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Can We Find a Crawfish Boil in late Feb/early Mar?

We can't wait to return to New Orleans at the end of the month to celebrate our 3rd wedding annivesary following elopement there in early 2005 -- we are excited about dinners at August and Emeril's, cooking class at New Orleans Cooking Experience, and brunch at Commander's Palace.

Any opinions based on recent experience at these spots welcome as well as other recommendations ( we LOVED Brigsten's, Upperline, and Herbsaint on our wedding weekend if that helps future define our preferences more completely). Our alternate list currently includes Stella, Cuvee, Galatoire's downstairs (with coat and tie...), and Bayona.

To balance the rich meals planned, we want a casual, low key dinner one night and are hoping it's the right time for a crawfish boil -- are they in season? If so, where should we go? We are staying in the Garden District (Magnolia Mansion) but willing to be pretty mobile throughout the city (taxi, streetcar, walking).

Finally, for one night out for music, should we be headed to Preservation Hall, Donna's, Maple Leaf, Snug Harbor, or elsewhere for traditional New Orleans music?

Thanks for thoughts, recommendations, and insights! Happy to help out when you're visiting Boston!

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  1. Crawfish will be in season, but if you are looking to go to an actual crawfish boil, you'll need to make friends with a local and hope that they know someone who is a having a boil. I'm sure there will be restaurants serving crawfish, Deanie's etc; and maybe you will get lucky and some bar/restaurant will have an all you can eat crawfish special going on, but that will just be ordering the crawfish and not the whole experience of a crawfish boil, which in most cases is an all day affair on a weekend day. When I boil crawfish, if I tell people the crawfish will come out at 5, people will start showing up at 2 to have a good time, drink beer and hang out. I think the one thing I miss most about not living in NO anymore is boiling crawfish and having people over.

    1. Check out Big Al's. They're in the 1300 block of annunciation. They're some coonasses out of Houma, LA. Never been to the one here, but I've heard good things so far. The ones in Houma are definitely good.

      As for music, it just depends on who's playing where that weekend. Check out bestofneworleans.com.

      1 Reply
      1. re: N.O.Food

        Thanks for the reply - any personal favorites (bands, groups, singers, etc.) we can look for in terms of music. Are all of the options interchangeable in terms of the venue in your opinion? We would like the option to sit down at some and at least be able to purchase a beer or two (but not be committed to staying seated and having a dedicated server) - I think this may rule out Preservation Hall and Snug Harbor at those ends of the spectrum, but we're not hard and fast about that either if it's great music and a fun time.

      2. You could get a few pounds of crawfish at Big Fisherman on Magazine at Toledano. People say that you can eat them on the patio at the Bulldog bar across the street, but I've never seen or done this. It would be a nice walk from Magnolia Mansion, and there are several other enjoyable bars and shops in that part of Magazine St.

        2 Replies
        1. re: uptownlibrarian

          Big Fisherman is good, but you're right, there's nowhere to sit.

          1. re: uptownlibrarian

            I've done it - they even let us eat crawfish inside of the Bulldog, as long as we threw our trash away outside.

          2. Big Al's as recommended below is fairly close to you and you would be able to sit and eat. If you get from one of the seafood shops, you could get your stuff to go (don't forget the beer and a big towel/blanket) and take everything out to the 'Fly' - some park land behind the zoo at the end of Magazine and have crawfish along the river...

            1 Reply
            1. re: nolawinelover

              You could go to Big Fisherman Seafood on Magazine St. The Bulldog across the street encourages you to bring over crawfish, and their patio is pretty fun on a nice day. Good for people watching.

            2. I see your from Boston as well, you'll be right in time for Crawfish. We've been holding out for bigger ones before we order (they say March is better then Feb.) and have them shipped to us in New England for our annual mardi Gras party (we lived in New Orleans for 7 years as a family and miss the food so we go all out and do a party once a year). If you really miss crawfish like I do, we now go to NJ in May/June for a fantastic Crawfish Festival for 3 days (we get our fill of crawfish and New Orleans music). Check it out: http://www.crawfishfest.com/

              It's an unbelievable great time.

              Have a blast in New Orleans - Deannie's is very low key (it's who we order our crawfish from).
              http://secure.deanies.com/dinner.html

              4 Replies
              1. re: lexpatti

                I will see you at the crawfish fest. Hopefully the crawfish will be better than they were last year, I was not very impressed. I'm having a boil in Hoboken later this season if you guys are interested in coming up.

                1. re: roro1831

                  Very kewl!!! I would love to do my own boil, when we order from Deanie's - they are cooked. We all do accompany New Orleans dishes, maybe I'll do a shrimp boil. Yes, the festival crawfish were hard but since I only eat them once a year since we lost our timeshare in La. from Katrina, I was still in heaven.

                  1. re: lexpatti

                    I'm good friends with the family that owns Deanie's, played softball for years with all the boys.
                    I actually have another friend who can ship me live crawfish cheap I just have to pick them up at the airport. My pot is arriving in a couple of weeks when my sister drives it up for me...I can't wait.

                    1. re: roro1831

                      I'm jealous - hot crawfish are the best, right out the pot dripping in awesome liquid.

              2. Hmm...if the weather is nice, I'd be tempted to take the Canal Street streetcar up to Carrollton, walk the 2 or 3 blocks to K'Jean's Seafood (or take a "City Park" bound streetcar, it turns off of Canal and goes up to C.P. right by K'Jean). Get some takeout and proceed up Carollton for a picnic in the park. Oh, stop at Brocato's for takeout cannoli for dessert, too.

                Here's a link to an article on the restaurants surrounding K'Jean's....http://www.bestofneworleans.com/dispa...

                3 Replies
                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  For mail-order crawfish, another great resource for live or cooked crawfish is:

                  http://www.lacrawfish.com/

                  For a while I was buying Chinese crawfish (readily available in NYC), but Louisiana mudbugs are unquestionably superior. And I'm all for supporting the LA seafood industry!

                  1. re: SBrooksB

                    Thank you SBrooksB... is this the same Brooks I know and love from our local forums?

                    1. re: SBrooksB

                      Just came back from a weekend in Lake Chuck and was looking at the crawfish ponds on I-10 (and some slightly north)...lots of water around. Couple of folks told me they thought the season would be better than anticipated by the State and, judging from the size of the ones I saw at the places I stopped, it DOES look better than we have a right to expect. I did not sample any, though--just was not convenient at the time.

                      Did get some boudin at Don's, though, also at Best Stop.

                  2. I have not been to NOLA in about 3 years. Is Frankie and Johnny's still open? I've had crawfish a few times there. A god friend who's a local always get a patty melt there, it's really really good.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: LBD

                      Yep, F&J's is still opne and a great local spot to grab some food.

                      1. re: roro1831

                        Great, then I'll suggest F&J's!!!

                      2. re: LBD

                        We went to Big Al's Seafood (1377 Annunciation St.) for the first time last Friday - teh crawfish were excellent (as were the oysters)

                        The boiled crawfish were sold by the pound, were reasonable.....

                      3. If you guys are in town on February 29th - there is going to be a crawfish boil at Ernst Cafe on Fulton Street. I just read about it in the Gambit Weekly. A free tray of crawfish with every $3 bottle of Abita Strawberry. From 4-8 I think. Abita is a local beer and the strawberry is a very popular seasonal that uses Louisiana strawberries. A little sweet for my taste but I will be enjoying it on Friday. I can't wait for Friday!

                        1. RIH,
                          2 things first since you are in Boston have you ever seen our favoite band The Love Dogs?
                          Second have something to look foward to when you get home. There is a seafood store 5 min from New Orleans Airport Fishermans Cove. Call the day before you leave and order up to 20lbs of cooked Crawfish (20lbs is the most they can fit in a small box) they will be about $2 a pound and about $8 to box them. Get home and have a party that or the next day.Invite some friend make some remoulade sauce and melt some butter.
                          Just reheated crawfish in batches for about 1 minute. leftover shell bodies make great stock the secret to my shrimp creole.

                          Have fun
                          dc
                          http://www.fishermanscoveseafood.com/

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: don515

                            Just have your cab stop at fishermans cove on the way to the airport give yourself and extra 1/2 hour or so

                            dc

                            1. re: don515

                              Remoulade sauce or melted butter for crawfish????? If you have to use that they aren't seasoned properly, but to each his own. :)

                              1. re: roro1831

                                Never heard of melted butter or remoulade on crawfish and you can eat them cold or at room temperature. Reheating can make them chewy.

                                1. re: mrsfury

                                  "Seafood sauce" is an extremely common concoction served with boiled seafood of all kinds (crabs, shrimp, crawfish) in my corner of Louisiana. No backyard boil is complete without a bowl of dipping sauce. Many variations exist, but it is usually made of mayo, ketchup, horseradish, tabasco, and lemon juice....it's a shrimpy pink in color, and some put grated raw onion/onion juice, chopped parsley or green onions, or even raw garlic in it--others skip the mayo entirely. My 10-year-old nephew calls it "cracker sauce" as he thinks it is best used for dipping saltines, not seafood.

                                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                    seafood sauce here to for us. but only ketchup and mayo. sometimes sirracha if we really want to spice things up.

                                    to mrsfury-there are certain ways to reheat them that will make them just as good. our relatives always bring us back crawfish when they go to new orleans, so when we get them, we normally steam them back up to get them hot again.

                                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                      I worder if that is more of a cajun thing. My mom cannot eat crawfish with out the sauce and yes, there is always melted butter along side too. The crawfish are always properly seasoned, it just adds a new dimension to it.

                                      1. re: malenky

                                        The melted butter is definitely not a cajun thing in the Teche area, but the sauce is fairly common among some families. We always viewed it with slightly veiled contempt, as though the cook hadn't done a good enough job with the seasoning.

                                      2. re: Hungry Celeste

                                        LOL that's how I developed my now great love for raw oysters. I used to never touch them, but loved the crackers and sauce. Now I don't bother with the crackers, just the oysters and sauce. OMG now I've a craving for some good old NO mudbugs AND oysters!

                                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                          No no, I think you misunderstood me. I make a killer cocktail sauce, I've just never heard of anyone putting it on crawfish. And to vttp926 you are right, I think steaming would be a great idea. It's just too much trouble for me cuz I'll eat them cold or hot. Just gimme crawfish.

                                      3. re: roro1831

                                        It's all about the sauce. I second the others with the mayo, catsup, etc. Add some lemon juice and a dash of worcestershire. I've never known it to be a jab to the chef, and I'm one who never touch steak sauce at a steak restaurant. It just goes with the territory of crawfish. Every family and every restaurant I know that serves crawfish either mixes their own dip or brings out the makings of it so each person can create his own to his liking - a la Big Al's in Houma or Boiling Point in New Iberia.

                                        And I would say don't reheat them. Peel them and make etouffee. Go on foodtv.com and get emeril's simple etouffee recipe. It'll be much better than eating reheated crawfish.

                                        1. re: N.O.Food

                                          I will retract my statement and say that I have put out ketchup, but it's been for, as stated above, crackers. As the person who cooks some damn fine crawfish, i would say i would be offended by someone asking for sauce for the crawfish.
                                          When I lived in Dallas and boiled, a friend from NY showed up with his can of Old Bay and I was quite insulted when he put it on the crawfish....he paid the price when he realized how spicy they were without it.

                                          1. re: roro1831

                                            I like the dip mainly for the potatoes and sausage. I'll occasionally dip some bugs in it. I have no problem with it. And if someone presented me with dip or dip fixings, I will definitely use them.

                                            Also, consider the dip maker. My wife makes dam fine dip, and she would be offended if anyone didn't eat it! (exaggeration of course). Anyway, I feel like if you make the dip and present it with the bugs, it implies you won't be offended if people make use of it.

                                            You're situation is different. I think I might be put off by someone bringing their own stuff and putting it on the stuff I cooked. Especially someone from NY! And Old Bay on crawfish? Cher, what the...?

                                            To us, and everybody I know for that matter, making the sauce is just part of the boil. It's there if you want it. If you don't want it, don't eat it.

                                            1. re: N.O.Food

                                              Wow I was not expecting the Spanish Inquisition! Cooked crawfish don't lose anything being reheated for a minute or less.
                                              Remoulade may be more of a Stone Crab thing but goes great.
                                              Always one part mayo one part catsup,some Worcestershire,lemon juice. Not too much hot sauce,3 peppers white,black,cayenne,garlic powder. Rest is up to you. Never saw anyone send back drawn butter with their lobster,crab or shrimp?

                                              DC