Bloom is a chain of supermarkets run by Food Lion (or as some of us call it -- Food Kitty). The idea was for a concept supermarket that analyzed changing trends and needs to create an unconventional layout to maximize customer convenience. For example, you can buy milk at the front of the store, instead of having to go all the way to the back for it.
This week, the CCR reviews their store-made crab cakes. How were they? Read on and find out!
A while back, we reviewed Chesapeake Bay Brand's Crab Cakes as part of a crab cake throwdown. You can read the review for their lower end crab cake, but suffice it to say, things didn't go well. Which was disappointing, as these are the same folks who sell those gourmet crab cakes on QVC that got really good reviews. But if you take a closer look, the product being sold online is for the Jumbo Lump crab cakes. We reviewed the regular version! Talk about comparing apples to oranges! But sitting alongside that regular variety were the Jumbo Lump crab cakes. Granted, the ones you get from QVC will probably not be frozen, but it should still be the same product. So did they live up to the expectation? Read on and find out!
Inspired by Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, the CCR was recently presented with multiple brands of crab cakes on a recent grocery run. Not knowing which to choose from, it was decided to pit them up against each other to see whose crab cakes reign supreme. So the cart was loaded, and we happily returned back to our own version of Kitchen Stadium to let the cakes do battle.
First, lets introduce the contenders:
Chesapeake Bay Brand: Despite this being a lower end retail offering, these cakes had potential given this is the same company that sells crab cakes on QVC. Fishy smell to the cakes that was offputting. Crab cake was mostly breading with a few strands of dry, stringy crab. Spicing was more in line with a crab cake flavor, but ended up being too salty.
And the winner is......Phillips! Congrats guys, you rule the frozen crab cake offerings -- for now. Look for more frozen crab cake reviews in the future to see if anyone can do better than 3.5 crabs. You never know when there may be another Throwdown!
Real crab cakes can be hard to find in the off-season, especially if you expect it to contain any precious Maryland Blue crab. So when you are walking through the grocery store and spy a new brand of crab cake, the words "made with real crab meat" might pique your interest. And if you are super proud of your country, then the "Made in USA!" will have that package jumping into your cart in no time. Found at my local Giant supermarket, I decided to fight terrorism the only way I know how -- by eating crab cakes. How were they? Continue on and find out!
Back in January, the CCR encountered Handy Crab Cakes, hoping that stumbling across a brand they've never seen before might actually be a frozen crab cake that is a worthy substitute for when you can't get a freshly made one. As it turns out -- not so much. Alongside those regular crab cakes were the Crab & Shrimp Cakes. Call us a glutton for punishment, or maybe just consider us adventerous. But we went ahead and bought a package. For science! They are, according to their website, America's oldest seafood processor, who still maintains a plant in Crisfield, MD. In this day and age of rampant patriotism, we say let's support the local Maryland economy and give them another shot. Were these any better? Let's find out!
Shopping in a grocery store that you've never been to before is always an adventure. New store layout, new brands that you might not have seen before, and yet another store card to sign up for in order to take advantage of the sale prices. When touring foreign grocery aisles, I can't help but look and see if there is a new crab cake offering (both fresh or frozen) that may that one secret find that will satiate my crab cake hankerings without having to go to a restaurant (which gets expensive after a while). One such trip introduced me to Handy crab cakes. According to their website, they are America's oldest seafood processor, who still maintains a plant in Crisfield, MD. Being a local seafood company, they should know a thing or two about crab cakes then. Do they? Let's find out!
What hasn't been said about the Phillips empire? We here at the CCR have reviewed many of their products, both at one of their restaurants, as well as their retail offerings. Love them or hate them, they are a big part of the Maryland seafood scene, and are here to stay. Locals tend to write them off as being too "toursity". Those very same toursits have heard nothing but good things about Phillips, and come to our town intenst on sampling their offerings. Either way, you will have had them once in your life, and could use them as a baseline for all things seafood related.
BUT -- you read the label on the box a little more closely. Coastal cakes. What does that mean? Crab cakes are advertised as such, and often time are described further as 'jumbo lump' or 'lump'. Just to be clear, the coastal cakes are the "lesser" offering. Made from flake and claw meat, as opposed to the prized backfin and jumbo lump. Clearly, based on crab classifications alone, they can't be better. Can they? This, dear readers, is what we set to figure out. Follow along and join us on an eye opening quest.
Earlier this summer, the CCR stopped by Phillips Harborplace in Baltimore to review their famous crab cakes. Needless to say, we weren't that impressed. But while grocery shopping one day, it occured to us that because Phillips is such a large franchise in the area, that maybe, just maybe, overall consistency between retail and restauraunt products is what they're after.
Phillips has a few retail offerings relating to crab cakes: the Maryland Style Crab Cakes (being reviewed), the Maryland Style Crab Cake Minis, and the Coastal Crab Cake. The picture on the box looks fairly similar to the crab cakes at their restauraunts. So how do they compare? Read on to find out!
One thing we always wonder here at the CCR is just how good a retail crab cake can be as we are roaming the grocery store aisles. One past reviewee was Bloom, a niche chain of supermarkets operated by Food Lion (AKA Food Kitty). The ones in a past review were the ones you could get fresh at the seafood counter. Shop a little further, perhaps into the frozen food aisle, and on your way to Ben and Jerry's latest flavor, you might just notice the Taste of Inspriations crab cakes. Calling. Beckoning. Wanting to jump into your shopping cart. And then you think, "What would the CCR do?" Well, the CCR has been in that predicament. (Cherry Garcia and Half Baked, if you must know) And those Taste of Inspriations cakes did fall into our cart. How were they? Read on and see how it went down!
Continuing on with the store-bought crab cakes, today we turn our sights to the frozen seafood section of our local Safeway. Waterfront Bistro is Safeway's new private label line of frozen seafood and sauces. I was actually trying to find the Phillip's frozen crab cakes when I came across this package (Phillip's was no where to be found at this Safeway). Being the inquisitive type, the Crab Cake Review decided to take one for the team and give them a shot. Read on to see how well this experiment went.