The cherry blossoms drifting around town are seen in Japan as a symbol of life's impermanence, all the more beautiful for their brevity. Just like crab sandwiches and specialty doughnuts.
When crab season opens during the holidays, we go wild, cracking and picking till our shirtfronts are flecked with meat and our bellies are full. But then we return to our busy schedules, and busting open a Dungeness on your desk is just impractical. The IT department might forgive a coffee spill on your keyboard, but trust me when I tell you techs are less forgiving of melted butter.
The answer is the crab sandwich. Murphy's Markets, beloved among aficionados, has already stopped selling them for the year. Did you miss its heavy-on-the-leg-meat, tossed-with-mayo, 1/4-pound sandwich on Vellutini sourdough ($13.99) this year? Try to take it as a teaching moment and gather ye crab sandwiches while ye may.
On Fridays, Hole in the Wall (1331 Broadway, Eureka) whips up a creamy crab salad with crunchy celery and mayo on sourdough ($13.99). Minimalists may scoff, but the standard order comes with slivered red onion, lettuce, tomato and black pepper. The flavor of the crab comes through plenty, and the sandwich is hefty enough to share.
If you're looking for the pure, briny sweetness of crab in to-go form, Myrtle Avenue Market (2500 Myrtle Ave., Eureka) just scoops ¼ pound of it onto mayo-swiped sourdough bread with some shredded lettuce ($8.99). Flatten the bag for a plate, peel back the paper wrapping, prop your elbows on your desk and enjoy the fruits of North Coast waters. Best of all, you won't alienate co-workers with that pile of shells by your phone.
Well over a year ago, the Cronut, a doughnut made from croissant pastry — let that sink in — brought New York City to its knees. It's taken this long for the flaky phenomenon to make it to Humboldt (not a huge surprise, given the lingering mullets around town), and it popped up in the most unlikely place: Safeway. Who saw that coming?
For $5, you can pick up a box of four and find out what happens when you deep fry an already buttery croissant and glaze it. The result is a delightfully chewy, puffy-layered cousin to the French cruller. While it's still technically breakfast/office appropriate, it's not out of the question to serve for dessert. With whipped cream. What? Like you weren't thinking it.
Then, in the most important use of social media since the Arab Spring, a reader informed us via Facebook that Cherry Blossom Bakery (2940 F St., Eureka) has had croissant doughnuts for months ($2.25). I called ahead to put a hold on the last two of the day (not a bad idea, since they run out quickly).
Totally different doughnut. Instead of puffing up all springy and poofy, these are flattened and heavy. Don't be put off — they are also buttery and rich, filled with thick, eggy custard and topped with chocolate glaze.
According to the lovely woman who bagged up the pastries, the baker occasionally gets "a wild hair" and experiments. Take, for example, the Cherry Log, stuffed with cherry pie filling, glazed and dusted with cake crumbs; and a chocolate-glazed doughnut that's fried with slightly salty peanut butter inside ($2.25 each). Pick up the latter if you have a pregnant woman in your life. But she's going to need to grab a glass of milk and turn off her phone first — it's a mouthful.