#25 Rib America/Crawfish Boil - St. Louis, MO - May 29, 2010
You can call them Crawdads, Crayfish, Crawfish or Mudbugs, or many other names, but you will have to call them delicious. If you are a loyal reader of this blog you know we came across Crawfish at the Towboat Festival last year where I described the eating technique and what that strange yellow stuff inside actually is. This year I went to the Broadway Oyster Bar for their Crawfish Boil. Yes, this bounty was dumped upon my table's shores onto a brown piece of paper. No utensils needed, Twist, Pull, Suck. Then tediously tear into the tail for the delicious little meat inside. Effort? Yes. Worth it? Yes.
Maybe they wanted to display the freshness of their crawfish, but for some reason they paraded this poor live crawfish through the dining area so he could see all of his fallen brethren. So, I had to take a picture to remind that crawfish to remain on the straight and narrow and avoid the same hot tub treatment as his friends. That crawfish was huge, but stayed on his best behavior. P.S. his friends were delicious, and he is nowhere near as cute as the baby lamb that made me question eating lamb for about 4 seconds at this year's Sheep Festival. Ugly animals get no love.
This man had the crawfish moving. The menu consisted of about 12 different crawfish dishes, but the main draw was definitely the whole crawfish served by the half or whole bucket. I think it should be a rule that anything they serve by the bucket is inherently good. Yet, my hankering for Crawfish could not end there.
That's where the Crawfish Balls come in. I had no idea what to expect by the name, but out came this plate of GBD (Golden Brown and Delicious). It wasn't much more than a crab cake with crawfish instead of crab, and for some reason had a bunch of rice for a filler. It tasted like a crawfish etouffe breaded and fried, but somehow without the excitement. The sauce was good and the Parmesan was a nice touch, but file in the column of could be done better. But for something named crawfish balls it could have been worse.
I wish I didn't take such a horrible picture of such good bbq. This is the Beef Brisket Sandwich from Willingham's BBQ at the Rib America Festival. This was a heavenly sandwich. The brisket was tear away tender with a smoked in flavor that didn't even require sauce or any other topping. I almost felt guilty eating this in a bun. Either my camera has issues taking focused photos with a flash or I was so excited I was moving too quick, either way the picture doesn't do it justice. I will check this place out next time I'm in Memphis.
Video of the Week: We were all in suspense as to whether Bret Michaels would actually show to play the Rib America Festival in St. Louis. The man had only suffered a brain hemorrhage and then discovered a hole in his heart (and not in a figurative rocker way). But for Bret Michaels, it is always "Nothing But A Good Time". Here he is from far away singing the classic "Every Rose Has It's Thorn". I almost feel 20 years younger.
I normally prefer festivals in smaller towns, but these two festivals in St. Louis were quite productive. With these larger festivals it is hard to sample a wide variety of foods as the prices are normally stadium size, so I had to leave some selections behind. I was pleasantly surprised with the Crawfish Boil as it actually featured some great food along with some great music from Folk'n Bluegrass.
Maybe you're still wondering what a crawfish actually is. Then here is the Cajun response, apparently they are their own worst enemies and eat their recently moulted shells for the calcium and they actually have gills. Who Knew? Maybe you thought the live crawfish from earlier was cute or you haven't heard of the food chain, either way if you want to raise a pet crawfish here are the instructions. I worked in the restaurant industry for years, and stories like this make me laugh because I know they are probably true. As always, if you want to know too much about crawfish then click here. Or, if you just want to eat some now, then click here or here. Or maybe you didn't know that even the great Elvis Presley sang about the mighty Crawfish in the Movie, "King Creole".
This was a fun day in downtown St. Louis. The crawfish boil was much better than expected and I walked the semi-long walk from the restaurant to the Rib America Festival where BBQ awaited. Rib America is where this little website first began. It almost seems like a year ago. Thank you to my two readers who have followed me along this festival silliness for an official year now. I hope to only go further in this endeavor and hopefully provide a 10 minute break a week from any one's stressful life. Now off to a brand new year of silliness at its finest.