As all of the students trickle out of town, heading back to their parents' homes for the summer in some distant city, I often ponder about what they might miss. Naturally, they will probably pine over the lost camaraderie of being among their college buddies, crazy New Orleans parties, festivals and cheap, strong cocktails, but what will they want to eat before they leave for the long, three-month interval where they must do without?
A hundred to one, I'll bet they want a po-boy.
Think about it...first, po-boys are a fairly inexpensive dish that could easily sustain most students for two meals. Secondly, the po-boy is uniquely New Orleans, it's a sandwich sensation that the rest of the world simply hasn't caught on to, doesn't know about, or stubbornly insists that the only place you can get a good poboy (or even make one) is in the Crescent City. After all, it is true that you can only get Leidenheimer French bread in the Gulf South and we have spent many, many years perfecting the different fry batters for our fresh, delicious seafood and creating the proper gravy-to-beef ratio resulting in a dish that is difficult to duplicate, not to mention the atmosphere.
I can see them now, rushing off to Crabby Jack's on Jefferson Highway salivating for one of their many delicious po-boys, hoping they get there in time before all the really good stuff runs out. It's a terrible chore to choose between options like Slow-Roasted Duck, Cochon de Lait and a "Fleur de Bree" featuring Crabby Jack's own baked ham and roast beef smothered in gravy, but the BBQ Brisket wins out over all. There are no regrets after the first bite of moist, rich, fatty brisket smothered in a sweetly spicy sauce hits the tongue combined with cool lettuce and creamy mayonnaise. It would also be a shame to miss out on some Jalapeno Mac & Cheese or crispy, house-made onion rings for 12 excruciating weeks.
Perhaps they want to go completely old-school instead and head over to the welcoming, neighborhood restaurant on Bienville Avenue in Mid-City, Liuzza's. Since 1947, this local eatery has been serving up delectable, Cajun-Italian favorites, as well as several tasty po-boys and sandwiches. Although they are known for the "Frenchuletta," a Muffuletta on French bread with a special, housemade olive salad, if I knew I was leaving for so long, I'd want to go all out with Fried Green Tomato & Shrimp Po-Boy. Well-seasoned and sauteed Louisiana shrimp are thickly layered with slices of Fried Green Tomato and smothered with a tangy remoulade.
When was the last time you had a poboy?