Posts Tagged ‘crawfish’

Spring is here!


2013
05.19

It’s always funny to me when people ask me what I did this weekend.  Maybe every weekend I will just post what I go out and do and then the question can finally be put to bed.

Step 1: Friday Afternoon Dim Sum at Minghin

No pictures here, we all know that the best dish on the entire menu in this Chinatown gem is the crispy Macau pork belly.  Taking out a college chum to grab some, it dawned on me that some parts of the country have no dim sum.  It is for this reason that I always take inventory and count my blessings for living in Chicago!

Step 2: Stop for a drink at Whistler

A Bentonhurst, if you would please

A Bentonhurst, if you would please

Fancy cocktails are never out of style at this Logan Square hotspot.  There were no servers on a Friday night but the dim lit room made it feel like an old school speakeasy.  We had a reggae show to go to so we had to skip out before the DJ hit the decks.

Step 3: Have a pitcher of Old Style at Two Way Lounge

The fancy cocktails were good, but my old college chum needed to meet the National Bohemian of the Midwest: Old Style.  I considered drinking only a pint for $2, but a pitcher was much more enticing.  We downed that pitcher and headed back towards Township.

Step 4: Catch Drop Steady at Township

Drop Steady

Drop Steady

Local music in Chicago is as rich as it comes, with Drop Steady on stage and Township crawling with friends all over the place it was the place to be on Friday night.  Perched near my usual spot in front of the stage I shot pictures and danced with the rest of the crowd.  Serious craft beer and some shots of whiskey rounded off the night.

Step 5: Saturday night: Start a photo project

Settin' up the shots

Settin' up the shots

If you’re going to sit around recovering from the previous night’s damage, make sure to find a buddy who will get you back up and rolling.  Practicing our night shooting, @MunicipalAgent quickly convinced me that I am in desperate need of a tripod.  If you pursue any hobby, I highly recommend finding experts way better than you are to help perfect your craft.  Our south side adventure netted us some pics and I am sure Luke’s will blow mine away.

Step 6: Sunday Morning – Go to the Globe Pub and Root for Arsenal!

Down to the last game of the Premiership season, I was not a good fan this season and stayed on the sidelines watching many a game from home.  I ended up going to the most crowded football bar in Chicago and ended up at the Globe for the game without a beer in hand for the entirety of the match.  Arsenal fans were in full force, loudly cheering and singing on Arsenal holding down 4th place for the season ensuring Champions League qualification for the 16th straight year while rival Tottenham’s season went down in flames into Europa League.

Step 7: BBQ and Crawfish Boil at Toon’s

BBQ BBQ BBQ

BBQ BBQ BBQ

Most people in Chicago are lucky if they have a friend with a grill who’s willing to cook some food up on the weekend.  I’d say you’re really, really fortunate if you’ve got some friends who are experts at using a smoker and invite you on over.  Feasting on some smoked chicken, smoked brisket, hot links and some delicious BBQ sauce, I them remembered there was some crawfish to smash open!

Chicago Crawfish Boil

Chicago Crawfish Boil

If you are ever looking for a crawfish boil in Chicago, Toon’s is the place to be: accept no imitiations!  Dollar for dollar and flavor for flavor you will end up on the winning side and satisfied with crawfish from the best!  Danny has been cooking up crawfish at Toon’s for the last 14 years.  Memorial Day is your next chance for a crawfish boil!

Step 8: Concrete custard at Scooter’s

Mocha. Snicker. Madness.

Mocha. Snicker. Madness.

Dessert?  Dessert!  Scooter’s Frozen Custard in Roscoe Village stands as a marvel in desserts.  With the oppressive sun melting my soul away, I was encouraged by seeing a small crowd of children, parents, dogs, and thirsty people standing outside and enjoying an ice cold custard from Scooter’s.  Perusing the menu a combination of Vanilla custard, mocha, and Snickers sounded like the perfect way to cool off after a BBQ.  We sat inside and were able to grab some water while our custards quickly were assembled ready to nosh!  Life seemed so much better in the air conditioning watching the other folks outside melt away.

The just about wraps up my weekend.  I truly, dearly wanted to go to Lakeview Mayfest, however I will save my money for the real German Maifest up in Lincoln Square!!!

#75 – Crawfish Boil at Toon’s


2012
04.22
Toon's Crawfish Banner

Toon's Crawfish Banner

We’re talking crawfish boil here.  Just two months ago I had my first crawfish ever in Las Vegas and have been craving crawfish ever since.  In Vegas, they fly in their crawfish daily from the south.  When I visited California in March, lo and behold they had several crawfish restaurants serving boiled crawfish and boiled shrimp all day every day.  The search for Chicago crawfish boil revealed that only a few places have crawfish boils and you certainly can’t find any places serving up crawfish daily!

After hearing that Toon’s had regular crawfish boils, I made sure to find them on Facebook and find out when the next crawfish boil was.  Discovering the next crawfish boil would feature 700 pounds of crawfish, it was a no brainer to pop an event invite and round up some good company to go eat crawfish!

How to Have a Successful Crawfish Boil at Toons

1. Get there early – Arriving early to a crawfish boil make sure you get a nice seat at the best TVs and that you will be in striking distance of the crawfish right when they come out of giant vats boiling in the back.  Getting to the boil early also means that you will have a prime opportunity to drink more and secure seating for you and your closest friends.  Don’t be surprised if a stranger decides to sit by you – seating gets tight (and that’s not a bad thing)!

2. It’s all about the plastic tray – While there are paper baskets to carry your crawfish, arriving early also means first crack at the giants trays used for crawfish. You might be able to double down with two paper baskets to drag back your crawfish, but I think it’s more fun to load up a giant tray with steaming hot crawfish.

3. Bring $25 cash. For the price of $25 cash you will get a bracelet along with a drink ticket for your included serving of selected beer.  The bracelet entitles you to ALL YOU CAN EAT crawfish from when they start serving until they flat run out of crawfish.  You will definitely get your money’s worth if you obey rules 1, 2, & 3.

Toon's Crawfish Tray

Toon's Crawfish Tray

The crawfish came out at 1:30PM and the line was not too daunting as Toon’s kept serving up tray after tray of crawfish and every serving was more than generous.  To be honest, one tray would have made my money’s worth and I really enjoyed the corn and mushroom that came along with the delicious crawfish. My old roommate was annihilating his crawfish and @GourmetRambler made fun of me for eating slow also.

@GettinHanked and @atick7 arrived next but sat elsewhere in the bar to enjoy their crawfish. @leyla_a missed out on the mud bugs since she compares crawfish to cockroaches and ordered pulled turkey instead. @TheAW1 and his friend Norman arrived much later and @girlinacity got there by crawfish o’clock.  Whilst waiting for a batch of crawfish, I got a chance to check out the back operations to see where the crawfish were all coming from.

Danny Beck - Mastermind of Toon's Crawfish Boil

Danny Beck - Mastermind of Toon's Crawfish Boil

With 700 pounds of crawfish and a bush of blue crab cooking up it was great to be able to take a look at the hard work going in the back while everyone was inside drinking and waiting for the next batch.  There were three or four giant vats to cook up crawfish, jambalaya, and crab, and kids were playing with live crawfish in a shallow plastic pool.  Two people were eating on top of a dumpster, and Danny let me know there were 150 pounds of crawfish left and that all of the crawfish were flown in fresh from the bayou.

Are you ready for a bushel of blue crab?

Are you ready for a bushel of blue crab?

B.S. Brass Brand: some serious brass Dixieland

B.S. Brass Brand: some serious brass Dixieland

Danny also let me know that the band was about to play in an hour. When B.S. Brass Band took stage, I think this is where Toon’s elevated this from a feeding frenzy to an all out party.  The music was some straight up Dixieland jazz blasting out some ripe music. Given that I had been sitting by the juke all day, the new music was loud and I was loving every minute of it.  You can always tell it’s a great party when you run into people you just don’t expect, I ran into a kid from my high school who I hadn’t seen in ages and ran into @cpbelser outside.  @cpbelser let me know that Toon’s crawfish boil is the closest you’ll find to a real southern crawfish boil out in the city and I was happy that my first crawfish boil was in the right spot.

If you’ve got a hankering for crawfish boil, find out when the next crawfish boil is at Toon’s and head on over!