Showdown at LA Crawfish

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Last week, I blogged about catering a crawfish boil. But where do you go when you want to participate in a crawfish eat-off? Where do you go when you want to eat a ton of good crawfish, with enough dining space so you don't have to worry about getting elbowed in the face by a fellow contender?

My friends like to debate who can eat the most mudbugs -- call it an ego thing. Last week, two friends and my husband had a crawfish showdown. I personally prefer to enjoy my crawfish in more relaxed fashion, so I chose not to participate in the contest but rather attend as a dining spectator. They picked LA Crawfish (LA being short for Louisiana) for the contest. I'd heard about this new joint inside the 99 Ranch supermarket through the crawfish grapevine.

LA Crawfish had only opened its doors in February, but word was out that they had the biggest, best crawfish in town. For $5.99 per pound, you get large crawfish cooked to your desired level of spiciness. (I opt for a happy medium.)

The crawfish tasted garlicky -- just how I like it -- and the marinade was savory enough that I didn't need extra dipping condiments. If you like jumbo crawfish, this is the place to get them. I personally prefer mine to be medium-size, because it makes for easier peeling, and the tail meat soaks up the marinade better.

But despite LA Crawfish's huge mudbugs, there didn't seem to be much sacrifice in the way of taste. I also appreciate that there was no long wait, and service was friendly. If you don't like crawfish, LA Crawfish also offers blue crab, snow crab, peel-n-eat shrimp, chicken wings (battered in potato starch for extra crispiness), gumbo, fries any which way...and the list goes on and on. The place is even B.Y.O.B. -- just be sure you eat in the designated area so the grocers don't come yelling.

At the end of the day, the winner of the eat-off was my husband, who came in at a nice 18 pounds. (He says he regrets not tacking on another two pounds just to hit a solid 20.) Our other friend (also male) was runner-up with 16, and my girlfriend ate an impressive ten pounds. (She claims she could've eaten more but was just too slow at peeling to keep up.) I ate my usual three-and-a-half pounds, average for me.

Tail meat is approximately 15 percent of the crawfish's entire weight, so that means my husband ate a little less than three pounds of actual meat. I guess that's better than 18 pounds, but I still don't know if I should be proud or disgusted.

And if massive quantity isn't your thing, LA Crawfish offers the Hotter Than Hell challenge, which involves eating crawfish cooked with ghost peppers -- you have to suck the heads, too, which are where all the spices sit. Till next season...

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