Perhaps no New Orleans meal is more iconic than the crawfish boil: heaps of spicy crawfish dumped on newspaper-draped tables, with corn and potatoes for garnish.
Always best with a cold beverage, it’s a hands-on party that involves finding the biggest crawfish you can grab, separating the head (sucking on that bit is optional, but tasty), and squeezing out the meat from the tail. You will get messy, and it’s not an activity for anyone who can’t handle their meal staring back at them. If you’re game, though, it’s an experience unlike any other.
This summer, crawfish boils are popping up around Portland faster than you can pull a mudbug from a bayou swamp. If a trip to NOLA isn’t on your list, here are a few places you can snag a mighty fine boil.
New Orleans-born, Vietnamese Executive Chef and Owner Anh Luu offers a weekly crawfish boil from June through November every year, when Oregon crawfish are in season.
Served during dinner hours every Friday and through the weekend until sold out, Luu packs her boil with her unique Southern-Vietnamese approach to cooking: crawfish, andouille sausage, corn, edamame, and potatoes with a butter, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass sauce. The cost? Just $18.
The Waiting Room
The Waiting Room has blossomed into one of my top choices in Nob Hill, serving some very, very fine fried chicken in a city chock-a-block full of good bird. This summer they’ve been hosting a monthly crawfish boil, the next of which is Saturday, August 18.
And this one has $1 rosé!! ALERT! $1 ROSÉ! For $12 per pound, grab a spicy boil and a glass of rosé starting at $1 at 1 pm, and going up $1 an hour till the event ends at 5 pm. This time around, you can also snag tasty blue crab with corn and potatoes for $16.
Big Easy Oregon Crawfish Boil
This one-time event is located at the 19th Hole, the summer-only mini golf course and beer garden located downtown across from the Hotel Deluxe. On Saturday, August 18, Chef Juan Zaragoza is serving all-you-can-eat Columbia River crawfish and the fixings for $35 per person. Two pints of Louisiana-brewed beer are included in the event price.
Use this as an chance to try freshwater lobsters in their natural environment: Everyone who buys a ticket to this event will be entered to win a two-night stay at the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery in New Orleans. Sat Aug 18, noon-3 pm, SW 15th & Yamhill, advance reservations required
My Brother’s Crawfish
This Southern-themed restaurant on Southeast 82nd almost always has crawfish on hand, starting at $11.99 a pound for a proper boil, and you can throw in goodies like mushrooms, Dungeness crab, King Crab legs, and more.
Rockin’ Crab Café
With two locations, Rockin’ Crab Café has seasonal live crawfish on hand (sometimes from Oregon, sometimes flown in from Louisiana) at $14 a pound. You can choose your spice level, from mild to “burn me,” and what else goes in the pot.