Vampire Diaries Day Thursday, everyone! Today is a particularly bittersweet one, because it holds the much-anticipated and much-feared season finale of my beloved TVD. This is a show that KNOWS how to do a season finale (I still remember yelling at my TV after the first season finale), so I’m already nervous about what’s going to happen and who they’re going to kill off. Eeep!
In other, non-teenager related news, I got to have a super fun dining experience last night! I met up with the fantastic Kate last night, marking our first foray into real-life interaction. We’ve been blog buddies for a while, and live so close to each other that we finally realized we had no excuse not to get together! The two of us met up at Chasin’ Tails, a Cajun/New Orleans-style seafood restaurant in Falls Church/Arlington (On 29, where the Bear Rock Cafe used to be, if you’re familiar with the area).
We are having crawfish, woman, not HAM. Tsk.
Their motto? “No plates, no forks, no rules.” It’s quite apt, since they just bring your order in a big bag, which you then dump onto your paper-lined table and knock yourselves out. It was very reminiscent of those crab boil places in Ocean City where you sit at a table lined with brown paper, you get a bib and a hammar, and they just dump a bucket of crabs in front of you. It always makes for a fun, if rather messy, dining experience! Chasin’ Tails also gives you a big metal bucket to dump your trash in, as well as a roll of paper towels that was WELL UTILIZED.
Their menu concept is pretty simple: the main feature is the “Bayou N’ A Bag”, where you pick your seafood (crawfish, shrimp, crab legs, lobster, mussels, clams, etc) in 1 lb. amounts (no half-pounds), pick a sauce (cajun, lemon-pepper, garlic butter, or the whole shebang which combines all three), and pick your spiciness level. They also have a bunch of fried side items and appetizers, and serve gumbo and jambalaya as well (you get a spoon for those, haha).
We ordered a pound of crawfish (it was both of our first time trying it!) and mussels, the former done cajun style, and the latter done in the “Whole Shebang” sauce. We got them both medium spicy, and we are SO glad we did. The spice really built up, so I can’t even imagine how hot “Hot” is… let alone “Nawlins Hot”, which was the top level of spicy you could order. ::shudder::
Each bag came with a little cob of corn, a slice of andouille sausage, and a baby potato in them as well. They were both SUPER delicious! We had to get our waitress to show us how to eat the crawfish (is it pronounced craw-fish or cray-fish?), which looked to me like the mutant lovechild of a lobster and a shrimp.
I was initially wary of trying “mud bugs”, as they are apparently called sometimes, though I’m not really sure why? I guess I just don’t love eating anything that really looks like an animal… which I’m sure is making all of my vegetarian readers shake their heads in shame. Turns out that I really had no reason to be squeamish – they’re easy and you really get used to the spindly legs and whatnot. The process for eating them evidently goes like this: Pull the tail and head apart, suck the juice out of the head, then pull the meat out of the tail!
Kate, proud of her handiwork!
The meat from the tail tasted just like shrimp to me, though perhaps a little less delicate in texture. Really yummy, though I’m not sure I would eat it again for the meat itself. I think it was more about the experience. Otherwise, it’s a lot of work for very little meat!
Neither of us had a very good concept of how much was appropriate to order, and it turned out that the seafood alone didn’t end up being too much. After all, it’s not like you’re really eating and entire pound of seafood MEAT, the pound includes the weight of the shells/casings/whatever. So I think that ordering three lbs of the seafood dishes between two people would be a good amount (so there would be 1 1/2 pounds each, that way).
We ended up ordering a couple of side items halfway through our seafood chow-down because I could tell that it wasn’t going to be enough. Chasin’ Tails doesn’t really have any non-fried side items though, other than the corn and stuff that comes in the seafood bags, so in the future I’ll definitely make sure I order enough of the main dishes to go around.
Kate and I ended up splitting an order of the cajun fries and six chicken wings, both of which were incredibly delicious but obviously super fried and terrible for you, hahaha. Our waitress was really talking up the wings and sold me on trying them. Three wings for each of us isn’t TOO bad, right?
I would definitely come back here. It’s a pretty unique restaurant for this area, and while I’ve never been to New Orleans, or really had THAT much experience with cajun food, it all seemed pretty delicious to me! I think it would be super fun to take a bigger group of people to, so you can all get different kinds of seafoods to share. The food was flavorful (the Whole Shebang sauce was epic!), our waitress was really nice, and they definitely know what they’re doing in terms of spiciness. My recommendation would be to order conservatively on the spice level if you’re at all wary about it.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!