If you're going to make it yourself, you've got to have the right ingredients. Smoked ham just ain't the same as tasso, those crawfish tails at Gelson's smell ancient and taste worse, and just where the hell do you think you're going to find pickle meat? Well ...
First, you can get a free list of all the seafood processors in the state of Louisiana who ship fresh seafood by calling The Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board in New Orleans at (504) 568-5693. Also, The Louisiana Department of Agriculture in Baton Rouge now has a Crawfish Promotion Board, headed by Beth Silverman, who can be reached at (504) 922.1280; they have a list of crawfish-related businesses that they'll send upon request. Now, here are a few places I've collected:
- Battistella's Seafoods, 1919 Touro Street, New Orleans, LA 70116. (504) 949-2724
- Fresh and frozen seafood, all kinds.
- Bon Creole Seafood, Rt. 3, Box 5180, New Iberia, LA 70560. (318) 229-8397.
- Fresh and frozen crawfish and crawfish fat.
- Crawfish Specialties, P. O. Box 246, Eunice, LA 70535. (318) 546-0659. Bradley Fuselier.
- Specializing in all types of crawfish: live purged, tail meat, soft shell. Call to make sure they're still shipping.
- Crawfish Stop, Lafayette, LA. (888) 280-5460.
- "We are home-grown right here in Cajun Country -- Lafayette, LA. We ship over 200,000 lbs. of restaurant-grade crawfish throughout the United States each year."
- Fisherman's Cove, 3201 Williams Blvd., Kenner, LA 70065. (800) 443-3474. Visa, MC, AmEx.
- Mail order supplier for crawfish tails, plus tasso, liquid crab boil, Gulf seafood, and other Louisiana specialties. Shipped with dry ice or gel pack.
- Frugé Aquafarms, Crowley, LA. (318) 237-0301
- Fresh crawfish and frozen crawfish tail meat.
- Lil' Fisherman, 3301 Magazine St., uptown New Orleans (504) 897-9907.
- This neighborhood seafood joint will also pack and ship seafood, for local pickup or mail-order; crawfish in season, oysters, fresh shrimp, a variety of fresh fish, plus prepared étoufée, jambalaya, gumbo, etc.
- Louisiana Crawfish Co. (888) LACRAWCo. [(888) 522-7292], Natchitoches, LA, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are crawfish farmers and specialize in the shipment of live crawfish and fresh or frozen tail meat throughout the U.S.
- Louisiana Seafood Exchange (504) 834-9393
- Boiled and fresh seafood.
- Pearl Brand Shrimp, Indian Ridge Shrimp Company, Houma, LA. (800) 594-0920.
- Pearl Brand Shrimp serves the restaurant and wholesale food industry with quality shrimp for over 75 years. Now, we accept retail orders for both our cooked and fresh frozen shrimp for customers throughout the United States and Canada.
- Randol's Seafood, Lafayette, LA. (800) YO-CAJUN
- South Louisiana seafood.
- Tony's Seafood Market, 5215 Plank Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70805. (504) 357-9669.
- Fresh seasonal seafood, packed and shipped nationwide. Plus bulk spices and seasonings.
Meats and Sausages
- Bourgeois Meat Market, 543 West Main Street, Thibodaux, LA 70301. (985) 447-7128.
- Owned and run by the same family since 1891, makers of boudin, andouille, cracklins, hog's head cheese, smoked sausage and jerky. Nationwide shipping.
- Comeaux's, 2807 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette, LA. (800) 323-2492.
- Andouille, tasso, boudin, hogshead cheese, etc.
- Chef John Folse and Company, (800) 256-2433.
- Owned and operated by Chef John Folse, of Lafitte's Landing Restaurant in Donaldsonville, LA. Andouille, tasso, smoked sausage, spicy turkey, etc.
- Jacob's World-Famous Andouille, 505 West Airline Hwy., LaPlace, LA 70068. Tel. (985) 652-9080. Toll Free (877) 215-7589.
- From LaPlace, LA, the "Andouille Capital of the World". Also serving hog's head cheese, boudin, tasso, smoked sausage, fresh sausage, smoked chickens and more. "Your satisfaction is always guaranteed."
- Kliebert's Alligator and Turtle Farm, Springfield, LA. (504) 345-3617
- Near Hammond, they sell and ship good, clean alligator and turtle meat.
- K-Paul's Cajun Sausages, (800) 654-6017
- Andouille, tasso. Chef Paul Prudhomme.
- Poche's Market, 3015-A Main Hwy., Breaux Bridge, LA 70517. Tel. (337) 332-2108, Fax (337) 332-5051.
- Gumbo Pages reader and Baton Rouge expat Randy Wright reports: "They ship great made on site goodies -- cracklin, boudin, andouille, tasso, and the best fresh chaurice on the planet. The smoked is good, but get the fresh and grill it with some nice vegatables and a little black beans. You'll drive southern calafornia inta da swamps wit dis one, man. It also will put an incredible creamy mouth on a gumbo if added about 20min from serving. It really is great, and their prices are reasonable as well. The chaurice is 6.19/lb delivered to you; they have a 10 lb. minimum, but you can mix products and they are all great."
Other Louisiana Food Products: Spices, Rice, Hot Sauces, Coffee, King Cakes, etc.
- The Cajun Grocer
- These folks say they're the first, true, secure e-commerce site featuring authentic Louisiana products: food, music, cookbooks, recipes from Marcelle Bienvenu (their executive food editor), plus fresh prepared foods, such as boudin, stuffed chickens, marinated pork chops, gumbo, etc.
- Cajun Injector, Clinton, La. (225) 683-3759.
- For everyone looking to stick a needle into your about-to-be-deep-fried turkey to inject it with something tasty. Also recipes, marinades and gifts to spice up your meals.
- Tony Chachere's Creole Foods, (800) 551-9066.
- Da man from Opelousas, on the Web with his famous seasonings, ready-made roux, cookbooks, recipes, tall tales and more. A Louisiana legend.
- Central Grocery, French Quarter, New Orleans. (504) 523-1620.
- The creators of the world-famous muffuletta. A full Italian grocery store, with large jars of olive salad packed to go, and more.
- Community Coffee, (800) 525-5583
- New Orleans-style dark roast coffee and chicory. The quintessential Louisiana coffee, now available by mail-order.
- Cajun Coffee Company, P.O. Box 12657, Moss Bluff, LA 70612-2657, (318) 855-9105
- A coffee roasting and grinding mail order business near Lake Charles, specializing in hearty robust Cajun and Creole coffee blends. Contact: Bill Davison
- French Market Coffee
- New Orleans' other quintessential blend, and the only one generally available outside Louisiana, in "select markets". Now anyone anywhere can order it anytime they want.
- Gambino's Bakery, New Orleans. (800) 426-9854 or (800) GAMBINO.
- Your King Cake headquarters. They offer king cakes in several sizes and flavors, and ship to most locations nationwide.
- Haydel's Bakery, (800) 442-1342
- King cakes for Carnival season.
- Louisiana Fish Fry Products, Inc., Baton Rouge, LA. (504) 357-9669 local, (800)-356-2905 out of state.
- Gumbo filé, cayenne pepper, fish fry coatings, jambalaya and gumbo mixes, hush puppy mix, gravy mix, crab/shrimp/crawfish boil seasoning, sauces.
- Louisiana Crawfishman. PO Box 9 Loreauville, LA 70552. No phone.
- Gumbo, étouffée and jambalaya mixes, Creole seasoning, seasoned gravy mix, cookbooks, children's books.
- The New Orleans School of Cooking and Louisiana General Store, in the Jax Brewery, French Quarter, (800) 237-4841
- Their catalogue has about 30 pages of just about everything -- spices, seasonings, hot sauces, even kitchen equipment.
- Randazzo's Bakery
- King cakes, Mardi Gras supplies,and more.
- Stansel Rice Company, Gueydan, Louisiana
- Home of Ellis Stansel's Popcorn Rice, grown in Louisiana and one of my favorite kinds of rice.
- Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup, from Abbeville, Louisiana.
- The products of C. S. Steen's Syrup Mill have since 1910 been a staple in many Louisiana recipes. On their site you'll find mail order info, history, and recipes.
- Zapp's Potato Chips, Gramercy, LA 70052-1533. (800) HOT-CHIP.
- Louisiana potato chips, and the best! "Cajun Craw-tators" (sort of a spicy seafood-boil flavor), jalapeno, mesquite BBQ, dill, sour cream and Creole onion, honey-mustard (yum!) regular and salt-free. Plus red bean dip, t-shirts, etc.
- The premier manufacturer of New Orleans seasonings and spices, plus mixes for things like gumbo, jambalaya, etc.
In Southern California (for Louisiana expatriates in L.A.-L.A. land)
You can also try the Grand Central Market in downtown L.A. for seafood, including live blue crabs.
- The New Orleans Fish Market, 2212 W. Vernon, corner of Arlington, Los Angeles, CA. (323) 298-9738.
- Fresh seafood from Louisiana, including crawfish (in season) and blue crabs; hot sausage, smoked sausage, tasso, pickle meat, plus prepared bisques and etouffees to go. Also po-boy bread, Camellia red beans, cane syrup ... just about everything you need!
- Pete's Hot Links, 3701 W. Jefferson near Crenshaw. (323) 735-7470.
- Fantastic Louisiana-style fresh hot sausage, practically the best in town, next to the late Mr. Jase's homemade hot sausage at Sid's Cafe.
- European Deluxe Sausage Kitchen, 9109 W. Olympic, Beverly Hills.
- The gentlemen who run this wonderful little establishment are, I believe, Swiss, and in addition to the many European meats and sausages they offer, they also make a wonderful Louisiana andouille. Highly recommended. (310) 276-1331.
Pop dat Abita, cap!What an embarrassment of riches. Just within a few weeks I now find not one, not two, not three but four places to get my favorite home state microbrew, Abita Beer, right here in El Lay.
- 1. Trader Joe's.
- Yep, my favorite little grocery chain has started to carry three types of Abita -- Amber Ale, Turbo Dog and Purple Haze. It's a little over six bucks a six-pack, which is a very good price; it really is an import, sorta. Just remember the one annoying thing about Trader Joe's -- never fall in love with anything there that's not a store brand, because they often have limited supplies, or else they just stop carrying a product. Even if Abita suddenly disappears from Trader Joe's due to their inconsistency, there's always ...
- 2. Galco's Soda Pop Stop, York Blvd. at Avenue 57, Highland Park.
- Besides hundreds of kinds of soda from all over the world and a fair amount of beer as well, Galco's carries all three now too. It's more expensive there, about $8.50 a six-pack, but they might end up having it more consistenly than Trader Joe's.
Galco's also carries the other varieties of Dixie Beer -- Crimson Voodoo and Blackened Voodoo. Those are both okay, but I'm much more of an Abita fan. Dixie created those beers to compete with Abita, since their traditional lager, produced for eons in New Orleans, is pretty bad. I don't know if they still make it with river water, but sometimes a Dixie used to taste like whatever they had spilled into the river that week. It's a good thing to drink on a hot day after ya mow da lawn, but it has very little body or flavor.
- 3. Beverage Warehouse, 4935 McConnell Ave #21. Culver City.
- I still haven't been to this place (it has inconvenient hours, closing on weekdays at 6pm), but I hear it's good, and that they do carry Abita.
- 4. Father's Office, a bar at 1018 Montana in Santa Monica.
- A small, crowded and mindsplittingly noisy bar in Santa Monica, saved by the fact that they have the best bar food I've seen in the city (Spanish tapas, and an astonishing burger on French bread with Maytag blue and Gruyère cheeses, bacon compote, caramelized red onion and arugula), and the fact that they serve about 30 microbrews, including both Amber and Turbo Dog ... on tap! *boggle*
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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)