point of Crabfest—and other similar fests, like Coachella or the Reputation World Tour—that you're there in person, celebrating with a like-minded community? But then I let myself explore the fantasty of eating crab on my couch, pants unbottoned, sucking those hard-to-access crab parts for scraps of meat without fear of ridicule, and everything made sense: Eating crab in private was my destiny. 

Indulging my pathological obsession with American chain restaurants and their Times Square locations, I decided to celebrate Crabfest To Go.

I'd ordered two dishes: the Crab Lover’s Dream (jumbo snow crab legs, North Pacific king crab legs, crab linguini alfredo, and a side) and the Crabfest Combo (more than a pound of jumbo snow crab legs paired with Dungeness crab and a side.) After picking up my order seamlessly at the Times Square Red Lobster, I commuted back to my friend's apartment in Brooklyn; I alerted her that we'd be eating takeout crab for dinner, so she should adjust and/or cancel her other plans accordingly. (Despite being a Crab Lover®, I knew I shouldn't eat several pounds of crab by myself, so I roped in a pal to help keep myself in check.)

So how do Crabfest entrées taste after rattling around in containers for over an hour? Still like Crabfest, just not piping hotso exactly what you'd expect. The fries were somewhat soggy, but I didn't mind because they'd sopped up that luscious crab steam juice. (Sorry.) Everything else hit the spot: the crab linguini alfredo was as butter-drenched as you'd expect and want, the noodles so overcooked as to absorb the soft, salty clumps of crab sauce. The steamed crab itself was sweet and perfectly fine, made divine when submerged in liquid butter for five slow seconds. I don't need crab to be super-hot when I eat it; in fact, I think crab is best served room temperature to chilled, so the cool-down period worked in its favor.

The thing about Crabfest isit's a spirit inside of you. It's not attached to a place; it's an energy in your core that is activated wherever you happen to be eating crab, even if it's on your friend's couch and even if you're crying because they included a whole bag of Cheddar Bay Biscuits, and hell, you just really needed a win right now.

Would I order Crabfest To Go again? Yes. Was it the best crab I've ever had in my life? Hardly. Should we eat melted butter with more foods? Absolutely. 

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