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.
“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!