Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Popeyes Crawfish Festival: The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Crawfish were never something I thought much about until I started visiting New Orleans as an adult. And then I couldn't get enough. I ate a crawfish and fried alligator sandwich one year on my birthday; on another trip for Jazz Fest I ate several orders of fried crawfish tails at the Fairgrounds, wandering around listening to Chris Smither, Wyclef Jean, The Radiators, and for one song (which was all that we could take), the Steve Miller Band. Any list of the top 10 days of my life would probably include that one.
Two years ago, Popeyes decided to hold a "Crawfish Festival," releasing a few crawfish items. After several attempts, I was able to procure the crawfish tackle box, and I loved it. Last year I went for the crawfish po' boy and found it to be one of the best fast food sandwiches I have ever eaten. (And when it comes to fast food seafood sandwiches - which admittedly is a small sample - there is no question that it is head and shoulders above any other I have ever tried.)
Since I'd had such bad luck the last two years trying to find the crawfish items, I decided to change tack this year: I drove to a Popeyes to which I have never once been in my life. Almost all Popeyes items you see on here are from the Pasadena or Alhambra stores, but they have both been incredibly hit and miss lately. So I went to the San Gabriel location.
The girl behind the counter was friendlier than any Popeyes employee I have ever met. I inquired about the festival, was told they had them, and ordered a po' boy sandwich by itself. (The combo was $6.99 pre-tax, the sandwich a la carte was $3.99. Since I don't like Popeyes battered fries and I almost never get soda from fast food joints, it was a much better deal.) I asked if they had the "traveler" as well and she said no. I paid and stood around to wait.
A couple minutes later she told me they did indeed have the traveler, so I ordered one of those, too, for $2.99. She apologized for not knowing that.
"That's okay," I said. "This is the first day, right?"
"Yes," she replied, "and they didn't tell us anything about it." With my recent Popeyes experiences, this did not surprise me.
After a couple of minutes she started discussing the sandwich with the two cooks preparing the food. I am not fluent in Spanish like I used to be, but I could pick up enough to know that one of the cooks was claiming the sandwich is supposed to have tarter sauce on it while the other one thought it was supposed to be a different sauce. I interjected:
"It's supposed to have a horseradish sauce."
The girl picked up a container of horseradish sauce from under the counter. "This, right?" she asked.
"Yes, that container is supposed to be served with the traveler and the sandwich is supposed to have horseradish sauce on it."
"Okay, thanks." (The fact that I was instructing the employees on how to prepare their promotion was not lost on me.)
Not long after, my food was ready, and she handed me the bag.
"That looks good," she said as she peeked inside.
"It will be," I assured her, and took it to my car to eat. I smiled when I laid my eyes upon this:
I don't know how hard it would be for Popeyes to sell this sandwich year-round, but I'm guessing they have their reasons. Because if they could offer it all the time, I imagine they would be much more popular than they already are. I guess I have to make sure I get my fill of crawfish this year before they disappear. The promotion is supposed to be around until November 27th, but lately it seems like Popeyes has been running out of their promotional items before the promotion expires. Hopefully not with this one...
Posted by JustinM at 10:00 AM