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Ersters with Beaver, Crawfish and an App


With most of the weekend left to wait until the Super Bowl, New Orleanians will be doing what they do best to count down to the Big Game: sitting around and eating seafood. On Saturday, a pair of events bring new flavor and digital technology to shellfish. A block party-sized crawfish boil in Mid-City highlights a new app. In the Quarter, an oyster-eating contest brings in hot beaver.

 
Starting Saturday at 11 am, Grand Isle (575 Convention Center Blvd) will be giving up the beaver for free. That is, if you can finish it.  Hoping to one day face off against Adam Richman of Man Versus Food, Grand Isle, a purveyor of fresh seafood and cold beer, has a initiated a new kind of eating contest: the Hot Beaver Oyster Eating challenge.   
 
Hot Beaver Oyster Eating Challenge
Where: Grand Isle, 575 Convention Ctr. Blvd. 
When: Feb. 2, 11 a.m.
Tickets: Free
 
Super Block Party
Where: Palmyra and S. Bernadotte
When: Feb. 2, 1 p.m.
Tickets" $25 (available here)

“Eat a dozen oysters with a half teaspoon of the extra hot crème style horseradish in under two minutes,” said Jeff Hoff, the general manager and partner in Grand Isle. 

 
 
The beaver, referring to neither the tail-slapping rodent nor its euphemism, hails from the hills of Oregon. Normally spicy isn’t the first thing that comes mind when thinking of Oregon, but it’s the extra hot horseradish shipped in from Beaverton Foods in Oregon that makes slurping down these oysters a challenge.  
 
 
“Beaverton Foods in Oregon produces a number of products.  One of them is an extra hot crème style horseradish,” said Hoff, who has been serving up the special sauce for a long time.   
 
 
It is only now that Hoff decided to harness the horseradish for an eating contest.  
 
 
“We were trying to think of an eating challenge.  I didn’t want to do something with chicken wings and chili sauce,” said Hoff, thinking it would be too predictable.  “I wanted something a little different.”   

Despite less than two minutes to finish the challenge, speed is not the issue.  
 

 
“It’s probably three times hotter than standard horseradish.  It’s almost as hot as wasabi,” said Hoff.    
 
 
Although the challenge sounds painful, the lure of winning free oysters and a free tee-shirt reading, I Ate The Hot Beaver, makes it worth the gamble.  After Saturday the challenge will become a regular part of the routine at Grand Isle.  Certainly we’ll be seeing Adam Richman taking down the hot Grand Isle beaver on the Food Network soon.  
 
 
Block Party Boil
For those of you wishing you could find a crawfish boil at the touch of a button, there’s an app for that.  Gerard Ramos and friends Tung Ly, Elliot Fleming, Alex Hertz and Jameson Quave entered the Codmkrs Super Challenge, a contest to create the best app for Super Bowl tourists to navigate the city, only to wind up in Forbes the following week. 
 

 

“It all started from an app-a-thon that I wasn’t even going to participate in,” said Ramos, also founder of unawkward.com.  “I’ll come help out and then I ended up getting sucked in.”    

 

Their app, crawfinder.com, uses your location to locate crawfish boils happening near you around the city.  Nothing gives an out-of-towner more of an authentic New Orleans experience than a crawfish boil.      

 

“[The app] got a ton of press.  NFL films caught wind and wanted to do a story around technology, so they got in touch with us,” said Ramos, whose app has been recognized in everything from NOLA.com to Forbes.

 

With a little push from NFL Films, this Saturday afternoon Ramos will be seeing his own name on the app, as the man who brought you the technology turns his electronic crawfish search into the real thing.  Already planning a few pre-game parties with his neighbors, Ramos decided to throw the crawfish boil to officially launch the app and give NFL Films some good footage. The Super Block Party is slated for Saturday afternoon, with check-in at the corner of S. Bernadotte and Palmyra St.   

 

“I asked my neighbors, you want to stick to just the neighbors or go big,” said Ramos. When the NFL is involved the answer is clear: “Go big.”   

 

With the clock ticking before Super Bowl time Ramos was tasked with organizing enough crawfish and beer for the entire neighborhood and beyond.

 

“This past week we’ve been rallying sponsors to cut the cost.  It was tough but we ended up securing a thousand pounds of crawfish,” said Ramos.

 

After some trouble procuring booze, the bars of Mid-City came to the rescue.  Several neighborhood bars like the Bulldog donated kegs, a necessity to soothe the palate after a serious session standing over the crawfish table. 

 

“Ten kegs are showing up tonight.  There will be four bands and a Mardi Gras float jazz band coming through,” said Ramos.  

 

The Bone Tone Brass Band will kickoff the boil at 1 pm, followed by some rock relief by Something Burning.  AJ Monestier’s Metro Jazz Band will roundup the afternoon with some old school jazz.  

 

“We decided to charge $ 25 and donate all the proceeds to the Steve Gleason Foundation,” said Ramos, an appropriate choice for a Super Bowl block party.  

 

“Hopefully we can get a good turnout.  I’m sure it all will.  I think it will be fun and the weather is supposed to be good,” said Ramos.  

 




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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

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