Hot catch

Pub date July 3, 2012
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap Eats

CHEAP EATS Yeah, and part of the idea of going to New York City was to escape New Orleans’s heat, which would best be described (for those who haven’t been) as hot.

Hot hot hot hot hot.

As luck would have it, best laid plans and all, it was even hotter than that in New York while we were there, squeak squeak, fuckity fuck. It was hot hot hot hot hot hot hot. So as soon as we got back home to hot hot hot hot hot, we went camping.

In an air-conditioned camper. With our landlordladypersons, an adorable couple name a Pam and Cindy. Now Cindy, being a tried and true in the wool Cajun, has a brother name a Blaine only everybody calls him Bruno. And this Blaine (only everybody calls him Bruno) is my new favorite person because even though he knew we were crazy for camping on the edge of a swamp during mosquito season, he not only loaned us his trailer but drove it there. And parked it. He’s a truck driver.

Our campsite had been under water the previous weekend, and therefore vacant, so the mosquitos were happy to see us.

We heated our dinner in microwaves that first night. S’mores were not discussed. Next day, though, there was a breeze and we were able to sit outside all day and watch a hawk wrestle with a giant catfish that had been trapped in a puddle.

Hawk won.

Hedgehog took pictures, if anyone wants to see them. She also shot some alligators, and a sweet, tiny red parrot that had fallen in love with our friend Cherry’s roof rack.

I went around pulling dead sticks out of trees, and that night’s dinner happened over a fire. Here’s what I grilled: salmon, swordfish, boudin, turnips, tomatoes, peppers, pineapple, peaches, and garlic. The corn I soaked in its husks and threw on the coals.

On Sunday Blaine Only Bruno (or Bob, as I call him for short) came back and took me, Hedgehog, and Cindy to his crawfish pond. So, yeah, so that was how I spent the last part of my last weekend in Louisiana: having a complete pond-to-table crawfish experience.

We piled into this patchy li’l boat and sat on upside-down buckets. The traps are baited with sweet potatoes! Bob putt-putted us around the pond, pulling them up and dumping the crawfish onto a stainless steel sorting table, where we took turns wiping the angry ones through the square hole into net bags, and tossing the half-eaten or otherwise at-peace ones back into the water.

After, driving along the levee in his pickup truck with probably 50 pounds of crawfish for our dinner and then some, Bob told us about his friend’s crawfishing brother who looks like Z.Z. Top and had recently “caught a heart attack.”

Moments later, we ran into him, sitting in a pick-up truck of his own, eating a bag of potato chips and looking indeed like Z.Z. Top — the whole band. Pleasantries were exchanged. Potato chips were not.

Nevertheless, when we got to Bob and Cindy’s mama’s house, where the crawfish were to be boiled, I caught a stomachache — which is a horrible thing to have when you are about to eat 50 pounds of crawfish.

In a desperate attempt to get good again, I guzzled ginger ale. I ate a piece of dry toast. I sat in a recliner and closed my eyes, and missed the part where we boiled them to death.

Hedgehog was there. She said the secret was to not only add the seasoning to the pot, but to plaster them with it afterwards.

Well, they were spicy, and the best crawfish ever. Once I started eating them, I couldn’t stop. In fact, I’m still eating them. Packing up for the long road ahead: New Orleans to Frisco, by way of Pennsylvania and Ohio, or home to home, via home and home.

When I was there — home home — last time, Crawdad de la Cooter kept wanting to go to all these new Cajun restaurants popping up all over the Bay Area, even in Fairfax. I suppose after I’ve been back for a few months I will need these places, but for now I’d rather be eating pho and watching soccer at my new favorite Vietnamese restaurant and sports bar:


Lunch: Mon-Sat 11am-2pm; Dinner: Mon-Sun 5-10:30pm

2067 University Ave., Berk.

(510) 981-1789


Full bar