I recently shared "Five Dishes You Must Try in Tofino", which I recommend you take a look at before planning your next trip over there. The first four on the list were served up by the cooks of some of my favourite restaurants but the fifth involved more of a commitment on my part as I had to bring it back to the hotel and prepare it myself. The dish was, of course, crabs from The Crab Lady!
Located at 900 Campbell Street, right as you enter town, The Crab Lady is a small business run by a lady whose sons are commercial fishermen and who keep her supplied with the freshest of shellfish. Keep your eye out for this sign on the right hand side of the road as you're rolling in...
Her home is attached to her shop, and just outside of it is this sweet shed where they keep some of the traps.
Not only are her crabs ultra fresh but they're cheap! Prices start at $10 for smaller ones and top out at $15 for the large. And yes, this is the Crab Lady herself pictured below. I considered asking her what her real name was but reconsidered as I'd prefer to know her only by her moniker.
We grabbed 3 crabs then headed for a drive around downtown Tofino, which took all of about 10 minutes. One of my son's favourite places to stop is at the public skatepark where kids have been throwing their shoes over this wire for some years now. I found it curious that there were none on the top wires (which I knew to be BC Hydro and telephone lines lines) and as it turns out the bottom line belongs to the local cable company, and they don't mind the shoes. Either that or they don't have the budget to remove them like the big guys do and are just risking that insane weight that must come with all of this old, rain-soaked footwear! One day it's just got to give way!
The day we went and bought crabs was actually my son's birthday so we let him pick out the ones he wanted. Here he is holding the best one in the kitchen. The Crab Lady puts them into a bag for you and they make all sorts of noise in there as you bring them back to your spot (and take the long way back, stopping to take pictures of shoes hanging on wires). If you don't hold onto them correctly you might be looking for some ice to put on your finger to ease the pain of getting pinched. Here is the proper way of doing it...
There's an easy way of preparing fresh crabs - simply dropping them whole into a pot of boiling water - and there's the best way, which is not for the faint of heart. Basically you rip or chop them in half while they're still alive, you pull out the guts and cook just the legs. I didn't shoot any gory photos of this process that went down in the kitchen of the beach house at Pacific Sands but HERE is a video of a guy showing one way to do it.
After dinner we set out to explore Cox Bay, starting with this little bay that was about 100 steps from the door of the beach house.
The next day we drove into town and explored some docks, some other beaches, and collected the treasures pictured below. It was a successful road trip, to be certain.