If there were ever a place built to host crawfish boils, it's Moon Tower Inn.
People stretched languidly across the lawn in chairs brought from home, puppies and little kids roamed across the grass and folks sweated out one of the first muggy weekends of the year yesterday afternoon with $8 pitchers of Bombshell Blonde that left wet rings on the wooden picnic tables. At one shaded picnic table, a Hispanic woman was giving haircuts and fixing weaves. Moon Tower seems to have become a welcome fixture in the East End.
On Canal, a firetruck pulled up and four firemen hopped off. The festivities quieted briefly while kids in skinny jeans and bright red Wayfarers tried to discern why the firemen were there. One of the firemen laughed, "Relax. We're just here for the hot dogs."
Fifteen minutes later, the firemen were playing horseshoes in the yard while they waited for their food, and the party had wound back up again.
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There was only enough crawfish for 60 people, and the crawfish were small. But people shared, strangers helping each other tear off paper towels or fill cardboard trays. They relished the huge heads of garlic, links of spicy sausage, entire heads of cauliflower and bright purple potatoes that Moon Towers' owners Brandon Young and Evan Shannon had thrown into the boil. My friend and I grabbed a seat with Mindy Kucan -- the Houston Press' best bartender of 2010 -- and a few other friends, then set about destroying a pheasant dog, a pitcher of Blonde and a few trays of crawfish.
Soon, the line grew long for both crawfish and dogs at the sole ordering window. Our pitcher of beer was drained and we were sweaty, covered with crawfish debris and suddenly craving cheese enchiladas. We decided to take shelter in the air-conditioned confines of a Tex-Mex restaurant, and left the rest of the crawfish to the hungry masses. But what a boil it was.
I hope Moon Tower decides to make this a monthly to-do throughout crawfish season, because I'll be at each one.
For more photos from the boil, check out our slideshow.