By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Minh T Truong
By Molly Dunn
By Brooke Viggiano
By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Molly Dunn
By Molly Dunn
By Eating Our Words
Crawfish cheesecake at Backstreet Cafe
Sommelier Sean Beck calls the oddly named "crawfish cheesecake" created by chef Hugo Ortega at Backstreet Cafe "a decadent version of a quiche with a healthy kick of spice." I call it lunch, especially when it's served with a roasted red pepper hollandaise sauce and green salad on the side and eaten al fresco on Backstreet's pretty patio.
Crawfish bread at Beaucoup Bar & Grill
The Cajun restaurant off Highway 288 near the Medical Center is known as much for this famous appetizer as it is for gumbo, po-boys and deep-fried hamburger. Imagine the best garlic bread you've ever eaten, topped with juicy crawfish meat and melting, bubbling cheese. The crawfish bread is one of the major reasons Beaucoup was awarded a Best of Houston® award for Best Cajun in 2009.
Crawfish enchiladas at Casarez
Casarez bills itself as Creole-Mex. As such, you shouldn't find it odd to encounter items like the popular crawfish enchiladas that are stuffed with tail meat, then covered in both "étouffée sauce" and queso. God in heaven. Just writing that gives me goosebumps.
Cajun egg rolls at St. John's Fire
This was the very first item I ever tried from the St. John's Fire food truck, and it's still my favorite. Not only are the Cajun egg rolls stuffed full of plump crawfish tails, they also come with shrimp and Tasso ham inside. It's a Bayou buffet inside a bubbly, crunchy wrapper.
Crawfish half and half at Joyce's Seafood & Steaks
The best of both worlds is on one plate at Joyce's Seafood & Steaks: fried crawfish and crawfish étouffée. While this is not particularly creative, it bears mentioning because of two things. First, the fried crawfish at Joyce's are the best and biggest I've had anywhere in Houston. And second, although it's not everyone's cup of gumbo, I love the buttery blond roux at Joyce's for its soft, subtle way of enhancing the crawfish's natural sweetness.
Crawfish bisque at Bayou City Seafood
I can count on two fingers the number of places where the bisque never disappoints: Gaido's in Galveston and Bayou City Seafood on Richmond at the Loop. The crawfish bisque here is always pitch-perfect: creamy without being too dense or oily, spiked with a rush of flavor instead of flat and one-note, and flush with plump crawfish tails.
Crawfish rolls at Fraîche Mobile Kitchen
Maine and the rest of New England can keep their lobster rolls. We have something sweeter down here: the crawfish roll, thanks to Fraîche Mobile Kitchen. It's the creation of the Fraîche team: former pastry chef Kristen Schafbuch and chef Balmore Gomez, both of whom you can find onboard their food truck at the City Hall Farmers Market every Wednesday.
Crawfish tostada at BB's Café
This is exactly what it sounds like. If, for some reason, you aren't in the mood for a BB Gun (the crawfish po-boy) or a Cajun crawfish boil, you can get your crawfish atop a crispy corn disc loaded up with a blend of Cajun, Southwestern and Tex-Mex ingredients: red beans, Cajun slaw, avocado, black bean corn relish, salsa verde and sour cream. BB's Café tends to throw everything at the wall to see what sticks; the tostada is a shining example of what happens when it all does.
Crawfish enchiladas at Cyclone Anaya's
Unlike the enchiladas at Casarez, these are more straightforward Tex-Mex than anything else — plus, they're available only during March. The crawfish enchiladas are a yearly seasonal special, just like the mudbugs themselves, and are even better when washed down with one of Cyclone's tornado-strength margaritas.
Mass Transit Market
You, too, can shop for groceries on the light rail.
When I tell people that my husband and I share a car and have for the entire three years we have lived in Houston, we get a lot of funny looks. It's true that the logistics don't always work out, but we almost always make it work. Note the "almost" — that's the little word that forced me to get out and explore my grocery-shopping options via light rail.
On more than one occasion, I've found myself with both an empty kitchen and an empty stomach but no car to hop into to get to the grocery store. Most of the time I opt for an afternoon of playing hooky from work and riding the train to do some people watching/grocery shopping. It's an easy way to have a little urban adventure and feel productive at the same time.
I'm not going to claim that this is any way to do a week's worth of grocery shopping, but it sure is fun to pick up enough for a meal or two.
The number of grocery-shopping options along the rail has grown in the last year or two. And a little work with Google Maps plus the METRORail Web site — which is full of information if not organized in a totally intuitive way — can help you find the best options for grocery shopping while you ride the rails here in the city. My favorite shopping stops: