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Coachella Inspired Crab Fries | A Weekend in the Indio Desert

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My boots are coated in a thick film of dust and have now become home to a family of rocks and pebbles. The entryway of our apartment is still crowded with tarps, folding chairs, sleeping bags, blankets, and a five person tent, because we are lazy and tired and want to put off being responsible adults for just a few more days (not that we’re even–on a good day–that responsible to begin with). A week later, and the only thing that might suggest I didn’t spend the entire weekend hiding under the covers at home is a bit of sunburn still dancing across my cheeks.

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This was my third and definitely most favorite year, partly because it wasn’t as hot… but mostly because I just knew what to be expecting this time around. I went into my first year mentally preparing for what everyone refers to as “the best weekend of your life”, which is a pretty high bar to set. I’m assuming this leaves out the big events of a 21st birthday, getting married, having kids, and retirement?

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I was told it would be hot. I figured I grew up in Hawaii, I could deal with the heat. I was told we would be camping. I remembered how much fun camping was as a child. I was told that meant using port-a-potties. Um, but there’s actual toilets inside the venue right?

Basically, year one went like this:
Yay! We’re finally at Coachella!
*waits in a line of cars for three hours*
Yay! Let’s get our camp set up!
Omg my phone’s dying. Wait, I’m going to be missing Game of Thrones this weekend? Why didn’t I bring my laptop?? HALP.
*sleeps till 7AM*
It’s so hot I’m sweating like I just ran a mile in my sleeping bag.
*waits in line for an hour just to shower*
Can we stay in a hotel next year?

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Ok, I’m being dramatic but to be honest, my first year was not the best weekend ever. I’m sort of OCD about being dirty, which I attribute to my Mom keeping our house spotless while I grew up. I can’t even fall asleep without making sure my feet are 100% clean. Year two, I was more prepared with what to bring to make camping as “comfortable” as possible. And this year, we’ve improved even more on our camping skills! Granted, it also helped that the weather was comfortable and not an I’m Gonna Melt Your Face Off kind of hot, but I think the real MVP is my improved tolerance for dirty feet in my sleeping bag.

One of my favorite parts about Coachella is the food, and especially the Crab Fries. It’s a super simple recipe: garlic fries topped with spicy mayo and crab. But it’s sososososo good. Seriously. Another perk: it’s really cheap to make. I spent less than $10 on all the ingredients! In the kitchen, somehow my version of crab fries was influenced with a little asian twist, which comes from the nori, imitation crab, and use of Japanese mayo. I used imitation crab, but this recipe would work just as well with real crab too. For those of you who have never made fries before, check out this video from Laura Vitale!

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I don’t think I’d ever call Coachella the best weekend of my life, but it’s definitely a favorite. I’ve now returned home with a travel bag filled of fond memories and dusty clothes. I held the end of a chain of 100 balloons, sat in the grass and laughed as my friends danced and didn’t care. I ate pizza, paella, giant breakfast burritos, fresh coconut, and too many crab fries. At night, I wrapped a scarf around my face to ward off dusty air and dwelled in the feeling of being anonymous. But mostly, it was the combination of seeing so many different artists perform and getting to share that experience with friends, that made this weekend a memorable one.

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I’ve been so busy with school these last two weeks, which is why things have been a little quiet on here. I’m trying to get on a schedule of at least one post a week, so wish me luck! I should actually be practicing my naked people drawing skills… I mean my figure drawing skills right now, but I just needed to share this recipe with you guys ASAP!

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Crab Fries

Serves 2
2 large russet potatoes, cut lengthwise into sticks about 1/2 inch thick
vegetable or canola oil for frying
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 tsp chili powder (add more if desired)
imitation or real crab
salt
nori

1. Place the sticks of potato in a large mixing bowl and fill with cold water. Let them soak for 30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, mince your garlic and fresh parsley. Mix them together in a small bowl and set aside.
3. In another small bowl, combine the mayo and chili powder. Set aside.
4. Cut your crab either into strips or mince for smaller pieces. Set aside.
5. Attach your thermometer to the side of a large pot. Pour in enough oil so at least the tip of the thermometer is submerged. Heat the oil on high until it reaches 310F.
6. Strain the potatoes and rinse again with cold water. Lay them on a baking sheet lined with paper towel and dry them completely.
7. Once the oil has reached 310F, gently place the potatoes into the pot. I found it was easier to work in two separate batches. Let the fries cook for 7-8 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to remove the fries from the oil and lay them on the same baking sheet but lined with dry paper towels.
8. Increase the heat till the oil reaches 400F. Let the fries cook again for just a minute or so until they’re crispy and a dark golden brown. Transfer back to the baking sheet to soak up any extra oil.
9. In a large mixing bowl while the fries are still hot, toss the fries with the garlic and parsley mixture and salt as desired.
10. Plate fries and serve with a heaping spoonful of the spicy mayo, imitation crab, and nori.

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  • holy crap, talk about festival noms! when I went to sasquatch, I feasted on lara bars and peanut butter sandwiches…only in my dreams (yes, those 7 am, sweaty, exhausted dreams) would I have eaten crab fries. These are gorgeous, and I think the nori is the nicest touch. really wishing for these to be in my stomach asap.

    • Hi Natasha! Oh, I’ve always wanted to go to Sasquatch! That sounds exactly like my diet outside of the festival (plus lots of Pringles!)… but what’s funny is that Coachella even has vegan/raw food stands too. That’s California, for ya ;D

  • I must admit- the heat and dirt of Coachella doesn’t appeal to me but these crab fries certainly do! I love the addition of the nori!

    -Kelsey

    • I don’t blame you, Kelsey! The nori definitely added a fun touch, I’d really recommend making your crab fries with it!

  • I remember seeing these on IG a lot for the two weekends of Coachella (and almost died trying to stuff my phone into my mouth). The food seems like the biggest draw (for me at least) for Coachella, but it seems a little silly to pay to get in, and then pay more for food (meaning I’m definitely making these soon).

    • Ha! I know I would have done the same. You could always plan on watching the festival’s live feed next year as you’re whipping up some crab fries 🙂

  • Sandra Buechler

    Hi! I’m writing an article for Spoon University on the food at Coachella. I have never been to Coachella, so I decided to write an article on making the food that is raved about on the Internet. I really like the recipe and photos you posted and I was wondering if I can use any of the photos for the article. I promise to properly cite you for photo credit.

    • Hi Sandra, you’re welcome to use one of the food photos from this post as long as you give me credit in the article. Thanks! I look forward to seeing it.