This past weekend was my 31st birthday. 31! I’m officially closer to 40 than 20, which is…. Crazy? Awesome? Horrifying? The jury is still out on that one.
Although I don’t feel anywhere close to 31, in Mature Older Person fashion, I did NOT go out and get super trashed on my birthday. Instead, I told Husband that I wanted to have a crawfish boil for the big 3-1.
Crawfish is a way a life in the South. It being crawfish season right now, my Facebook feed has been inundated with photos of friends and family feasting on crawfish on a near-daily basis. When we were living in Texas, we had family crawfish boils almost every weekend. If you didn’t have one that weekend, you probably went to Cajun Kitchen, Crawfish & Noodle, Boiling Crab, or some other crawfish restaurant to satisfy the craving. “Not having crawish in a while” meant like 7-10 days.
Crawfish generally isn’t eaten or sold in Seattle, so it’s nearly impossible to buy locally. I think there’s one crawfish restaurant in the city, but it has terrible reviews. As such, Husband and I have not had crawfish in over a year. I know this because I have a photo of said last crawfish meal and it says it was taken 58 weeks ago. OVER A YEAR! We found out that none of our friends in Seattle had ever had crawfish before, so that sealed the deal. We planned to have crawfish sent up from Texas or Louisiana for an authentic crawfish boil for my birthday in Seattle. So excite! Husband contacted my aunt for my family’s crawfish recipe (it’s the best) and we were on our way to our crawfish extravaganza!
Or so we thought. Turns out, in efforts to sustain native aquatic species in the state, recent Washington State legislation has made it illegal to have live crawfish shipped into the state. Places Husband called in Southern states were already aware of the law and refused to ship. Husband called restaurants, seafood suppliers, and fisheries all over the state trying to find a place that either had or could source crawfish, but no luck. No one had any, and no one was buying any. My Crawfish Birthday seemed like a no go, and we were about to fall back on my Benihana Birthday backup plan (also delicious!), but as a last resort, Husband contacted seafood suppliers in our neighbor to the south, Portland, Oregon.
And good ol’ PDX came through! We found a supplier that was willing to overnight us some Oregon crawfish as live cargo on a passenger plane, which I assume is not the same as shipping live seafood through the mail, and therefore, legal. So on Sunday morning, we picked them up from the airport. This made me laugh because I kept imagining little crawfish standing outside the baggage claim, waiting for us to pick them up. “Hey, guys, did you land yet? Did you check bags? Only carry-on? Cool, be there in 10 minutes.”
Crawfish birthday was a success! The weather was perfect so we sat outside all afternoon and evening. We ate for almost 6 hours and then played terrible late 90’s, early 00’s music (last night, there was no bl-an-ket). Eeveryone loved their first crawfish experience. I was so happy everyone liked it!
As for the crawfish, I was really pleasantly surprised at the Oregon crawfish. They were a really good size, minimal dead white ones (dry and white, like when E.T. got sick), and the meat was really firm. The flavor was sweeter and more subtle than Southern crawfish, which I feel has a bolder and “dirtier” (not in a bad way) taste. Maybe due to lack of swamp water or Gulf of Mexico-runoff, who knows. The one bad thing about the Oregon crawfish was that the shells were super hard and REALLY SHARP. Even though we wore gloves, everyone kept getting stabbed by spiky shells through their gloves. I didn’t even know crawfish HAD spikes! They were ridiculously sharp and pointy, and gloves were getting punctured and torn left and right. However, despite the really hard shells, once you were able to crack them (sometimes with the help of the table), the shell peeled super easily from the meat. Can’t say whether Pacific NW or Southern crawfish is better, just different.
Thank you to my frands who came and made Crawfish Birthday a success! Love you guys! A special thank you goes to Husband who researched and found the crawfish, as well as cooked the crawfish for everyone all night. Thanks, babe!
And now, on to being 31.