Celebrate New Orleans' 300th birthday with a traditional crawfish boil

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It's crawfish season and Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen in Berkeley is flying in hundreds of pounds of the tiny crustaceans for a traditional crawfish boil. (KGO)

It's Wednesday morning and Corey Mike has an important stop to make before heading to work in Berkeley. Mike is at the FedEx office at Oakland International Airport waiting for a cargo shipment of crawfish. 150 pounds of it.

The tiny crustaceans are headed to Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen. For the past 12 years, the restaurant has been preparing a traditional crawfish boil for its customers during crawfish season, which starts in late February.

"It's a huge tradition to get a boil going in a big pot with lots of crawfish and invite the entire family over to eat," said Mike, who is one of the managers at the Berkeley restaurant.

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Crawfish are in the same family as lobsters. They are called mud bugs because they live and eat at the bottom of rivers, swamps and lakes.

It is quite a process to prepare the boil. That's because it takes several hours to clean the mud off the crawfish. The crawfish are covered with salt and rinsed several times to purge them of impurities. Once that is done, the actual cooking time takes only a few minutes.

While many customers either lived or visited New Orleans, waiters hands out printed instructions for first-timers to teach them how to peel and eat the crawfish, which can take more than 30 seconds per crustacean.

The restaurant sells crawfish by the pound, served with corn, red potatoes and a spicy red sauce.

Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen will have two more crawfish boils before the season ends, on May 23 and June 6.

Reservations are highly recommended to guarantee a table.

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