Montrel’s Bistro in New Orleans

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I couldn’t leave New Orleans without have a plate of crawfish. I was a bit leery of trying a touristy looking place in the French Quarter, but my misgivings were mis-founded.

Aunt Frieda was in charge of the boiling cauldron of crawfish, and as I sat facing her, it was like watching a ballet. The crawfish went into a fragrant spicy bath loaded with onions, whole uncut heads of celery and other mysterious ingredients, and then they came out shiny red and delicious.

Montrel’s just took over the space a few months ago and he is trying his hardest to make a go of it. He lures people in by giving them free samples of the crawfish and showing them how to break them apart and suck head and tail. This dude loves his work. Even when people weren’t crowding around to taste the crawfish, he was still eating them. He samples a few with every demo he does; all afternoon long. Impressive.
He called his aunt to come and help, and she’s happy to help, but working over the hot pot is tiring, and your whole body smells of spices at the end of the day. She’s happy to help; she’ll do what she can to pitch in. Frieda lost her husband a short while ago, and she left after Katrina, but now she’s back so she can help the family. The young kid handing out psycho colored ices, he’s family too. Not as enthusiastic as Montrel, but he’s doing his bit.

Everybody has a story in New Orleans, and the art of story telling is alive and well in this town.
P.S. The bread pudding was outstanding as well!

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