The California Spiny Lobster

How many of you eat locally grown fruits and vegetables? If I could look into cyber land, I’d probably see many of you raising your hands. That’s good! We do too! In the last year and a half, I’ve made a serious effort to pay more attention to the food I bring into our house and where it comes from. It’s important to support local farmers and learn as much as you can about what you eat every day.

If I were to ask you if you eat local meat or seafood, I wonder if I’d see as many hands in the air? My hand would have gone down, I’ll admit it. Even living here in Southern California, local meat and seafood isn’t something I know a lot about, but it’s just as important.

Thanks to a free demo at Surfas last weekend and a collaboration by Edible Westside, A Sustainable Kitchen, Seafood for the Future, and Chef Ray Garcia of FIG, I learned something new about local seafood! Did you know California has its own lobster? No? We have everything else, why not lobster too? 😉

Meet the California Spiny Lobster!
California Spiny Lobster

These lobster live between Monterey Bay California, down Baja California and all the way to Gulf of Tehuantepec, in Mexico. The main difference between the California Spiny Lobster and the American or Maine Lobster, is the California lobsters don’t have claws. Those big pincers are only gangly accessories Spiny lobsters don’t need! They’re Californian. They’re cool that way.

Another fun fact, the Spiny Lobsters tend to yield more edible meat, pound for pound. While the texture is a little different, it is just as delicious as its East Coast counterpart!
Spiny Lobster

Most of the California Spiny Lobsters are shipped overseas to Asian markets due to such a low local demand. Well, jinkies! I didn’t even know there was a California Lobster until a few days ago! How can you buy or ask for something you don’t know exists? That is one of the great thing about demos. People passionate about sharing local and sustainable products get an opportunity to share their knowledge and you learn new things. It’s a win-win!

On the menu for the demo was Chef Ray Garcia’s Grilled Spiny Lobster Salad.
Grilled Lobster Salad

Of course, the California Spiny Lobster took center stage in the salad, but the rest was equally delicious! Made with fresh, local greens, shiitake Mushrooms were sliced, grilled, then baked in duck fat and aged soy, along with celery sticks that were tossed with EVOO, lemon, salt and pepper. Beneath the salad was a drizzle of chestnut purée, that added a creamy contrast to the delicate lobster meat and the richness of the mushrooms. A beautiful slice of Pink Lady Apple garnished the top of the greens for a sweet snap of texture. It was amazing!

Spiny Lobster Salad

While Chef Garcia prepared his salad, he talked about the California Spiny Lobster. He featured them in his restaurant during the height of Spiny Lobster season this year. I have a lot of respect for Chef Garcia and the groups supporting this demo. They are really making a difference in how people eat and teaching others about the importance of eating locally! Look how many people where there!

I got to meet Chef Garcia and his Spiny friend before the demo.
Chef Ray Garcia

Our salads were even served on compostable bamboo plates. It’s true, little changes can add up to a big difference. Not just with our food, but how we treat the world.
Spiny Lobster Salad

Helping each other is essential too. Everyone pitched in to plate salads for the crowd!
Team plating

THANK YOU to the wonderful folks who sponsored this demo! Linzy from Edible Westside Magazine, Annette from A Sustainable Kitchen, Chef Ray Garcia from FIG, Kim from Seafood for the Future (my sincere apologies to the last woman on the right, I didn’t catch her name) and to John and his team at Surfas Culinary District for hosting this great event! You’ve inspired me to learn more about the local and sustainable seafood options in our area!
The Whole Gang!

That was my fun foodie day last week! Get out and explore your local foodie world. It’s amazing the things you can learn!

Till next time, friends!

Leave a comment


  1. It sounds like so much fun. I love eating locally because the food just tastes better, you know? I never knew celery could be so flavorful until my CSA farm share gave me celery. It rocks.

  2. Dominique

     /  February 5, 2013

    Spiny Lobster is delicious ! We’re so glad you had fun and got to take part in the demo. Cheers,


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