MARDI GRAS CRAWFISH BOIL
SideDoor Gastropub at the Five Crowns Restaurant
Disparate Souls are Drawn Together by the Spirit of Mardi Gras
By Kay Schroeder
Corona Del Mar(Perfect Meal Today)2/23/15/–As soon as guests walked into the Backyard shared by the Five Crowns Restaurant and the SideDoor Gastropub it was easy to imagine that they had been transported to the French Quarter in New Orleans. The Cajun/zydeco music soon put everyone into the Mardi Gras mood and they were ready to party.
The SideDoor Gastropub is located at 3801 East Coast Highway (at Poppy Street), Corona Del Mar, CA 92625, 949-717-4322. Valet parking ($4) is easily accessible at Poppy Street. The Mardi Gras Crawfish Boil was held Tuesday, February 17 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Although Cajun and zydeco music are not native to New Orleans (they originated in Acadiana, the area around Lafayette), they were whole-heartedly embraced many years ago and have become synonymous with the Big Easy’s musical sound and scene. The music has a magical way of making everyone want to loosen up, chow down, and let the good times roll!
The disparate souls drawn together by the lure and legend of the Spirit of Mardi were an interesting mix of ages (from early twenties to late sixties) and points of origin (from Boston, England, and Spain). The banquette style seating made it easy for guests to mix with those outside their own parties making for a cohesive and festive crowd.
Several outdoor fire pits added to the ambiance and enhanced the already perfect, summer-like evening.
All guests were seated promptly at 6:30 p.m. Food and beverage service started immediately with Abita Mardi Gras Bock Beer and mini grilled beef Po’Boy sandwiches (seconds and thirds were offered generously).
First Course consisted of red leaf salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, and zinfandel vinaigrette.
However, the Second Course was what the dinner was all about – the spicy crawfish boil. Part of the fun of this course was how it was served. Waiters asked all the guests to stand and move away from their tables. As shown in the pictures below, many ears of corn on the cob were poured from huge pots directly onto the newspaper-lined tables. Each waiter took his turn unloading pots of crawfish, clams, shrimp, Andouille sausage and red roasted potatoes until the entire center section, the entire length of the tables, were mounded with food. The anxious diners eagerly resumed their seats and got down to the business of eating and drinking.
Although Restaurant Manager, Jim Colombo had given a detailed instruction of the proper way to peel and eat the tiny crawfish, those not already familiar with the technique found it a challenge; they also seemed to find it very amusing with the mishaps and difficulty of getting even a modicum of crawfish meat into their mouths. Diner body size and appetite size did not necessarily correlate as evidenced by the enormous crawfish shells left by the petite lady Mi (shown below) versus the shells left by the robust males at our table. This beautiful young lady proved to be a power-house eater when it came to crawfish.
Dessert consisted of the traditional King’s Cake. Mardi Gras tradition dictates that a figurine of the baby Jesus be baked into the cake. The diner lucky enough to find that figurine in his/her piece of cake is deemed “The King/Queen of Mardi Gras”.
As if the evening and food had not already met and even exceeded your humble food writer’s expectations, I happened to be that lucky lady who found the figurine in my piece of cake and subsequently became Queen of the Mardi Gras. SideDoor Grastopub very generously comped my meal and graciously awarded me an excellent bottle of Amapola Creek 2011 Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley, Joseph Belli Vineyards.
It is Very Good to Be Queen!
Considering the unlimited Abita Mardi Gras Bock Beer, abundance of wonderful, spicy food, and the rousing good times, this celebration was definitely worth the $55 admission price.
Restaurant/Gastropub open hours are 5:00 p.m. to 10: p.m. Reservations may be made through the restaurant or opentable.com. The Five Crowns menu may be viewed at: www.lawrysonline.com
Look for upcoming Special Events at The Five Crowns website:
And the fun SideDoor Gastropub website:
(SideDoor Gastropub Events – Sneak Peak):
February 23 – 25 brings a three-day event with Bell’s Brewery, Inc., one of the largest craft breweries from the Midwest. Founded by Larry Bell as a home brewing supply shop in 1983, Bell’s Brewery sold its first commercial beer in September 1985. Since then the company has grown from a production of 135 barrels to over 248,000 barrels produced in 2013.
Monday, February 23 will present the Steal the Pint Night at SideDoor featuring Bell’s Amber Ale, Midwestern Pale, Oberon, Two Hearted Ale, Oarsman, Double Cream Stout, Porter, Kalamazoo Stout, Expedition Stout and Third Coast Old Ale.
Tuesday, February 24 brings a Tap Takeover from 4:30 p.m. to close with every SideDoor tap pouring Bell’s brews at $6 a pint.
Wednesday, February 25 welcomes a Beer Dinner with Bell’s Brewing, Inc. The five-course dinner and beer pairing will be hosted by Bell’s Vice President, Laura Bell, and other special surprise guests. The Beer Dinner is $69 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are requested.
Reservations for the Beer Dinner Pairing: 949-760-0331
Photography: Kay Schroeder
287 S.Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211