Oceanside, CA — Richard and Beatrice Nikoley began their mid-day Saturday, February 25, with a drive from their AirBNB rental in Oceanside down to “Dog Beach” in Del Mar, about 20 miles down the coast. Their three rat terriers—Nanuka (“Nuke”), Choncho, and Scout—had quite a time of it. “They were so happy,” Richard reports. “Choncho has never been on a beach and was totally beside himself,” he added.
“At times—since this is off-leash—they didn’t know which was more prescient for immediate and thorough inspection: dog butts, or washed-up seaweed. So we let them decide,” Beatrice said.
While exact numbers weren’t measured and so are unconfirmed, the Nikoley’s estimate that Choncho covered four times the distance of everyone else, “since he literally ran circles around everyone during the dog walk, interspersed with dalliances to backtrack in the other direction for the purpose of accompanying certain other dogs he found to his liking, under his near exclusive authority—being off leash,” stipulated Richard, in an obvious effort to show off his vocabulary and word style.
The rest of the story begins with the return to Oceanside and the afternoon dog feeding; at which point, Mr. and Mrs. Nikoley proceeded to have dinner themselves—a crab feast at Joe’s Crab Shack, located at the Oceanside harbor.
They report that they were quickly seated at what they both nonchalantly relate as, “an ideal table right next to the window.” Seated right after, at the next table, was someone who Richard describes as “some 20-something blond girl, attractive and in good shape, sporting many, many tattoos, with two young children…two black kids, a boy and a girl…cute as all hell…about five-ish, both of them.” Mrs. Nikoley confirms that the kids are ‘cute as all hell.’
What happened next is a newsworthy event in terms of the food people order for kids in restaurants. “No, it’s not just ‘newsworthy;’ this is Big News!” Richard insists. “I mean, here you have this tattooed chick coming in for a late afternoon, early evening king crab meal and you think: ‘fuel for the long pole-dancing shift until 1, maybe 2 am.'” He adds: “but the kids. Those two adorable, healthy looking, bright-eyed kids… That what throws you off every time.”
According to the tab, verified through a cooperative Joe’s Crab Shack management only after a crowd had gathered outside on news that young kids were eating real food there, the woman ordered the king crab pot, and for each of the kids, combo-pots featuring crab, shrimp, corn on the cob, and red potatoes. They all opted for the garlic-butter seasoning.
According to Richard, “When I saw the pots being delivered to their table, I immediately assumed the kids’ pots contained the standard fare of deep fried fish sticks and chicken nuggets…and that instead of corn on the cob and red potatoes, it would be a side of mac & cheese.”
“How wrong I was,” he lamented. “It was at that point I see the 5-yr-old boy pull out a shrimp…no, not a breaded, deep fried thing, but a pink, real shrimp with a shell, legs, and a tail. And that little kid went to town on it. Peeled it and ate it.”
“That spectacle continued for a while, up until those kids dove into the crab.” “Did I say ‘cracked crab,’ asshat?” Richard asks me. “No, I didn’t,” answering his own question. “These kids were cracking their own crab with fingers, hands, teeth, and some use of the utensils provided. They were even sucking at the shells.”
“The whole thing came to fruition when the little boy cracked a crab leg and it sent crab juice flying and mom had to duck. Then she looks over at me to see if we got mortared, with a bit of a smile.”
Then, according to Richard, he had the chance to speak to her: “how come you’re feeding these kids real food? Don’t you know you’re supposed to order them the ‘Captain’s Plate?'”
“She smiled again.”