Mary Tutwiler

Eat your heart out in the Big Easy

by Mary Tutwiler

This is news you can use. The Times Picayune’s spring dining guide is on the street, chock-a-block with listings of places to get boiled crawfish, places that have innovative crawfish dishes on their menus, and food critic Brett Anderson’s picks of the top 100 restaurants in the Big Easy.

New Orleans has come a long way when it comes to boiled crawfish. When I was growing up in the Crescent City, eons ago, boiled seafood was served chilled. Cold crabs, cold river shrimp, cold crawfish. I never met a hot boiled mudbug until my family made an Easter pilgrimage to Acadiana, back in the 1960s, and we discovered Pat’s in Henderson and the delights of steaming platters of too-hot-to-touch crawfish. Today, Anderson tallys “20 Joints that boil’em right” from uptown to the lakefront, Metarie to the westbank, he’s found the biggest, spiciest crawfish New Orleans has to offer.

April is a great month for Louisiana crawfish, ponds are still producing and the basin mudbugs are beginning to come in. Anderson notes dishes like Thai-Coon, a stack of crawfish, shrimp and fried eggplant spiked with a Thai sweet and basil-fragrant sauce, Crawfish Dynamite, spicy crawfish stew served over fried green tomatoes and Crawfish Enchiladas. If that weren’t enough encouragement, Anderson’s list Of “100 Great Palces to Eat,” will keep you busy for an entire year of weekend gastronomy.

The guide is available on line, click here , but I recommend a trip to local newstands to pick up a copy of the Sunday, April 20, TP. The photography is as good as the writing, check out the centerspread of two nuns picking up their seafood dinner by David Grunfeld. This is one hard copy you will want to have on hand for your next trip to the Big Eatsy. The TP isn’t the only publication focused on food, look for The Ind’s dining guide in our April 30 edition.