Perfect summer gatherings, crab fest & recipes for celebrating

crab recipes

A perfect summer evening happened last week. Wonderful food and captivating conversations in the company of great people, on a gorgeous summer day which couldn’t have been any better for a Summer fete.

The loving and ever so gorgeous couple Brooke of FoodWoolf and her husband, Hans of BarFood, hosted a crab fest at their Los Angeles home. Their set up, attention to detail and menu was amazing. Right smack in the middle of their driveway alley, a long feasting table was set up, all wrapped with newspaper and ready for the onslaught of fresh Santa Barbara rock crabs.


Our gracious hosts Brooke & Hans

It was an ocean’s bounty piled on top of wood tables, in the middle of suburban concrete, complete with graffiti and high rise fire escapes  for the views.  Fresh garden flowers graced the table and refreshing cocktails and bottles of Rosé quenched our thirst. A robust and fragrant pot of crab soup filled the warm summer air. It was a scene straight  out of a magazine as we were nestled in their private cove, living the evening with fabulous food and real people.

The guests were Leah from SpicySaltySweet, Neal from @nealferrazzani, Steve & Marisa from Infinite Fress and beautiful Pilar, actress and model. Brooke’s well crafted menu included the best Crab Soup in the World,  an exquisite Cast iron Baked Cornbread to accompany the soup, a Suzanne Goin inspired Plum Salad,  and plenty of fresh, heavy Santa Barbara Rock Crabs .  The soup and cornbread were flavorful & comforting, the salad was perfectly summery and the crab was meaty, sweet and just so perfect.

We all drank, slurped, pounded, picked and discussed food, music, life & politics into the late, late evening.


Brooke and Hans  are immersed in the food world on a daily basis. They have an amazing relationship and respect for  food and for each other. As professionals in the food industry they take their knowledge and experience and bring it all home, back to the kitchen, into their recipes, and then continue to share that love with their friends. We’re so lucky to be part of that food and friendship circle.

Hans made sure we were always topped off with delicious wine and his music selection almost brought us to dancing on top of the tables. Almost, not quite, but if he opened up just one more bottle, it would have been a White On Rice Couple cabaret show. Brooke guided the evening’s execution with her outstanding dishes and smooth, warm hostessing as the rest of us just played the role of messy crab eaters, part time dishwashers and happy boozers.

It was a perfect summer evening. Summer is in full swing and there’s so many more perfect evenings like this. Let’s all enjoy the season, our loved ones, and gatherings to celebrate the simple things in life that bring us so much joy.

Thank you to Brooke and Hans! And for everyone else, tell us what your perfect summer evening would be!

-Diane and Todd

Brooke’s (FoodWoolf blog) write up and recipes from the evenings Crab Fest Menu & more recipes for Summer celebrations

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Jaden

    What gorgeous crabs! So massive!

  2. Manggy

    How very LA (with a touch of New York) of you guys :) Wish I could have been there, but I only know the two of you, heh.
    Perfect summer evening? Marathon television, spicy potato chips, ice cream :)

  3. colleen

    Your fun crab fest reminds me of my past experiences when my dad would fix crab. He would have the table covered with newspapers and pot warming before cooking live crabs. When we were all ready, he would put the crabs in the boiling pot and when ready we enjoyed picking through the pieces for those luscious bits of meat. I’m no longer able to eat crab :-( due to gout. I miss it.
    Love from Marin

  4. Alta

    Looks like a lovely evening. The photos are amazing (as always), and that crab looks so delicious!

  5. Rachael

    What a beautiful post. The writing and photos made me feel like I had been there, enjoying the same wonderful evening.

    My perfect evening consists of mild weather, candles, wine, good food and good conversation. Simple, one would think, but sometimes it takes forces beyond myself to make these qualities come together. It seems that when I plan for it, these evenings do not meet my expectations, but when I don’t plan for it, everything falls into place.

  6. Leah

    So lucky to have been there. You captured the evening perfectly.

  7. Miakoda

    Introducing……(drumroll) the White On Rice Couple cabaret show!!!! Haahaha, I would have loved to see that happen. Oh the things that the world doesn’t get to enjoy, sigh. Lovely people and menu. Its heart warming to see such simple appreciated enjoyment :)

  8. Dana McCauley

    That looks like a hoot! Love how they embrace their urban setting and set the table up outside that way!

    I’ve been on a lobster kick this summer. I think it would be a great substitute for crab in that setting. Here are my notes on preparing lobster. If you click on my link please read the comments since they are rife with excellent tips and opinions! Even the minister of fisheries for New Brunswick shared his .02$ worth!

  9. Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets)

    Oh how lovely! The simple pleasures of life! Love the setting.

  10. Cate

    I love that first photo. I so miss outdoor California dinner parties!

  11. Marc @ NoRecipes

    Sounds like a great evening. I love the urban setting!

  12. Hélène

    This reminds me when we had a good circle of Foodie friends when we lived East. I miss our great meals. You guys had an amazing time. I love crab. When we go to parties and there is crab I’m always the first one to dig in. :)

  13. Howard

    This also reminds me of Vietnam a little, except replace the crabs with all sorts of clams, cockles etc . We would pull up on a road side pop up store, order by the kg and eat them with kinds of fish based sauces … yum.

  14. White on Rice Couple

    The Italian Dish- Oh wow, we are so ready head over to Italy right now! We’ll even bring the chairs and tables, you provide the alleyway!

  15. The Italian Dish

    This so reminds me of Italy – people putting out tables and chairs in the alleyways and eating outside. I love that! And the crabs look great. As usual, beautiful photos.

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