Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I Dream of Deanie's
Now that Hurricane Gustav has blown through Louisiana, and Hurricane Ike is rearing its ugly head towards the Texas and Louisiana coastlines, I want to take this quick opportunity to continue my impromptu takeout series, and emphasize that even in the face of a hurricane, New Orleans' natives still know how to eat well and celebrate life.
You've heard me "love on" Louisiana crawfish, time and time again. I am going to continue the love, by sharing about my takeout experiences at Deanie's Seafood Restaurant and Market.
The other day, while sitting at my desk, I had an insatiable urge for crawfish: the paradigmatic seafood critter of Louisiana. So I made a quick telephone call and ordered Deanie's famed crawfish quartet, which comes with crawfish, served four different ways. When I opened the styrofoam container, I was greeted with a giant plume of steam, a golden-fried bounty of crawfish, and two piping hot containers filled with crawfish (and more). Because I have now been armed with the experience of eating Deanie's crawfish, allow me to give you a brief tutorial on the correct way to eat their crawfish quartet.
You should first start your meal with the crispy-fried crawfish tails. The chefs at Deanie's carefully shell, batter, and deep-fry the chewy crawfish tails for your finger-licking consumption. Deanie's also provides you with two alternative dipping sauces: (1) a thick tartar sauce studded with chopped relish bits and (2) a zesty and sinus-clearing cocktail sauce.
Second, I'd advise you to proceed with the soft crawfish dressing balls, which are substantial orbs of moist and bready deliciousness, complete with bits of onions, celery, carrots, and crawfish interspersed throughout. They literally taste like fist-sized balls of Thanksgiving, but with one delicious twist: chewy nubs of crawfish, which provides for a delightful surprise in each bite.
Third, you should consider eating the crawfish etouffee next. Deanie's hearty crawfish etouffee is everything a great etouffee should be. The warming and creamy chowder-like soup is made with crawfish tails, a buttery blonde roux, and the holy trinity (onions, celery, and bell pepper), and is served "smothered" or gently ladled over mound of long-grain white rice.
Finally, I would enjoy the crawfish au gratin last. Deanie's crawfish au gratin is thicker-than-grits and supremely cheesy, such that each spoonful leaves trails of stringy cheese as you attempt to lift a spoon loaded with the au gratin towards your mouth. The au gratin tastes as if it were made with dry aged cheddar cheese, heavy cream, whole eggs, and flour--but that is just an educated guess. Even if it is not made with those ingredients, it tastes mind-blowingly delicious.
I hope this post has proven to you that takeout can be an excellent option, especially at Deanie's! Also, you could probably eat the dishes in the crawfish quartet in any sequence (and not based on my weak recommendation above), and it would still taste wonderful.