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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, May 16

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« In Season: Strawberries Being Bold at Farmers Markets »

Event Sun Jun 30 2013

Get Your Hands Dirty at Fish Bar Tonight

crawfish.jpgCall it bad timing that Fish Bar (2956 N. Sheffield Ave.) would hold a crawfish boil at the same time that I was heading back to crawfish town. Maybe it was just a reminder that I was overdue for the classic Louisiana style "grill-out" -- 35-80 pounds of crawfish (or two sacks for a large group) boiled with crawfish boil seasoning, usually Zatarains, over a BTU burner in a 50 gallon boiling pot and served with the usual side of "fixings" -- boiled potatoes, corn and even onions and lemons. Not to be forgotten is the necessary dipping sauce (mayo, ketchup, hot sauce and horseradish if you like). And a crawfish boil is definitely not a crawfish boil without a cold beer in a koozie.

Some apply a boil only method, some steam finish the crawfish in an ice chest. The goal is that they should end up looking bright red and curled. (If the crawfish is flat, don't eat it -- it means it was already dead before it hit the hot water. Same goes if it is mushy, that means it was starting to decay.)

A large picnic table is necessary. So are newspapers to cover it, as well as an abundance of paper towels and trays to contain the peelings. Eating crawfish is a hands-on experience. There are no utensils and usually no chairs. You should never wear white, or heels. Contact lenses wearers are cautioned to either wear gloves or soak their hands in milk later. This theory should not be tested.

The Technique
The amount of effort of preparation to food consumption is about 4:1; 2:1 if you're seasoned. So a crawfish boil become mores of social gathering than just a way to gorge. Like sushi, no one ever gets full.


To Suck or Not To Suck
There are two camps of people when it comes to this -- those who do, and those who don't. Although it does contain the majority of flavor from the boil, doing it won't make you more authentic. Don't, however, call it crayfish.

If your palate is whetted by this point and you want to experience a good old Southern crawfish boil right here in Chicago, head on down to Fish Bar tonight and maybe even tomorrow if supplies last - 1lb crawfish, andouille sausage, potato, & two ears of corn -- all for $20. Get it with a cold beer. Not a bad deal, cher.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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