This past Saturday was Park Tavern’s Oyster and Crawfish Festival. On the same day as the Beer and Bacon Festival, this one filtered out those who love seafood and Abita Beer over everything. And one of those people, is me.
A little backstory, I was born in New Orleans so I grew up with this type of cooking. My boyfriend and I decided our date day would be the festival, so we rolled in at 2pm. How the festival worked was you bought drink/food tickets at the entrance, and those tickets would be your currency throughout the night. For example, 1 ticket got you a beer, 3 tickets got you raw oysters or a giant plate of crawfish. Pretty reasonable.
At the beginning, it was a little empty, but given that it just started, we were glad we didn’t have a line to the bar or a line to get our first plate of crawfish, which was first on our list.
A crawfish boil is a summer staple on the Gulf Coast, or at least where I was from. And there’s three things that come with it: crawfish (duh), corn and potatoes. What I really wished was there were more corn and potatoes, but the crawfish was the star of this show so I can’t complain too much.
The way the tavern was set up was there were three different sitting areas, one large one outside, and two VIP sitting areas, one inside and the other outside. It was nice to get changes of scenery throughout the festival, but it was also still a little cramped. There were lots of people after the first hour of the festival.
Back to the food, the next thing we tried with our tickets was the fried shrimp, and darn was that good. It wasn’t your usual batter that you’d get with fried food, this had more depth and flavor, and I was all about it. After that we took a stab at the other two fried baskets, the oyster and chicken, and those were just as wonderful as the first.
The live music was all bands from New Orleans, ranging from Wasted Potential to Cowboy Mouth. A little bit about Cowboy Mouth: they don’t tour. They mainly perform in New Orleans, and they have a huge following. My friend saw them at Jazzfest, and they’ll play for 5,000 people easy. This smaller show was not only a treat, but it almost felt like a fraternity band party for 30+ year olds. Definitely a lot of fun.
So to put it into shorter terms, this festival was great. My only critiques were more space and more vendors. It seemed like there wasn’t much more to do but to eat and drink, and I don’t mind doing that but I can’t do that for 9 hours straight. Drinking delicious Voodoo cocktails for that long is no easy feat. But yesterday was definitely a perfect, yet cold, day for some crawfish.