SideDoor Does Mardi Gras With Gunwhale and Crawfish

The boil! Image credit SideDoor

“Put one hand on the head, the other on the tail, then twist gently and pull,” are the instructions from a YouTube video I watched to prepare for SideDoor’s crawfish boil coming up Friday. Not to say that I suffer from kabourophobia, AKA the fear of crawfish, but I always seem to dissect the tiny red creatures like a hyperactive kid playing with a Mr. Potato Head. Oh, look! You can play the head like a kazoo … wait, you suck the juice out of the head? That’s so metal!

Bites from a SideDoor Epic Cheese Night. Photo by Greg Nagel

As someone who subscribes to SideDoor and Five Crowns events emails, I’ve had some extremely unique culinary experiences at the hands of their talented executive chef, Alejandra Padilla and team. Everything from Porktoberfest, where each dish is skillfully intertwined with pork paired with the best beers in the world, to their Epic Cheese Parties, where knowledge of intense and bloomy dairy treats are discovered at the hands of in-house cheesemonger/sommelier/cicerone Tracy Nelsen. After every event, I come away with a deeper understanding of food and drink pairing after having a hell of a time mingling with like-minded foodies.

Orangewood Hazy IPA from Gunwhale Ales, photo by Greg Nagel

A good crawfish boil is all about the party, where the beady-eyed crawfish are joined by a team of red potatoes, corn on the cob, onion, and spicy andouille sausage. It’s traditionally boiled, dumped on a huge table, then coated with a spicy swamp dust as it steams. Besides napkins and a bib, the real saving grace is fresh local craft beer from Gunwhale Ales, which will serve up a flight of its California coastal-inspired beers.

When it comes to pairing beer with a crawfish boil, the intensity can be a bit much for a big double IPA that can actually amplify heat and spice. A New England-style hazy IPA that is a bit softer and sweeter is absolutely a good call, as the old saying goes, “sweet beats heat!” Gunwhale also has a solid oyster stout called Shellmaker that I could see giving a nice complement to the briny boil, or even their lighter golden ale.

If you see someone putting crawfish claws into a potato like Mr. Potato Head, say hello.

Price is $75 and includes a tray-passed appetizer, crawfish boil, beer, and dessert. Tickets and info are here.

SideDoor – Five Crowns is at 3801 East Coast Highway, Corona del Mar

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