Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Crab Legs

Oh RD, what could you possibly have against crab legs? They're meaty, they're succulent... they're delicious!

My problem with crab legs is that in Las Vegas, in the exciting world of 4-star buffets, they have unjustly been crowned the king of all foods. They just don't deserve that much respect.

Maybe you're unfamiliar with the Las Vegas buffet scene. Every big hotel/casino sports a high quality buffet. For around $10 for a lunch, or $20 for a dinner, you can sample some of the tastiest foods prepared by some pretty talented chefs. These buffets ain't the suburban Sizzler-style buffets you may be used to. These are top quality culinary experiences. Whatever you're in the mood for, a buffet will provide; and at the top hotels, every dish is uniformly excellent.

But walk into any Las Vegas buffet, no matter what time of year, time of day, no matter where it is, and you will see everyone making a bee line for the crab legs.

I just don't think they're that good. I mean they are good, but shrimp cocktail on ice is at least equally good, and no one gives the shrimp a second look. If seafood is your thing, you've got filet of sole, salmon in cream sauce and lobster newburg right there. That doughy midwesterner probably hasn't had salmon since his prom night, but nope. He's jockeying for position around the crab legs just like everyone else.

Do you know how much work it is to eat a plate of crab legs? It's a bitch! If science had a designation for food received per unit of pain in the ass, crab legs would be a very low number. Only sunflower seeds and pomegranites are harder to eat.

Instead of being baffled by the crab worship, the buffet masters actively cater to it. They advertise their crab legs. Some hotels have special buffets devoted exclusively to seafood. Meanwhile, on the other side of the buffet, a master chef has whipped up a mean chicken marsala that no one's touching. This is a shame.

The other food preference that puzzles me at the buffet is the immense popularity of the guy in a poofy hat who will personally carve you a piece of ham or roast beef. Am I the only one thinking BFD? The guy at my local sandwich shop will personally carve me a slice of ham. Whoop dee doo. Yet this guy has a huge line.

Here's my theory. People don't have a lot of imagination. Plus, on some subconscious level, they're strategizing how they can get the most value out of the buffet. In their normal Nebraskan lives, the seafood is always the most expenseive item on the menu. Therefore, they gravitate toward it at the buffet. It's no use telling them that they can sample 12 different kinds of sushi, or that it might be a long time before they can try another correctly prepared ratatouille. They don't care. They gunna get them some crab legs!

Of course I can't just pick on the doughy midwesterners. It's the Asians too. Man, I've seen the old asian women pile their plates high with the crab. Why? Hey, you know what I wouldn't mind eating if it showed up at a Vegas buffet? Whale. Aren't they off the endangered lists now? I'd definitely try whale.

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