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Center City Jazz Club Serves Up Mounds Of Crawdads For Mardi Gras

(Photos by Paul Kurtz)

(Photos by Paul Kurtz)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A center city Philadelphia jazz club and restaurant is celebrating Fat Tuesday today with a bounty of crawfish.

crawdads kurtz Center City Jazz Club Serves Up Mounds Of Crawdads For Mardi GrasEverywhere you looked in the cramped kitchen at Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, you could find crawfish — live ones soaking in the sink, and dead ones boiling away in a big pot on the stove.

Three hundred pounds of the crustaceans — which resemble miniature lobsters — came in from Cajun country this morning and Chris’ chef/owner Mark DeNinno says there’s a lot more to come.

“Last year we sold over 2,000 pounds, so a literal ton of crawfish,” he recalls.  “And this year we’re hoping to sell about 3,000 pounds.”

So how do you eat the things?

“You hold onto the crawdad and twist the tail off of the body,” DeNinno advises.  “The second step is to suck the head. All of the juices from the boil  get trapped in the head, as well as the fat.  Then you pinch the tail, and that pushes the meat forward and you get to extract all the meat that way.”

There’s a year-round Bourbon Street atmosphere at the restaurant, but when Mardi Gras rolls around, DeNinno says he likes to kick it up a notch.

“Fat Tuesday is one of the most fun days here at the club,” he says.

It’s a day that includes a New Orleans band marching down Sansom Street and into the club.

Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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