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Food

National Sandwich Month: New Orleans Style

The sandwich is an underrated and often unappreciated form of food. It provides everything you need in a meal, but in a convenient, portable package. Countless television shows, books, cartoons, comics, and even movies, have been dedicated to this fantastic category of food. Did you know that the glorious sandwich is honored with its own month? Well it is, and today kicks off National Sandwich Month. Like everything else food related, New Orleans has brought its own twist to the world of the sandwich, so here’s how you can celebrate the heck out of National Sandwich Month in fine New Orleans style.

new orleans poboys
Poboys in New Orleans are so much more than just sandwiches. (photo by Cheryl Gerber)

Po Boys

Also known as Po’ boys, Poor Boys, Poboys, or Po-boys, this sandwich is a staple for many in the Crescent City. Sloppy roast beef, crispy fried seafood and french fries are all typical centerpieces of a great po boy framed with perfectly baked French Bread. Finish the masterpiece “dressed” — aka with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo — and you’ve got yourself a traditional po boy. But like most things, the evolution of the po boy hasn’t stopped yet. A host of places around town are offering up the po boy re-imagined with modern ingredients and contemporary techniques.

My pick for a traditional po boy is Parkway Bakery and Tavern. They do an excellent roast beef, a great shrimp and, if you’re feeling brave, the surf and turf which combines both. With plenty of outdoor seating and tons of tasty sides, it is hard to beat a Parkway po boy on a beautiful day. If you’re looking to see the future of the po boy, I’d head to Killer Poboys. This is the perfect stop for a Guinness, and garlic roast beef, coriander lime seared gulf shrimp, dark and stormy pork belly, and lamb sausage po boys are just a few of the new school hits served up from this kitchen in the back of the Erin Rose Bar.

muffuletta new orleans
One of the best places to get a muffuletta in New Orleans is Central Grocery. (photo by Wally Gobetz, from Flickr

Muffulettas

This is basically the New Orleans answer to the Italian hoagie — olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham and provolone on a circular sesame seed topped muffuletta loaf. Reportedly created at Central Grocery back in 1906, you’ll now find this sandwich in just about every type of sandwich shop in New Orleans. While Central Grocery is certainly one of the city/s (deservedly) most popular and well-known muffulettas, I’m a firm believer that the sandwich should be lightly toasted to help bring out the juices of the meats, melt the cheese just enough and crisp the loaf just bit. This is why I’ll often head to the Napoleon House, where they toast their muffulettas, to get my muffuletta fix. Plus, the world famous Napoleon House Pimm’s Cup always makes a great addition to any muffuletta.

Hamburgers

Snug Harbor New Orleans
Snug Harbor in New Orleans (photo by Wally Gobetz, from Flickr)

Didn’t think you’d be seeing hamburgers as a New Orleans sandwich, did you? Although the hamburger wasn’t born in New Orleans, we’ve taken it to our heart and made it our own. The American staple has found itself at home among two of New Orleans’ greatest past times: listening to live jazz and making award winning food. For more than thirty years, New Orleanians have been bellying up to the bar at Snug Harbor for some live jazz and one of the city’s favorite burgers. While the combination of jazz and a hamburger may seem a bit unorthodox, it is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” ideas. Doesn’t it sound pretty great to be able to have your burger with a side of Charmaine Neville, Ellis Marsalis, Allen Toussaint or Jon Batiste? I thought so.

A little too jazzed? Perhaps you’re just looking to experience New Orleans’ other strong suit: blowing taste buds away. Then I suggest heading on over to The Company Burger for what has been ranked by a number of national publications as one of America’s best hamburgers. Order up the Company Burger, which consists of twin patties, two slices of American cheese, red onions, house made pickles on fresh baked bread, and you’re minutes away from finding out exactly why it is one of the nation’s best burgers. Saddle it with a side of thick cut onion rings or the double fried french fries and celebrate National Sandwich Month in mouth-watering style.

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