Yankee in the South: The Crawfish Experience
A new week, a new southern experience for the Northerner, it's name: Crawfish.
Crawfish, a southern delicacy which has its very own season in which everybody partakes in at least multiple times per year. These tiny lobsters are best consumed in late February through May when they're at their peak in terms of size and deliciousness.
Now, there are many elements to eating crawfish, first of which is who you go with, especially if you're a newbie much like my Yankee self. For me, it was perfect timing, my buddy Alex was still down from Canada and he was looking to partake in the crawfish festivities as well.
Now, you may be thinking, "Geeze, these two donkey's are going to try to tackle crawfish by themselves!? They must be outside their minds." However, we weren't, we brought in an expert, a crawfish veteran if you will, one of my good friends, and one of the best sales people I've ever met, Kathleen Gannon. Kathleen would serve as our crawfish guru.
Next thing you need to do is find the right place to go to consume your crawfish. If you're as lucky as we were to have a crawfish guru then I would say defer to them when choosing the best location. So, we deferred to Kathleen and she led us to Dwight's on Johnston Street in Lafayette, LA. Although, it's never a bad idea to rely on yelp when trying to find a place with some good crawfish, listen to the people who have been there and done that.
Dwight's is a "Down-home stop serving crawfish, meatloaf & other American dishes, plus BBQ fare, in no-frills digs." Its got a very comfortable and cozy feeling to the place as you walk in you're immediately greeted and there's plenty of seating for tons of crawfish consumption.
Most of, if not all of the tables have a hole cut out in the center with a trash can ready for the crawfish feast. This simple innovation is perfect for making your eating experience convenient so your plate doesn't get crowded with already broken up crawfish.
We each ordered three pounds of crawfish, Alex and Kathleen got spicy, while I wasn't as daring and went with mild (I know, I know-give me a break I'm still getting used to having spice in everything I eat). We were warned to not touch our eyes for the rest of the night after peeling so many crawfish with the spices on them (good advice to follow).
The crawfish came with a few small potatoes and Kathleen and I got sausage with our order, which in my estimation was a great decision.
Now, I'm not sure if this is something that's common at all places that serve boiled crawfish but we had the option of either making our own dipping sauce or using the already made sauce. Kathleen highly suggested we try making our own under her watch and boy did she teach us well. So, the sauce consists of, mayo, ketchup, horseradish, and for me a touch of hot sauce (add some lemon juice if desired).
Once the crawfish came out it was on! Kathleen taught us how to peel the tails with ease. All you have to do is basically, crack and rip from the side of the tail and then you can pull the meat out from the tail like a shrimp. As for the claws, look for some crawfish with larger claws, those of course consist of additional meat, don't miss out on the extra meat ever!
The end result? Well, I was crushing equal parts crawfish, sausage, and potatoes so I wasn't able to finish all three pounds. Alex didn't order sausage so he took the extra crawfish off my plate and Kathleen's basically a pro-she ran through her helping.
Overall, it was a great experience and would love to try different crawfish spots in or around Lafayette. Any suggestions, please feel free to comment below!
What other Cajun country activities do I need to try? Let me know, leave me a comment as far as that goes as well.