New Orleans is famous for its Po’ Boys – sub-like sandwiches on French bread, traditionally filled to the brim with fried seafood or roast beef. Over MLK weekend, a friend and I took a trip to Louisiana, mainly with a mission to gain a few pounds. I had six Po’ Boy places highlighted on the NOLA list, but I had no idea what other kinds of amazing sandwiches we would encounter while in the Big Easy. Here were our favorites – the sandwiches that made us close our eyes while taking bites and made us say “Damn, that’s good” with our mouths still full:
Shrimp Po’ Boy at Deanie’s
Deanie’s is just one of a thousand places you can find a delicious traditional Po’ Boy, but it’s where we had dinner the first night and we were delighted. I only had a few bites but it was very pleasing. It came “dressed” with pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce, and probably had about 30 shrimp on it. I would have liked it just the same with only a third of the shrimp, but some people do a better job than I do of not overappetizing on roasted potatoes and chargrilled oysters.
Muffuletta at Central Grocery
The Muffuletta is an Italian sandwich not found in Italy, created by Italian immigrants in New Orleans, specifically at Central Grocery in 1906. We split a half sandwich without the traditional olive salad because we both think olives are way icky. (I know, according to How I Met Your Mother, it will never work out.) It’s a simple enough sandwich in theory (salami, ham, mozzarella, provolone), but we decided the bread is what makes it – it’s similar to foccaccia, buttery and crunchy with sesame seeds all over. My friend ate his quickly while I opted for savoring each bite slowly, which I was teased for by him making sounds as if I were a lion devouring an antelope.
Pork Belly at Cochon Butcher
We had a long list of restaurants to try and I was tickled when my friend’s buddies recommended that we meet at Cochon Butcher because it was on the list. It’s an offshoot of Cochon, which was also on our list. As we had just eaten our Muffuletta sandwich, we split the Pork Belly with mint and cucumber and once again were transported to heaven. Their marinated brussels sprouts (which I would have never tried prior to 2009) were incredible as well.
Eggs Benedict Po’ Boy at Stanley
Frousin Emily introduced me to Eggs Benedict back in 2010 (as I wrote about in my 2nd ever blogpost) and I’ve enjoyed it dozens of times since. Sunday brunch was the right time for me to try a New Orleans’ twist on Eggs Benny and have it in a Po’ Boy. It was perfect, and one of the only times in NOLA where I finished everything on my plate without MK’s assistance. Sure, it got quite messy once the poached egg was broken and the hollandaise sauce and yolk ran through my fingers, but it was worth it, as most messy foods tend to be. I did give up a little when my napkins ran out and decided to eat the last few bites with a fork.
The Ralph at Mother’s
We almost didn’t go to Mother’s because even at 3:30 the previous day, typically a slow time for restaurants, the line was 30 deep. But what they do there is let groups of 15 or so in to order at the counter and then sit and eat, so the line actually moves pretty quickly. We decided to get the Ferdi special, “a Po’ Boy packed with baked ham, roast beef, debris and gravy, served dressed.” At this point we knew what “dressed” meant, but we also learned from the menu that debris is “the roast beef that falls into the gravy while baking in the oven.” YUM. The gentleman in front of us in line ordered the Ralph and I quickly looked it up on the menu to see that it was a Ferdi with cheese, so we went with that instead. This sandwich was divine. I actually took several “last bites” because each time I thought I was finished, I just wanted more.
I’ve been trying to think how I can possibly recreate these sandwiches when I order from the deli without being a total pain in the behind. I’m not sure that it’s possible. Perhaps the solution is to return to New Orleans and enjoy these in the flesh again. Anyone want to join me?