new Things I Ate in Cambodia: The New Orleans Seafood Festival

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The New Orleans Seafood Festival

The New Orleans Seafood Festival is a celebration of the sea critters that we dearly love to devour. Now in its third year, the Fest features food booths from a variety of local restaurants, live music, cooking demonstrations, and other vaguely-seafood themed attractions. The proceeds for the event benefit the Lousiana Hospitality Association. Think that means hotels and whatnot, but I could be wrong.

Oysters on the grill.

It was incredibly, incredibly hot on Saturday, but I worked through the pain to meet my friends at Fulton Square, next door to Harrah's hotel. We nipped in to grab an adult beverage or two, then surveyed the food options (while standing next to a lovely mist-emitting fan).

We just missed renowned local chef Frank Brigsten. He was demonstrating how to cook something or other. I desperately want to visit his restaurant, Brigstens - which is known for its gigantic and reportedly delicious mixed seafood platter.

Drago's restaurant is known almost entirely for its chargrilled oysters, an extremely popular dish in these parts. (As if adding huge amounts of butter, herbs, and breadcrumbs to oysters could be anything but popular). These were pretty good, although the oysters had shriveled a bit under the heat of the flames.

Seafood boudin? Seafood boudin! Boudin is of course Louisiana's rather unusual rice-and-meat filled sausage, usually prepared with pig but occasionally jazzed up seafood. Couldn't decide quite how I felt about this: never have eaten anything quite like it, but the sausage treatment renders seafood a bit dry.

Crab cakes with a spicy remoulade sauce. These were okay: I prefer the chunkier style of crabcake, with less breading and bigger pieces of crab. These had a smooth texture, almost like a pate.

Fish ceviche with lime, onions, and jalapeno. There's about a million different ways to prepare ceviche, and this fishy version hit the spot: nice and tangy, and even better with some crackers crumbled into it. There was also Mexican-style shrimp cocktail on offer, but I didn't partake.

No one had any soft shell crabs! That's tragic, a travesty. Soft shell crabs are in my opinion about as good as it gets vis a vis New Orleans seafood eating, at least on par with elegant puppy-drum preparations and tremendous piles of steaming, vermillion crawdads. We were filled with sorrow.

Speaking of crawdads, this photo was delightful. I want a poster.


foodhoe said...

That last photo is awesome! Jealous about the heat, we're getting chilly around here, seems like summer skipped us this year. Looks like a fun way to benefit a good cause.

KirkK said...

Hi Faine - I love that last photo too.....

Lyn said...

That last photo reminds me of the time I was assaulted in a Randalls in Houston by a crawdad. They had the little buggers on ice in a display in the seafood section. One had escaped and as I was standing there in my sandals looking through the selection I was surprised by a ferocious nip on my toe. Scared the hell out of me...that crawdad was seriously pissed off.

After I screamed, leaped 4 feet straight up, and finally identified the culprit I about fell over laughing.