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The Po-Boy

February 24, 2010

I overheard a discussion that you can’t get good po-boy bread anywhere else in the world because of New Orleans water. Everyone has a theory about the bread, the best place to eat, what to order and what type of root beer to order alongside. Whatever your opinion, I must say that po-boy does not exist in any right in any other city as it does in this one.

A quick little search on Wikipedia procured this: “Louisiana French bread is different from the traditional American baguette, in that it has a flaky crust with a soft, airy center. This is generally attributed to the high ambient humidity causing the yeast to be more active. It also differs from the bread usually used for sub-style sandwiches in the rest of the country, which has a soft exterior. The crust of Louisiana French bread is very crispy–so much so that it is difficult to eat without leaving crumbs. But the interior is very light and airy, often less dense than regular white bread.” Amen to that.


Roast Beef at Magazine Po' Boy Shop

I embarrassingly ate two roast beef po-boy in one day, one for lunch and one for dinner. Magazine Street Po Boy and Sandwich Shop was the lunch visit (located at First and Magazine). The day was lovely, I sat outside, taking a break from moving from an apartment 2 doors down from the restaurant. I was exhausted and starved. I can’t deny the relief the fully dressed roast beef po-boy with extra pickles brought. Did the circumstances make it better? Perhaps.

The dinner visit was at Parasol’s. I shared a shrimp po-boy and a roast beef po-boy with my dinner companion. Parasol’s kitchen is around the corner from the bar, up a couple stairs. The food was good, but eating in a smoky bar isn’t my favorite. I’d rather eat outside in the sunshine. Biased? Yes. On a side note, when I went back to get some extra pickles, the man who assembled the po-boys went from smoking to hand-in-the-pickle-jar in one motion. You gotta love New Orleans.

I’ve also eaten po-boy at Mother’s on Poydras. Mother’s was ok. Just ok. They use cabbage instead of lettuce to dress the meat filled sandwich. I ordered the Famous Ferdi Special, with Mother’s best baked ham, roast beef, debris* and gravy. I was expecting more after the build-up. I have a thing against places that claim to be the “best” anything. If you say it’s the best, it better be the best.


Waiting at Domilise's

Domilise’s was incredible. It was my first and only meal on MOM’s Ball day. My friend Phoebe who lived here during her time at Tulane was in town for Mardi Gras and had a specific list of activities: po-boys at Domilise’s and wigs at Fifi Mahony’s on Royal in the French Quarter. We arrived at Dom’s just in time to beat the crowd of 20 or so people who were waiting in line outside the door. We pulled the number 22, my favorite number. Domilise’s is in a house, and the family who owns this place is clearly family. The make sandwiches right in front of you, so you end up changing your mind 10 times as the sandwiches get rolled into paper and taped shut. I had a half-and-half, catfish and shrimp with hot sauce. The fried oyster looked great too, but I had just eaten a half dozen fresh oysters at Cooter Brown’s AND fried oysters with brie at Clancy’s the day before. More on those places later. All of the above? Awesome.

Fried Oysters with Brie

Warm Goey at Clancy

Worth mentioning: I ate my huge po-boy in the car as we made our way around the parade routes and into the Quarter. If you’ve never eaten a po-boy in the car, I recommend the challenge. Crumbs everywhere, and not enough napkins, no matter how big your stack. Also, the menu on the wall at Dom’s has one really small label on the big list of po-boy, clearly in place of something that came before. It reads, “Rest in Peace, Pepper Wiener”. Brilliant.

I’ve heard Mahony’s on Magazine is the new must-have po-boy in town. I’ve yet to go. Parade routes closed down the clear path to get there during Mardi Gras. Finding the best po-boy will be a life long endeavor. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

*Debris is the good stuff that falls off the beef as it’s being slow cooked. It’s as good as it sounds.

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