Thursday, June 28, 2007
As I mentioned in my C&C Express post, as my cousin was snacking on the hot vit lon (Vietnamese fetal or embryo duck eggs), we were headed off for appetizers before going to another place for dinner. This is after a quite full lunch at Brodard Restaurant. Yes, we're still talking about the same day. It just got stretched into three posts. :) We went across the street to the Asian Village Mall so the visitors could take pictures with Confucius and all his disciples at the Cultural Court, and so my brother's friend could stop off at the grocery store to look for fresh jackfruit. Unfortunately, they were out of jackfruit, but I scored 2 very fresh and very sweet Dole pineapples for only 88 cents each! My brother's friend also wanted to eat at one of the many Vietnamese-owned Cajun crawfish places that have opened up in Orange County in recent years. Does it make you feel like you're in a honky-tonk in the deep South? It's as bare bones as possible. Paper on the tables. Bibs for patrons. A whole roll of paper towels. The waitress even nicely went around tying the bibs on for all of us. Well, all except for one of my brother's friends who was kicking himself for sitting so far away that the waitress handed over a bib and asked him to tie it himself. :P The seafood usually goes for market price and on this particular night, the crawfish/crawdads/crayfish was $6.99 per pound. They were completely out of crab. And shrimp wasn't exotic enough for my cousin to try. My cousin had never had raw oysters before. So we ordered a dozen for $14.99. I have no idea what kind these were. We just squirted some limes, added some cocktail sauce, and they just slid down my throat. After two, my cousin decided she had had enough since she just wanted to try them to say she experienced it. The basket of calamari was nicely crispy, not heavily breaded, and only $5.99. We ordered two pounds of crawfish with mild seasoning. The choices are lemon pepper, garlic butter, and rockin' combo. The crawfish are served in a clear plastic bag, often with a few pieces of sausage or corn thrown in. One of my brother's friend's, who's from Mississippi, kept exclaiming that these prices were completely jacked up. Cajun crawfish places are cheap and ubiquitous in his neck of the woods. He said in Mississippi, fresh crawfish range from $1.50 to $2 a pound, and in Houston they're $2.50 to $3.99. Not that crawfish are only confined to the South, mind you. I've caught a few in my time. They're plentiful in rivers and streams in Oregon. We'd usually stop off on our way home from fishing along the coast. I'd tie a rib to a long stick, jab it under a crevice, wait until the crawfish grabbed a hold of the meat, and then I'd shake it into a bucket. If that didn't work, I'd scream for my brother to hurry over and grab it before it crawled away. Nothing beat fresh crawfish that I caught myself. My mom would boil them. Then it was time to eat. Ripping off the heads, sucking out any juices, bending the tail lengthwise to break the shell, before pulling out the tail. They were so delicious dipped into salt, pepper, and lime juice. So much work for so little meat. But it was sooo worth it. So succulent. Tastes like lobster to me. Eating these crawfish, even with the very strong Cajun spices, brought back some nice memories from my childhood. Oh, yes, back to the story, here's the "after" picture. After I left to wash my hands, our order of potatoes arrived. 50 cents each. I had totally forgotten about these. And actually, I wonder if the waitress had heard our request for mild because these were spicy! So spicy that two of my brother's friends literally had sweat running down their faces. So spicy that one of them peeled the skin from the potato and he was still sweating. Anyway, surely you didn't think we were done? Two pounds of crawfish, 1 dozen oysters, 1 basket of calamari, and 6 potatoes for six people? Nah, that was just the appetizer. :P We then moved on to Seol Ak San - Stanton for our real dinner. Nothing fills ya up like Korean barbecue with all the panchan (side dishes). Other Cajun crawfish restaurants: The Boiling Crab - Alhambra (Main St.) The Boiling Crab - Alhambra (Valley Blvd.) Rockin' Crawfish 9211 Bolsa Ave., Suite 120 Westminster, CA, 92683 714-894-4536 Monday to Thursday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday 2 p.m. to midnight Sunday 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.