Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Orleans part 4-Roadfood Crawfish Boil/Pig Roast

One of the reasons that we had gone to New Orleans was to take part in the Roadfood Crawfish Boil/Pig Roast. The past four years before, the Roadfood team took a bus around various foodie places to try local cuisines (previous ones had been Northeastern desserts and BBQ around Austin, TX). Chris had always wanted to try going on one of these tours, but we never made it. This year, the location was a place that we hadn't been and it was a different agenda. All the food would be in one place and there would be four buses instead of just one.

Before the 20-30 minute ride out to the bayou, they took us to Hansen's Sno-Bliz. This little building is in the middle of nowhere, but well worth the drive to get a refreshing frozen treat. If you go to their website, you can read about the history of the place. The owner's grandparents were the masterminds of this. Her grandpa actually invented the ice shaving machine that they still use to this day.

There are multiple flavors to choose from, but with the big group, they limited it to 3 flavors: cream of nectar, strawberry and satsuma (a tart citrus fruit) & you could add sweetened condensed milk to your flavor. Our friends thought this was a strange topping, but it's actually something that I was surprised to see in America. It's fairly common in Asia to see sweetened condensed milk on shaved ice and it's something that I grew up eating since I was a toddler. The best flavor was the satsuma with the milk. The combination of the tart with the sweet was a perfect blend and would be wonderful during a hot, humid New Orleans day.

After our pit stop, we headed out to the bayou where the crawfish boil/pig roast took place. There was a swamp full of small alligators swimming right by the picnic area (ugh) and plenty of mosquitoes that feasted on my blood.

We met the Roadfood team, Michael and Jane Stern, but we only got a pic with Michael. It was a little disappointing that we didn't get to chat with them for a longer period of time (it was probably 2 minutes before they had to run off) because they were busy talking with other guests who had attended previous ones (it was almost frat-like) and since they were playing hosts to everyone.

The whole pig.
Carving the pig. The meat was excellent, but Chris and I were bummed that the pig skin wasn't the super crispy skin that you see Anthony Bourdain eat on his shows all the time. The skin was tough and inedible, so basically just a layer to protect the meat while cooking.
A boat load of boiled shrimp. Not my favorite since the shrimp were small and hard to peel. A lot of work for little reward.
The rest of the spread: potatoes, corn, bread and two kinds of jambalaya--alligator or chicken with andouille sausage. Chicken jambalaya was definitely the best dish of the night.
Crayfish. I've eaten crayfish before, but usually in a dish already shelled. Too much work for me. But the males seemed to enjoy them.

Chris and I are undecided on if we'll do this again or not. It wasn't cheap at $95/person (all you can eat food and drink) and I am not sure that it was worth it. They did donate money to charity, so I feel a little better about spending that much. If we had gone to different restaurants on the tour like they had in the past, the experience would have been worth it. We'll have to see what's on the agenda next year before we decide.

New Orleans Part 5 (and the last one) will be coming soon :)

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