Crayfish, those tiny, semi-adorable and wonderfully sweet-tasting freshwater crustaceans, go by plenty of different names -- yabbies in Australia, ecrevisses in France, and crawdads, crawfish, creekcrabs and mud bugs in the U.S.
Whatever the name, they'll be garnering plenty of attention during the next few weeks here in the Twin Cities, including these celebrate-the-crayfish events:
July 21: The energetic chefs from Travail Kitchen and Amusements, currently kitchen-less while their new restaurant is under construction, have been hosting pop-up events all over town. This weekend's edition is a crayfish party on the category-killing patio at Butcher & the Boar in downtown Minneapolis, from 3 to 11 p.m.
Aug. 3: The Bachelor Farmer is throwing Kraftskiva, its second-annual crayfish festival/street fair, from 5 to 10 p.m. Chef Paul Berglund and his kitchen crew will be preparing chilled crayfish, the restaurant's awesome meatballs, sweet corn and snow cones, and the Marvel Bar will be pouring locally brewed beers and chilled aquavit. Live music, too, including appearances by Joey Ryan & the Inks and the Cloak Ox. Admission $4, sold at the door.
Aug. 10: The following week, the crayfish party moves to a second North Loop location: Crayfest, at the Smack Shack. From noon to 8 p.m., the lobster-centric restaurant will line up 20 60-gallon crayfish boils down the center of 6th Av. N. Other menu items will include boiled new potatoes, sweet corn and cole slaw, along with beer and fruity rum Hurricane cocktails. Year of the Horse, Root City Band, Hard Luck and other bands are on the entertainment roster, along with, yes, a crayfish eating contest. Tickets $40..
Aug. 16: Naturally, Ikea is getting into the crayfish act. The Swedish retailer is offering its annual all-you-can-eat crayfish buffet, served from 4 to 7:30 p.m.. Cost is $9.99 to $12.00 for adults, $2.49 to $4.99 for children; advanced tickets (recommended) are on sale now at the store, located near the Mall of America in Bloomington.
Aug. 17: One of the Twin Cities' most enchanting outdoor dining venues -- the courtyard at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis -- is playing host to another crayfish-o-rama: a traditional Swedish crayfish dinner (6:30 to 10 p.m.). Drinking songs (and a shot of aquavit) included. Cost is $50 for ASI members, $60 for nonmembers; reservations by Aug. 8 at 612-871-4907.