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Apr 19, 201605:09 PM
Bon Vivant

Design, entertaining and good living with New Orleans Bride and Homes & Lifestyles editor Melanie Warner Spencer

Mudbugs and Brews

Crawfish do’s and don’ts and a few New Orleans bars and breweries now boiling

photos by melanie warner spencer

The 2016 crawfish season was so early it started at the end of 2015. Local restaurants were boiling as early as December. That said, Mark and I didn’t really get into this season’s crawfish game until around February, when we ordered a mess of mudbugs during an impromptu visit to Superior Seafood for happy hour one afternoon. We’ve been making up for lost time though and have worked our way through a host of boils, including Fridays at the Prytania Bar, Saturdays at Bayou Beer Garden and the occasional Sundays at the Courtyard Brewery, as well as a one off at the new Urban South Brewery for its grand opening.

During last year’s crawfish season, I wrote about my struggle to overcome squeamishness over sucking the head. The post included a few crawfish boil do’s and don’ts for those who, like me, didn’t grow up devouring the tiny crustaceans. It seems like a good time to revisit the list, so for those of you new to the experience, here’s a quick guide to get you through your first season:


  • Use your hands, dig in and get dirty.
  • Twist off the tail, and either pinch the end and suck out the meat, or separate the underside of shell and pull the meat out. Dip it in some melted butter if that’s something you are into.
  • “Suck the head,” if you are ready. You’ll want to squeeze it as you suck and really all you are doing is getting a shot of the spicy, flavorful juices.
  • Enjoy a cold beer. A Louisiana brand, such as Abita is a sure bet. Many people like the Abita Strawberry Lager with their crawfish.


  • Spatter your neighbors with juice.
  • Cherry pick for only the biggest “bugs” (guilty).
  • Waste the crawfish (for example, tossing it if you don’t get a good crack).
  • Act prissy, after all you are supposed to use your hands and get dirty. 


Several local restaurants and bars have weekly boils. Clesi’s Catering in Mid-City, which also does the boils at several local bars; the Blue Crab in Lakeview; and the Rivershack Tavern on River Road are all good places. Call ahead to your favorite hangout and ask though, because you never know who’s boilin’ on a gorgeous spring day in New Orleans.



Do you have any crawfish do’s or don’ts to share? Post them in the comments or email me at Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.



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Bon Vivant

Design, entertaining and good living with New Orleans Bride and Homes & Lifestyles editor Melanie Warner Spencer


Melanie Warner Spencer is a native Kentuckian, but says she got to New Orleans as fast as she could. For more than 16 years, Melanie has covered lifestyle, design and entertainment at various publications, serving as the design columnist at The Austin American-Statesman, a senior staff reporter at the Houston Chronicle and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Houston Brides magazine. Her work also has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post and Reuters in the United States and across the globe. In her spare time, Melanie is an award-winning fine art photographer and has been honored by the Texas Press Association for her editorial photography. She also has been honored by the Press Club of New Orleans for its Excellence in Journalism Awards and is currently serving as a media member of the board of directors. Cooking and eating fabulous food and taking road trips with her spouse of 16 years, fellow writer and filmmaker Mark Patrick Spencer however, is at the top of her list of favorite pastimes. Click here to like Spencer's Facebook page and follow her on Twitter @MelanieSpencer. 


You can reach her at melanie@myneworleans.com.




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