Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My first Hot N Juicy experience

It's all the rave! Every time a friend visits Vegas, DC, or Florida, my FB feed blows up with pics of my friends wearing silly bibs with buckets of crustacean shell in the foreground. I've never been and I was totally stoked to hear that there was a franchise location within 20 minutes of our resort in Arizona.  Yay, I can finally try and blog about this place!

The future brother in law of the bride to be actually told his fiance, Sophea about it.  He and the groom are HUGE fans of the unique seafood chain and learned about all the locations.  (The bride even bought him t-shirts!)

We visited the Tempe location, the same city that houses Arizona State University, can you say PARTY SCHOOL? Just kidding, it actually got kicked off the list once the administration got stricter.

The downtown area is pretty cool.  There are lots of restaurants and bars lined up on the main street, easy for bar hopping.  We went around 1 on a Friday afternoon in the middle of summer so it was pretty dead. (low season and school was out of session)

Although there was a nice outdoor seating area, we opted for the AC dining room. After all, it was only 100 degrees that day.

After a short wait, our party of 8 was seated in the center of the dining room.

image via Ailley Berry 
Bibs were passed around the table and the rolls of napkins teared to create "dams"  to prevent the juicy liquids from trickling onto our clothes. The credit for that genius idea goes to Ailley Berry.  Disposable gloves were also provided, if you didn't want to get your hands messy.

Lime, salt and pepper was provided if you wanted to make a dipping sauce or use it to clean the fishy stench off your hands post meal.

 Although the menu was basic, it was quite overwhelming to decide what seafood options to order.  Pretty much, the seafood choices are crabs, king crab, snow crab legs, lobster, clams, shrimp and crawfish.  Once you settle on your seafood choice, you pick a seasoning then pick a spice level.  Seasonings include Louisiana, Juicy Cajun, garlic butter, lemon pepper and the famous "Hot N Juicy" Special.  The server warned us that their spice level is above average and to choose a level beneath what you think you could handle ( I should have listened)!

We snacked on some fried corn fritters as we eagerly waited for our seafood feast.

We took "before" pictures while we were still "clean."

If shellfish isn't your thing, there were also a few options for fish, chicken, calamari, etouffee, etc. One of the girls was allergic so she went with the fried catfish basket with seasoned fries.

To our disappointment, they ran out of fresh crawfish so we went with 2 orders of 2 pound frozen crawfish.  Although they were cheaper, some of the girls noticed the difference.  Each order came arrived at the table double bagged smothered in the special seasoning blend.  For every 2 lbs of crawfish, one corn and one potato was thrown in the mixture.

Our table pretty much ordered everything.  There were steamed clams, lots of shrimp, crab legs along with a few sides of rice and fries.

Yup, I should have listed to the server. My clams were super hot! Those were my favorite.  It was a good burning sensation but I knew I would pay later.

The head-on shrimp came 2nd. I'd tear off the head, suck it then remove the shell from the body.  Some were bigger than others but they were all good.  I did the same with the crawfish but they proved to be a bit more difficult and time consuming to eat.

 I kept dipping the mild shrimp and crawfish into my sauce to make it even more spicy.  I was so excited, I couldn't stop tearing the shells of the shrimp and plopping it into my mouth with my dirty gloved hands.  At one point, it was so filthy that I had to change my gloves.  By this time, sweat was dripping down my face and I kept having to wipe it.  My cheeks were on fire form the combination of SPICY Hot N Juicy sauce and sweat. Despite all this, I kept on going. We had to finish.

I thought we were done and I went to go wash my hands.  The seafood stench still lingered on my hands even though I used lime and washed it with soap two times. It was that bad. My nails must have poked through the flimsy gloves, or maybe the shrimp of the head.  After I cleaned up as much as I could, I returned back to the table to find out that we still had more shrimp left.  I just couldn't do it.

image via Ailley Berry 

With gratuity and tax, we averaged about $30.00 per person. Not bad at all for all that food!

The meal was a fantastic dining experience.  From the plastic bibs and gloves to the buckets of trash lined on our table. it was definitely a must try meal.  I would recommend this "no frills" place to everyone. I am already trying to plan a trip to DC with the family so they can try it as well.

image via Ailley Berry 
My only change would be to NOT ORDER the "SPICY" level.... it leaves for a VERY UNPLEASANT NIGHT.

image via Ailley Berry