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California’s Dungeness Crab Season Is Delayed Again

Keep your fingers crossed the crustaceans will be ready in time for Christmas

Live Dungeness crab getting weighed
For the fifth year in a row, officials have delayed the start of the commercial Dungeness crab fishing season in California.
Patricia Chang
Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

Late last week California officials pushed back the start of the state’s commercial fishing season for Dungeness crab last week, citing “soft-shell or poor quality crab conditions.” That means San Francisco diners won’t likely be enjoying fresh, local crab for Thanksgiving. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to reevaluate the situation in early December with the goal of opening the season on December 16 — just in time to maintain hope there’ll be fresh crab for Christmas.

Historically, Dungeness crab fishing season starts around mid-November, but for the past five years in a row, the season has been delayed, the Chronicle notes. This delay marks the second of the year — the first having occurred in late October. It also comes with bad news for recreational fishers; due to large populations of humpback whales off the California coast, officials have also instituted restrictions on recreational crab trapping. Officials plan to reevaluate the restrictions preventing recreational crabbing between Bodega Bay and Monterey around December 7, though crabbing using hoop nets and crab snares is allowed despite the restrictions.

Animo in Sonoma is closing

Per a post on Instagram, lauded Sonoma restaurant Animo will close its doors after service on Sunday, December 17. The restaurant, known for fusing Korean and Basque cuisines, will be “relocating to a new venue,” the post shares, sometime in summer 2024. In the meantime, chef and owner Joshua Smookler and wife Heidi He encourage fans to make reservations at the couple’s upcoming restaurant Golden Bear Station, which will serve Italian American food.

Los Gatos businesses expand to Morgan Hill

Two long-running Los Gatos businesses — Oak & Rye pizzeria and Ancora Vino wine bar — will expand to Morgan Hill in 2024, the Mercury News reports. Oak & Rye owner Ross Hanson plans to open “a new restaurant called The Silos in the historic Granary District on Depot Street,” the paper reports, while Ancora Vino’s Ryan Smith will debut a “2,200-square-foot retail shop and tasting room that will feature 150 wines under $25” at 17337 Monterey Road.

Jill Biden dined at this Spanish restaurant

Last week’s much-anticipated APEC conference didn’t give some downtown San Francisco restaurants and bars the boost they would have liked to see, but dignitaries in town for the event did visit a couple of local establishments. SFGATE reports that first lady Dr. Jill Biden dined at Palo Alto Spanish restaurant Teleferic Barcelona, while Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen took a high-low approach, popping into both In-N-Out and Berkeley’s Chez Panisse.

Catch chef-author Iliana Regan in San Francisco

Friday, December 8 through Sunday, December 10, North Beach restaurant Hilda & Jesse will host a series of dinners with chef and author Iliana Regan, known for both her now-closed Michelin-starred restaurant Elizabeth in Chicago and her memoir Burn the Place; Regan currently owns the Milkweed Inn, located in Hiawatha National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The collaboration will kick off on Friday with a 5-course dinner ($195) followed by a five-course Collaborative Adventure Brunch ($125) on both Saturday and Sunday.