Cray-vings with Cray Kitchen & Bar & VANEATS.ca

Cray Kitchen & Bar is one of VERY few places in Vancouver doing Louisiana style Seafood. Never had Louisiana style before? You’re missing out on a truly unique dining experience. The latest dining pass from VANEATS.ca, called “Cray-vings”, is a five item feast featuring a 1/2 pound of shrimp, a 1/2 pound of crawfish (both flown in live from Louisiana), 3 cod bites, 2 deep fried oysters and some tasty Cajun fries all for $18.50, a very good deal!

This was a WFLBC team event as I was joined by my lovely co-blogger Rochele! The shrimp/crawfish are available in different spice levels, I chose spicy and Rochele went with medium. I also got a side of Cray’s house made XXX hot sauce, It’s definitely got some heat, only the brave need apply! We stared off with the Cod Bites, golf ball sized pieces of deep fried cod. They were pretty tasty and the batter was nicely seasoned. Next up was the deep fried oysters, one of my favourite things! Rochele Isn’t a huge fan of oysters but I thought they were done just right, not overcooked and were quite large! We both snacked on the Cajun fries throughout the meal and they were tasty and well seasoned.

Now to the main event, the steaming bag full of shellfish!! When you get to Cray they cover your table with paper and bring you a bucket with a roll of paper towel, plastic gloves and a stylish plastic bib. Trust me, you need all of them. The shrimp and crawfish are whole, shell on, heads and legs on so you have to do a little work to get the meat out. The shrimp are fairly easy to disassemble and when you take the head off make sure you suck the juice out, it’s delicious! The crawfish are a little more work and you really don’t get a lot of meat out of the tail but what you do get is very tasty and quite similar to lobster meat. The crawfish heads are worth a suck too, tasty tasty head juice.

I was lucky enough to squeeze one of the shrimp heads too hard when I was pulling it off and ended up with a face/sleeve full of shrimp head juice! It’s all good though, that’s what the bibs are for.

 

Get your Cray-vings dining pass from VANEATS.ca HERE before they’re all gone!

Scott.

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Pumphouse Pub Longtable dinner with Anderson Valley Brewing Co.

Longtable dinners have to be my favorite thing about my partnership with Beerthirst. Multiple courses of food paired with craft beer from one of our great partners, this time it was Anderson Valley Brewing Co. from Boonville, California. This dinner was at The Pumphouse Pub in Richmond and was a 5 course affair with Anderson Valley’s owner/president Trey White in attendance all the way from Boonville.

Course 1 was deep fried oysters in a remoulade paired with Anderson Valley Boont ESB (Extra Special Bitter). The oysters were quite large and cooked very nicely, not greasy or rubbery and the remoulade was well seasoned, The ESB was a nice pairing with it’s bitterness offsetting the salt and breading of the oysters. Chef Daniela Iaci did a great job on the food and the pairings, as she always does.

Course 2 was an iceberg wedge salad with crumbled blue cheese, bacon and toasted hazelnuts. The iceberg wedge might have been a little too big given the amount of other things on the plate being a little less than needed but if you took a little of everything in a single bite it was awesome. The salad was paired with Anderson Valley Horse Tongue Wheat which was a great pairing with the blue cheese of the salad given the beers strong Brett character.

Course 3 was honey and IPA marinated salmon with spiced vegetable cous cous paired with Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA. The salmon was cooked perfectly as was the cous cous and the flavors of this dish were well balanced. The Hop Ottin’ IPA probably wouldn’t have been my first choice to pair with this dish but what do I know, it worked! The Hop Ottin’ IPA is a very well done west coast style IPA with great balance, I’m going to pick up a few of these for the beer fridge very soon.

Course 4 was spicy tangerine beef and fried rice paird with Anderson Valley Imperial IPA. Spice + IPA = happy Scott. There are 2 beer pairings that can’t miss, spicy food with IPA and sweet desserts with stout. The beef had a nice citrus kick from the tangerine and a slight heat. The Imperial IPA is also a west coast style IPA but this one is a hop monster. So good.

The fifth and final course was beignets with espresso pudding and stout syrup paired with Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout. The beignets, which are deep fried dough sprinkled with confectioners sugar typical of New Orleans. were warm on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside. The pudding and stout syrup were very sweet on their own but dipping the beignets into them was great. The Oatmeal Stout was rich, chocolaty and dark, just the way I like my stouts. Unlike a lot of really great stouts this one checks in at a somewhat low 5.7abv which is good news for those who want to have more than one and carry on a normal conversation.

Check out Beerthirst.com to get in on the next longtable dinner, it’s a great time!

Scott.