2016 - 2017 USA: Cajun Seafood Shack & Ice Cream - Los Angeles Part 1
Hello my dear readers :) I've been back from the United States for almost 2 weeks now and I'm missing the trip heaps!!!!
I'll firstly give you a little background of my end of year trip to the United States so you have an idea of my itinerary and what future blog posts to expect.
December 23rd 2016:
Hong Kong -> New York (JFK)
December 24th 2016:
New York (JFK) -> Los Angeles (LAX)
December 28th 2016:
Los Angeles -> San Francisco
~Road Trip on 101 via Santa Barbara and San Jose
December 30th 2016:
San Francisco (SFO) -> Newark (EWK)
~Uber back to New York
January 4th 2017:
New York (JFK) -> Hong Kong
I spent approximately 12 days in the United States and it was definitely not enough! The flight from Beijing to and from New York was a real pain, I flew with Air China so their entertainment was not the best and their food was also not the best :(
I did the majority of my research from reading websites, blogs and using Yelp, Yelp's like your Openrice, Zomato, Urbanspoon equivalent. Tonnes of research was done on best ice creams in America because I really enjoy eating cold things in the freezing weather and since America's quite cold at the end of the year I wanted to make the most of it. I also wanted to have cajun seafood while in America so after a lot of research we decided to go to The Boiling Crab.
If you're planning to travel during public holidays, like us, be sure to check with the restaurants their holiday opening hours beforehand. We were lucky that these two eateries I'm about to share with you were open because we were in L.A on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
In today's post I'm going to share my experience at The Boiling Crab followed by an ice cream visit to Salt & Straw. The Boiling Crab is also my pick of the month because I love it and I'm craving it so I definitely have to write a post about this awesome restaurant.
The Boiling Crab is a seafood shack that serves seafood cooked in yummy sauces which are served to you in plastics bags. They have several stores around the West Coast, we went to the one in Koreatown in L.A.
The Boiling Crab
3377 Wilshire Blvd #115 Los Angeles, CA 90010 (213) 389-2722
One thing to note before you go, the restaurant doesn't accept bookings so YOU MUST GET THERE EARLY or expect to wait 2 - 3 hours (I'm not kidding)! For some reason we thought the place opens at 5.30PM so we got there at around 5.15PM and were told that we had to wait 2-3 hours. We contemplated getting takeaway but decided against it as we saw how messy the meal can get and how it would be a pain to clean up after eating at our hotel.
The waiter told us that when they opened their doors at 3PM there was already a 2 hour wait which meant people were queuing up before the restaurant even opened for the day! I was determined to have this meal so we left our details with the restaurant and decided to visit Salt & Straw to get some ice cream before going back to The Boiling Crab. A good thing about The Boiling Crab is if they call your name for a table and you're not there then when you go back and ask if you're names been called they'll put you back on the list for the next table available (which was the case for us). It turned out our table was ready in 1.5 hrs which was quicker than expected!
The atmosphere in the restaurant was very lively and you can see everyone was really getting into their meal! The table is set with a piece of butcher's paper, pieces of lemon and some serviettes, they don't provide plates or cutlery unless you're eating rice or soup. You eat straight from the bags the seafood is served in and you put your rubbish like prawns shells straight onto the butcher's paper (I guess this is also easier for the waiters to clean up after the meal). You're also given bibs to wear for the meal (trust me you need them) because things get messy and don't wear your nice clothes there :)
The menu is simple and clear, most prices for the seafood are market price and they have these prices written on the whiteboard in the kitchen. The waiters will also update you if there's any seafood that they don't have for the day and what can be ordered as half a pound and what must be ordered as a pound. We ordered frozen Crawfish (because the fresh Crawfish was sold out), Prawns (shrimp) and Snow Crab Legs with The Whole Sha-Bang sauce in mild. The Whole Sha-Bang is all the sauces mixed together (perfect if you're indecisive like me). We also added Corn on a Cob and some Cajun Fries! We both also ordered ice tea to go with the meal! I also noticed a lot of tables ordering rice so they can pour the extra sauces from the seafood into the rice and have it together (I regret not doing that).
We were given salt and pepper in plastic containers, seafood cracker (is that what it's called?) and a blue pick utensil that helps you pick out the meat from the crab legs.
We were told that you squeeze lemon juice into the salt and pepper. The waiter said what she does is she'll dip her seafood into the salt and pepper with lemon juice and then dip it into a separate container with just salt and pepper, we listened to the waiter's recommendation and absolutely loved it.
Now things are about to get messy! The seafood was served in plastic bags piping hot so at first it was a bit hard to hold the seafood.
The Boiling Crab doesn't offer gloves so it gets really messy and you'll constantly have sauce all over your fingers and nails. Firstly the Snow Crab legs had a lot of meat inside and the meat was sweet and tasted quite fresh. The sauce was soaked into the top part of the legs which made it really juicy and full of flavours to eat. The blue pick also made it a lot easier to dig the meat out of the crab legs. The Whole Sha-Bang sauce was really nice, it had a little tangy flavour and I could taste the cajun with a tinge of sour from the lemon pepper sauce and also the sauce wasn't too spicy either! I personally think The Whole Sha-Bang sauce is a pretty tasty combo especially when you can't decide what sauce to choose and you're only just visiting the restaurant once on your trip. I also liked dipping the seafood into the lemon juice and salt and pepper to add a little more sourness to my seafood.
Almost every table I saw ordered Prawns and we were also told by the waiter that the Crawfish is also very popular. I personally think out of all the seafood we ordered the Prawns soak up the sauce the best. From the Prawns' outer shell to the Prawns' meat I could taste the sauce throughout. The Prawns were also very big and juicy. The Corn was a favourite of mine because the sauce was soaked right through to the core of the corn which made it so yummy and full of flavours to eat (I wish I ordered more corn).
The Crawfish at first was a little hard to eat because I wasn't sure how to take the shell off but it was only a matter of time before I got the hang of it. Next time I go back I'll definitely try the fresh Crawfish if it's available.
Lastly, the Cajun Fries were very crispy and hot which seemed like it just came out of the fryer. The cajun seasoning was a little bit salty but it was better after dipping the fries into the tomato sauce. The waiter encouraged us to create some designs on our butcher paper with the tomato sauce so I produced the above "L.A 2016".
The above photo was the aftermath: fingers and nails full of sauce and seasoning and the table full of serviettes and seafood shells. I'll definitely go back (of course!), I'm craving it everyday!
Now time for some dessert :) While we were waiting for our seats at The Boiling Crab we went to Salt & Straw to get ice cream. Salt & Straw has stores in Portland, San Francisco and L.A. We went to the store at the below address:
Salt & Straw
240 N. Larchmont Blvd. Los Angeles, CA
Salt & Straw has really adventurous and fancy flavours such as Black Olive Brittle and Goat Cheese, Honey Lavender and Almond Brittle and Salted Ganache. You can check out their flavours and monthly flavours on their website http://saltandstraw.com/
I literally had no idea which flavour to choose as they all sounded quite new to me but the lovely waiter that served us said we can try as many as flavours as we like before ordering (yay!).
In the end we chose the Avocado and Strawberry Sorbet and Almond Brittle and Salted Ganache. I'm more of a fruit person when it comes to ice cream so I preferred the Avocado and Strawberry Sorbet over the Almond Brittle and Salted Ganache. I'm also not really use to having salty flavours in my ice cream so I found the Almond Brittle and Salted Ganache a little weird but having said that both ice cream flavours were not too sweet which was good. I think Salt & Straw is a really delicious option for ice cream especially if you're wanting to try something new!
Salt & Straw doesn't have a lot seats so we enjoyed our ice cream in our car before heading back to The Boiling Crab for our cajun seafood feast!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post just as much as I enjoyed L.A, You should definitely try out these places if you haven't already.
I have more L.A posts coming up and other posts about the other cities I visited in America that I can't wait to share with you all!!!
That's all for now :)