So I’m a total dork and as a result I have to announce…Todayis my biiiiiirthday!!! Yep, that’s right! And I’m 29today, which means I really need to live it up this year, or something. Also,it means that, since it’s my birthday, I’ve got a gift for one of you, myreaders! Well okay, I would’ve had this giveaway either way, but since it is mybirthday we’ll say it is for that reason!
Yesterday I got a really fun opportunity to visit the Joe’sCrab Shack on International Drive with some fellow bloggers to meet theirculinary director, George Atsangbe, and learn about (and sample!) some of theirpopular summer dishes.
|The whole group!|
You guys. While I’ve been known to visit chain restaurantsoccasionally, I normally don’t wax poetic about the dishes they offer; they aremore a “this is right here, let’s just stop and eat” type of thing. Joe’s isofficially different from other chains for me after yesterday. I’d eaten atother locations a few times before, but it had been quite a while and I’d neverbeen to this particular Joe’s, so I was pleasantly surprised by my experience.
|Chef George Atsangbe, talking about popular dishes|
Once everything was set up and we got started, Chef Georgeshared quite a bit about the philosophy behind Joe’s Crab Shack’s menuselections, including the fact that they serve only wild-caught and sustainablecrab and include locally grown produce in their menu. Additionally, Chef Georgetold us about their current “Home Grown Summer” menu (before we got to try afew of the items ourselves) and demonstrated just how to crack crab legs to getthe most meat for the least effort!
While we chatted about the various seafood items on Joe’smenu, food began arriving at our table. We started with the peel and eat shrimpthat are featured on the Home Grown Summer menu. Served both cold and hot andcovered in Old Bay seasoning, it was really hard to hold back on how manyshrimp I ate! I’m normally not a peel and eat shrimp kind of girl, but with theadded seasoning, the flavor was totally worth the effort!
We next learned about the nutritional benefits of so many ofthe Joe’s menu options. Did you know that a 1 ¼ lb lobster has only 90calories??? Seriously! Plus, it is full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, soit is totally good for you. Just don’t indulge in the drawn butter too much andyou are good as gold! Plus, the Alaskan snow crab and the grilled fish andshrimp found on the menu are all low in fat and calories but full of awesomeseafood flavor. Knowing all of this, I felt a lot better when the steampots starting arriving at the table!
|Chef George, showing off a steampot|
Here’s one of the things that I learned yesterday aboutJoe’s Crab Shack. They have so many options for different seasonings on yourshellfish that really, that drawn butter isn’t necessary. Think of all the fatand calories you can save while indulging in amazing shellfish-y goodness! On pastvisits to Joe’s, I had ordered the basic items with little seasoning, thinking“I don’t need that, I just want to taste the crab.” But here’s the thing. Thoseseasonings and spices? They just enhance that shellfish flavor instead ofmasking it, making the entire dish just oh so delicious.
I’m rambling now, I know, I know. Soooo let me just sharesome of my favorites from the tasting yesterday, and then I’ll get on to mygiveaway! We sampled five different steampots of the nine that are offered,including the Joe’s Classic, the Ragin’ Cajun, the Bean Town Bake, the SamuelAdams, and the Santolla. While they were all delicious (and if you are lookingfor that basic flavor to dip in butter, I highly suggest the Classic), two ofthem were at the top of my list. The Samuel Adams steampot from the Home GrownSummer menu was oh my god amazing. I am not a beer drinker, so I really didn’tthink I’d be much of a fan, but I couldn’t stop reaching into that pot andgrabbing some more snow crab and lobster claws! My second favorite steampot wasthe Santolla, a new addition to the Joe’s Crab Shack menu. This pot was full oftender clams and New Zealand green lipped mussels (a new one for me, thesemussels are huge, plump and briny) as well as Antarctic King crab and shrimp,all covered in Old Bay seasoning and a spicy garlic wine sauce.
I’ll be honest, being from Massachusetts I was a bitdisappointed that the Beantown Bake wasn’t my favorite, but it ranks way upthere anyway just for the sheer fact that it has two whole lobsters in it (incase you hadn’t figured it out by now, we ate a ton of food yesterday morning)!! This steampot is definitely bigenough to share, in my opinion.
|Brian from Central Florida Top 5 |
posing with the Mason jar cocktails
As we all moaned and groaned, clutching our full bellies,Chef George refused to let up! Out came samples of their three signaturecocktails (all served in Mason jars that you get to take home! How cool!Pinterest ideas galore!) and their new three berry cobbler that was served witha giant scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Holy wow. We found room for more.
|Three Berry Cobbler|
Okay! Now for the giveaway! I had such a great timeyesterday that I want to share that experience with one of you, and you don’thave to be in Orlando to enter! Joe’s Crab Shack has locations in 30 statesacross the US, so odds are there is one near you. I’m giving away a $25 giftcard that can be used at any of these locations, and here’s how to enter:
Mandatory entry: If you’ve been to Joe’s Crab Shack before,what is your favorite menu item? If you’ve never been, check out their menuhere and tell me what item you’d most like to try!
Additional entries (leave a comment for each one):
1) Follow me on Twitter at @orlndofoodie
2) Follow Joe’s Crab Shack on Twitter at@Joes_Crab_Shack
3) Subscribe to this blog via email
4) Tweet about this giveaway: “I just entered towin a gift card to @Joes_Crab_Shack from @Orlndofoodie! To enter, go here: http://bit.ly/ODRRgO#giveaway #EatAtJoes”
5) Share this giveaway on Facebook (share button at top of post)
That’s a total of six possible entries! You have untilmidnight on Wednesday, August 8th, to enter, at which point I willuse Random.org to choose a winner! Once the winner has been notified, he or shewill have 48 hours to respond (please make sure your email is included withyour entries!) before I will choose a new winner.
Disclosure: I receiveda free tasting of several of the menu items at Joe’s Crab Shack. I also wasprovided with the $25 gift card that I am giving away to my readers. However,any opinions expressed are purely my own and have not been approved by Joe’s CrabShack prior to posting.
I totally forgot to post the winner last week! The winner of the Joe's Crab Shack gift card (who was actually contacted last week) is....
Comment number 21, Rosario Michelle!! Congratulations, enjoy it!