crawfish in san francisco?

Isleton crawfish
Isleton Crawfish
Originally uploaded by c(h)ristine.

every year my husband and i hold a crawfish boil, complete with crawfish etouffee made from fresh peeled tails. an unlikely pair of hosts (a Jew (born in Louisiana) and a Korean) for a Louisiana style crawfish boil!

where do we get the live crawfish? we get them fedex’d from Louisiana (and now that I’m reading Michael Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma,” I’m feeling MIGHTY guilty about burning all that fossil fuel for one meal). “did you know you can get crawfish right here in the bay area?” asked one of our guests.

we blinked.
“out in isleton,” he said, chewing. “they even have a crawfish festival.”

my husband and i got a hankering for crawfish the other week–and headed out to isleton, which is a small steamboat town located in the sacramento river delta. we almost missed the town center, a collection of ramshackle wood buildings that an outsider would call “rustic” and “charming.” but maybe you could call it rundown, too. we would have zipped on by if not for the crawfish illustrations on the sides of a building. “this is it!” we brought our car to a halt.

we walked into isleton joe’s, the restaurant with the most prominent crawfish signage. the bartender was wiping down the bar, “you here for a crawfish dinner?”

we eyed the restaurant, completely barren. “yep,” wondering why it was so empty. we’re wary of empty restaurants.

“we’re closed. we don’t serve except on weekends, and then we close at–” our disappointment drowned out the rest of her words.

we went outside back into the summer delta heat. across the street was a dive bar with a “crawfish served here” sign hung up on its porch. we walked in THERE. “you in for crawfish?!” bellowed the bartender in there. there were four guys at the bar, all of them turned around and greeted us with smiles.


“well, we’re closed for dinner! no crawfish here!” he yelled good naturedly.

so there’s crawfish in isleton, california. except um, according to my husband, “we finally found isleton and a local source for crawfish but they don’t open on any day that ends in ‘Y’.”

best bet is to head there mid-day on a weekend, i think!

11 responses to “crawfish in san francisco?

  1. That is such a funny story. You guys are really good sports.

  2. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever had a proper crawfish boil before… I’ve had it in etouffee at DisneyWorld or something like that but never really experienced the real thing. Kinda regional thing I guess.
    Now have you tried mudbugs? Google it and see! teehee!!

  3. aren’t mudbugs the same things as crawfish the same things as crawdads?

    i would imagine crawfish boils don’t happen that often in Canada! the real thing RULES. 🙂

  4. Actually, you really need to see what a proper Australian mudbug looks like… Its kinda like a horseshoe crab from prehistoric times – gross and disgusting looking but tastier than lobster, for about a tenth the price… 🙂

    Yeah, we don’t get much in the way of crawfish – but perhaps if I ever get to New Orleans (still REALLY high on my list of places to see) I’ll finally get some…

  5. You know–Ari and I did end up having dinner at Isleton Joe’s this past Friday evening. We were so excited to be able to have a crawfish dinner outside of Louisiana, and not have to prepare it ourselves!!!

    But alas, it’s just not up to par…not to Louisiana standards, and not to the standard of our own crawfish boil. The boiled crawfish came out soft (the cooked shell of a crawfish should NEVER be soft, according to my sources) and questionable. And Ari ended up sick that night and the next morning.

    We are not going to give up our search though! But we’re sticking, for now, to ordering live crawfish and preparing them ourselves.

    Ah, but it would be GREAT to have a local (and good) source of this food.

  6. I am from Louisiana. I can ship you all the fresh live crawfish from Louisiana you want. I usually ship via air freight. It is a lot lower cost than Fed Ex. Louisiana crawfish are only in season during Nov – June. In the off season I can get California crawfish.

    Thanks, Glenn

  7. Hi,

    Can you share what Louisiana vendor do you get your crawfish?

    I want to organize crawfish boin in GGPark 🙂

  8. Hi Anelya,
    we order live crawfish from Louisiana Crawfish ( They’re great.

    I posted some info about ordering them here on Muffin Top:

  9. Thank you, Christine!

  10. “Louisiana crawfish are only in season during Nov – June. In the off season I can get California crawfish.”

    im from southern california, and have been searching high and low for a california vendor that can ship me live crawfish for a descent price in the “0ff season” you know…the summer months. can anybody help me out?

  11. i’m in the same situation as kelly is…can anyone help?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s