The Freshest Seafood in LA is at Redondo Beach Pier!

If you're like me, then healthy food is an important part of your life, taking up substantially more of your time and budget than the average person. Some of the best and tastiest sources of low-fat heathy food comes from the sea. Unfortunately, much of the seafood that makes it to market is often not very fresh. If you live in the LA area, save yourselves the anxiety of questioning the provenance of your next crab or oyster, and pay a visit to Quality Seafood. Be prepared to take some time to walk past the shops and restaurants on the pier, which provide a relaxing and scenic backdrop for your market trip. Here are some highlights from my trip there last week.

Redondo Beach Pier
Another beautiful day by the sea.

As you approach this outdoor live seafood market, don't be surprised to see everything from local seals and pelicans trolling the harbor, to swarthy fishermen taking turns swilling beer and grinding chum. Eventually, you will find the small marina: congratulations, you have arrived!
Redondo Marina
The Redondo marina: paddleboat fans rejoice!
Quality Seafood is one of the largest indoor seafood markets I have ever seen, and their variety of live catch is one of the best. Crabs are one of their specialities: they will steam your selections on the spot: be prepared to wait about 20 minutes to recieve your fully cooked crab, which you can then eat at their numerous outdoor picnic tables, or take home. Tip: bring an airtight cooler for take-home if you don't want the inside of your car to smell like, well, steamy crabs.  :)

I recommend the Santa Barbaras: they are relatively small, but their meat is very sweet and tender. The claw meat is well-known local delicacy. They cost about $10 each, but are worth every cent.

Quality Seafood Santa Barbara Crabs
Females Santa Barbaras are smaller, but many contain fabulous roe. The males are meatier.

If you are braver, try a spider crab. They are much larger specimens, some weighing more than 10 pounds, and their shells are formidable. They were priced at $7 per pound, a steal by L.A. seafood standards.  Spider crab shell meat is tender, and the legmeat is firm, substantial and extremely tasty. Bring your own shell crackers if you eat on site, otherwise the cheap little hammers they lend you will make you jump into the marina in frustration.

Quality Seafood Spider Crabs
If you are strong, the spider crabs make great eats.
 While you wait for your crabs to finish steaming, walk over to the raw bar and try some oysters and clams on the half shell, which are shucked and cleaned before your eyes, and served with horseradish, lemon slices and cocktail sauce on the side. I tried some Hama Hama oysters and a few topneck clams: everything tasted fresh, briny and clean. Live high-quality shellfish like this is very tender, and easy to chew.
Quality Seafood Clams
Topneck clams are really a must-have for seafood lovers.
Quality Seafood Oysters
"Ha ha! No sir, those are not samples!"
I found it curious that the dungeness crab was priced at a lofty $22 per pound. It turns out that in California, the dungeness season does not start until September: until then, all dungeness is shipped from Canadian waters where they are legal summer catches. I think this is a good sign, as it shows that some vendors are ethical and adhere to laws that support sustainable commercial fishing practices.

What I sampled is just the tip of the iceberg at Quality Seafood. They also serve a great clam chowder, fried shrimp, fish and chips, smoked fish fillets, civeche, and so much more. If you get the chance, take a visit to Redondo, and let me know what you liked!
Quality Seafood Fish
Its all fresh, and all good, my friends!

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