Sunday, June 13, 2010

Crawfish Boil Ho Down in the Marina

Oh baby, how I love any kind of seafood boil. I guess because I didn't grow up with boils in Hawaii (maybe it was too hot to do it at the beach?) so it's like such a novelty for me. So when I heard about the annual San Francisco Crawfish Boil, I signed up with my food blogger friend Foodhoe, who also brought a few of her friends because with a boil, the more the merrier!

I'm not really sure who started the crawfish boil or who's the organizer, but it's been going on for seven years and sounds like it started with a just a few friends but now, thanks to the Internet and social media, it's a huge event. Foodhoe and I headed over to San Francisco's Marina Green on Saturday for the start of the event.

When we got there, this was the line of people checking in. We didn't care because the weather was ab-so-LUTE-ly beautiful. I mean, just look at the view!

For the first hour, the organizers gave out free Budweiser beer while we waited for the crawfish to cook. That was a pretty smart idea to get everyone in a party mood so that they wouldn't complain about waiting for the food. Several people started to lay out on the lawn enjoying the live music and warm sun.

I'm not sure who this guy is, but I think he's the one in charge because he was directing everyone boiling the crawfish. When you have an apron like that, you've got to be in charge.

Here is the row of pots with crawfish simmering. In the same line of each pot was a table where people started to stake their position.

See, here's one table where people have their paper trays and free beer ready to scoop up the crawfish, which will be dumped right on the table. I'm not sure if this is how crawfish boils are traditionally done, but the mass feeding just made me want to laugh.

After awhile, the first pot got dumped and there was such an electricity in the air as everyone started scooping up crawfish along with baby red potatoes and corn.

Here's my tray. Looks like a lot of crawfish, huh? The crawfish had a bit of spice kick to it, although it didn't remind me of the Old Bay spice I was expecting from New Orleans-style crawfish. Still, it was good, but a lot of work peeling the crawfish. I really enjoyed the cooked through potatoes but the corn was a thumbs down. Everyone agreed that the corn was too salty and overcooked.

Here are a few casualties from the table dump as a few crawfish ended up on the ground from the mad grab for crawfish.

Here's my tray of finished crawfish. I even sucked a few heads and found it quite interesting. Now, after this first dump, I was pretty satisfied but Foodhoe's other friends came late so we waited for the next round of crawfish to be cooked. The event cost $25 for all you can eat (they were going to cook until 5 p.m.) so we were ready. But as the hour grew later, that also meant tons of people arrived so there were more hungry people. Plus, all the people who were just laying in the sun decided it was time for lunch. So now it was a major scrum for crawfish.

As crawfish were brought to the table and dumped, it was like a crawfish mosh pit as people grabbed for food. I was done eating so all I did was take pictures of the scene. It was too funny. (I guess it wouldn't be funny if I were right in the middle of that scrum, or if I haven't eaten all day.)

These guys probably didn't have any problems getting some crawfish. Who would mess with them, right?

I just like this picture: The Aftermath. Look at those arms reaching strenuously for just one crawfish!

Despite the guys trying to cook, the scene was nearing a mass riot stage. Every table that got dumped, people would scramble for food and several people left empty. So finally they changed patterns and made people line up in front of the pot and they dished out a bunch of crawfish to each person. In a weird way it reminded me of a soup line.

Here's Foodhoe at the front of the line taking pictures of the crawfish before she got her plate of crawfish.

All in all, it was a fun day for a crawfish boil. I was glad we got there early so we could eat in somewhat peace and not in the near-riot situations later in the day. And again, it was such a beautiful day to be outside, how can you complain? In fact, the weather was so nice that this group of bikers went riding around al natural. Yep, nekkid bike riders. Now that was a view I wasn't expecting.


River-Rose said...

Yet another time that I wish I was in Frisco!! Looks like a fun and mouthwatering day!

Kim said...

Great photos!

Cookie said...

I'm so bummed that I missed this event! I've only had Crawfish once while I was in New Orleans and it's really good! Small and messy, but good!

Carolyn Jung said...

What a feast! Messy, but good. When I was in Australia a few months ago, I had my first experience with yabbies, which are like bigger versions of crawfish. They, too, were cooked outside, on the banks of a river. And we dined al fresco. I think that's how small shellfish like that taste best -- outside with the sun shining on you and a makeshift table set up to crack'em all open.

Jenster said...

Crawfish boil and naked bikers -- Sounds like an excellent day!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the play by play!

Mrs. L said...

I thought about going but I always worry about the crowds and if I'd actually get anything for money. I decided I'd just go to Crawdaddy in San Jose instead :)

Anonymous said...


Nate @ House of Annie said...

Beautiful day outside in SF, but I'd probably get skeered of the crowd.

I remember catching crayfish in the stream back behind my house in Nu'uanu. They were a lot of fun to catch. We sauteed them with soy sauce and butter, if I recall correctly. So yummy, especially the heads!

Morgan Blanchard said...

All that boiled crawfish is making me very hungry. Check out my video "The Crawfish Boil" at my music web site at or at
Morgan Blanchard