Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Po' Boys and Presents

For those of you who don't know, Po' Boys are basically the most epic sandwich of all time. This French Bread masterpiece originates in New Orleans, of course, so luckily I have easy access to these heavenly creations. Aside from the flaky, chewy French Bread, Po' Boys traditionally come "dressed" with mayo, ketchup, tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles. The most well-known variations are Fried shrimp or oysters, roast beef, or cochon de lait (french for suckling pig, and obviously my fav).

However, you can put almost anything on a loaf of dressed French Bread and make it tasty. Which is exactly what happens during Po' Boy Fest, which is Mackenzie's absolute FAVORITE festival of the year (due to her intense love of all things related to sandwiches). This year a photographer for could clearly see the love and excitement in her eyes at the Festival and asked photograph her for the popular website. She kindly obliged with this incredible shot of the biggest bite she's probably ever taken. Two weeks later she ended up all over the website with this lovely shot. Not the most proper picture, but very telling of how good these sandwiches really are. Plus, she happens to be eating one of the winners of the contest, a soft shell crab Po' Boy with spicy mayonnaise from Ninja Sushi.

Aside from the incredible Po' Boy variations mentioned above, one of the best Po' Boys around is Banh Mi, a traditional Vietnamese sandwich created after the French introduced French Bread to colonized Vietnam.

Banh Mi is a combination of interesting deli meats and comes along with sweet meatballs and head cheese. The head cheese is a little strange, but the pickled carrots, cilantro, and cucumbers help cancel out its interesting flavor and questionable consistency.

New Orleans East, a neighborhood at least thirty minutes away from where I live, is famous for having the best Banh Mi around. Literally, true Banh Mi enthusiasts rank it far above any Vietnamese Po' Boy shop in L.A. or New York. This is probably because New Orleans has the largest Vietnamese population in America, weird right???

Anyway, as I was saying... New Orleans East is home to both Dong Phuong and Banh Mi Sao Mi, two places that I've been dying to go to for years. So naturally when I was already in the area having yet another interview for a dance instructor position I couldn't resist searching for these sandwich shops. After twenty minutes of driving through the booneys, seeing only swamp land, strip clubs, Winn Dixie, and dilapidated half demolished housing projects I finally found it! Only problem is it turns out they're only open for lunch, not surprising considering how shady the neighborhood was.

Of course this was incredibly disappointing, but I had no choice but to turn around and drive the 45 minute trek back home. Staying true to my recent car luck my "Service Engine Soon" light went on right after I passed the questionable strip club/ brothel. Not a pretty sight. I luckily got home safely and treated myself to a crisp Turbodog (my new favorite Abita beer) and some Salted Rosemary Shortbread. It's no Banh Mi, but at least it has the whole sweet-savory dynamic that I love so much.

Since I was unable to satisfy my Po' Boy needs last night, today I decided to indulge in a ridiculously good fried shrimp Po' Boy at Guy's Po' Boys. It was insanely lick-your-fingers, eat-every-crumb, hard-to-share kind of good. Just what I needed to make up for the failure of the previous evening.

Of course, you can't have any great meal without dessert, which is where the presents come in. As if I wasn't already going to explode with the amount of mouth watering fried shrimp I consumed, I still managed to eat a few of these exquisite chocolate covered strawberries sent to me by a loyal fan of this very blog. A wonderful grande finale to a ravishing meal.

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