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Photo by Drew Hyland

Humboldt hearts skip a beat when the signs announcing crab sandwiches come out on the curbs. Crab cakes are nice, but next to cracking the shell yourself, an old-fashioned, paper-wrapped sandwich is the best way to enjoy our beloved crustaceans.

Is it crab salad you're after? On Fridays Hole in the Wall (1331 Broadway, Eureka) whips up a creamy one with crunchy celery and mayo on sourdough ($12.95). 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.

click to enlarge The purist's crab sandwich at Myrtle Avenue Market. - PHOTO BY DREW HYLAND
  • Photo by Drew Hyland
  • The purist's crab sandwich at Myrtle Avenue Market.

If you're looking for the pure, briny sweetness of crab, Myrtle Avenue Market (2500 Myrtle Ave., Eureka) just scoops 1/4 pound of it onto mayo-swiped sourdough bread with some shredded lettuce ($10.99). Flatten the bag for a plate, peel back the wrapping and enjoy the fruits of Humboldt Bay.

click to enlarge Murphy's Market's hearty version. - PHOTO BY DREW HYLAND
  • Photo by Drew Hyland
  • Murphy's Market's hearty version.

Murphy's Markets (4020 Walnut Drive, Eureka; 785 Bayside Road, Arcata; Main Street, Trinidad) beloved among aficionados, makes a substantial sandwich. A 1/4 pound of heavy-on-the-leg-meat crab is tossed with mayo and served on sourdough from Vellutini Bakery ($9.99).

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