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May 14, 2008

The Clean Crab Award

CleanCrabs.jpgMidnight Sun Sam is working on a story about the Baltimore City Health Department's proposed Clean Crab Award. I won't give you the details here, but the idea is sort of like California's restaurant grading system for cleanliness, only with crabs.

I personally think the crab part seems kind of gimmicky, but I like the idea of knowing instantly what places passed inspection. Anyway, read the story tomorrow for the full report. I'll just say that one of the questions you can comment on if you e-mail the health department before July 1 is whether the awards should be called Clean Crab or Informed Crab or "are there better alternative names?"

I really hate to sic you guys on those poor folks, but, well, go at it.

Meanwhile, Sam needs help. ... 

Here's the e-mail I got from him:

I'm looking for foodies who would be able to comment on the Dept. of Health's new proposal to issue restaurants awards based on cleanliness and listing nutritional information for some of the items on their menus. 

If you're interested in talking to him for the story, e-mail Sam at Tell him Elizabeth sent you. 

Pierre, by the way, will not be chosen to comment. 

(Photo of crab sculptures that have nothing to do with the Clean Crab Awards by Algerina Perna/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 12:35 PM | | Comments (19)


"Clean Crab" has a vague suggestion of STD in it. Ewww. That's a terrible name, especially if you've ever seen anyone eating steamed crabs. There's nothing clean about that, sometimes resembling starving Neanderthals on crystal meth -- and beer.

Ohhhh nooooooo!!!!!! Je suis si frustrant! Maintenant les alliés de Sam Sessa sont contre moi. Je cherche la justice dans un monde cruel.

Okay, some folks think of Bawlmer as "crab city," so I see BCHD's reasoning. Even so, why not teensy Washington Monuments? Teensy baseballs? Teensy lacrosse nets? You see where I'm goin' here...BCHD can use any ol' thing that's "typical Bawlmer," y'know Hon?

I think I would rather have PIerre write exclusively in French, it a little easier to understand than his Egnlish. I'm going to have to agree a little with Rev. Ed. A crab is NOT a symbol of cleanliness.

Or teensy crack pipes. Or teensy unwed teen mothers. Or little John Waters faces. Now there's a mixed symbol. Mr. Clean is another way to go. Or little roaches or rats with a bar through them.

Big hair, Hon.

I agree: I don't think a bottom feeder is the icon of cleanliness we want, however stereotypically Baltimore the crab may be.

How about a simple star? or something along the letter-based system that LA uses?

Off topic but this just came into my work email from the BBJ -
"Visitors to Towson Town Center will now have two new dining options choices to choose from, including Asian cuisine and steak.

As the Baltimore Business Journal first reported, mall officials said Wednesday national restaurant chain P.F. Chang's China Bistro (NASDAQ: PFCB) has signed a lease to open in October.

Stoney River Legendary Steaks has also signed a lease agreement to open at the mall in November. The Stoney River will be one of the restaurant's first East Coast locations.

Wow. Thanks. P. F. Chang's is taking over the world. I don't know anything about Stoney River, but I'm all over it. EL

This item is wildly diverging from the theme. Oh well, I didn't know where else to put it.
From Sam Sessa's blog from the other day: is one member of the Sandbox a winner? Look at # 5.

But you guys had so many awesome suggestions, I couldn't compete...

No. 1 gets a prize.

Some of them were sick.
Some of them were hilarious.
Some of them were hilariously sick.
Here they are, your five best fake band suggestions, in order ...

1. Naked Lady Mud Flaps

I took an informal poll among some other Sun staffers and this one, from Eutaw Street Historian, won by a long shot. Historian, email me and I'll award you your prize.

2. Sessa Fresh

Besides the fact that this band name incorporates my name (major bonus points), it just flows really well. Say it out loud. Sessa Fresh. Yeah. Good stuff, courtesy of Alf Fan.

3. Venomous Sac

What a sharp, vivid band name, dreamt up by Uncoolotta.

4. Drama Llama

It spits. It rhymes. It appeals ... to me. Thanks, Patchen.

5. Voodoo Pork

Well, he/she nominated him/herself, along with a long list of other fake band names. But I can actually see a band from the South calling itself Voodoo Pork. I like it. >>>

I think "clean crab" award is perfect for a town that produced John Waters and has a soon-to-be-installed Frank Zappa statue donated by Lithuanians.

I think "clean crab" award is perfect for a town that produced John Waters and has a soon-to-be-installed Frank Zappa statue donated by Lithuanians.

LJ, I think that about says it all.

I heard that a Cheesecake Factory was also coming to Towson Town Center.

Towson Town Center's website makes no mention of Cheesecake Factory, although both Chang's and Stoney Creek are "coming soon" to the mall's Zone E (the expansion area currently under construction).

The Internet is full of stories about "expected" tenants who "intend" to open at various retail locations. Absent a signed lease or (better yet) an actual grand opening, you can never know for sure whether those stories will pan out in the end.

New PF Chang's under construction in the White Marsh Mall Parking lot. The horses gave it away.

The crab isn't the only symbol of Baltimore.

What about black-eyed susans? They could be renamed something such as "clean-eyed susans" and the flower could be the decal sticker.

Or "smooth sailing" with an image of a sail boat.

I could be creative, but that's too similar to work at this point, which would defeat the purpose of me zoning out on this blog.

I think the idea of making sanitation grades, and eventually nutritional information, publicly known is a great idea. I just hope they don't waste too much time on the gimmicky aspect of the award.

This probably should be in the topic next door (So what is a bistro, anyway?) but I just can't consider any place with large stylized Chinese horses out front a bistro

Oh, the posting letter below is "b" for bistro. How appropriate.

It's the "clean" part that ruffles feathers.
We're all crabby here. What if we called it the "crystal crab"? Then if you get infested with critters, your crystal crab gets shattered.

Since L.A. uses letters, A, B, C, for their certificates, why don't we use colored crabs for ours: a Golden Crab for A, a Silver Crab for B, and a Brown Crab for C or lower.

Point to Mr. O.F. I love it!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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