The long-awaited Oak Street Po-Boy Festival takes place in less than two weeks on Sunday, Nov. 23 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Roughly 20,000 people will make their way to Oak Street to sample po-boys from various restaurants, all hoping to claim one of the seven “best” titles, including “best shrimp,” “best specialty meat” and “best oyster.” This year the menu is as fabulous as ever, with more than 30 food and drink vendors offering every delicious ingredient imaginable sandwiched between slices of French bread. The poboys at the festival are typically available in half and whole sizes, so you can sample or indulge to your liking. Here’s my walking guide to the 10 most unique po-boys I’m looking forward to trying — and repeat-eating — this year.
A Walking Guide to 10 Must-Try Po-Boys at Oak Street Po-Boy Festival
Stop 1: Beginning on the corner of Dublin and Oak Streets, my first stop will be Boucherie’s Corned Pork Belly Reuben Po-boy with sesame sauerkraut, duck liver mousse and roasted red pepper dressing. And at just $6, this is an affordable way to wake up my taste buds.
Beer break: As I walk towards Dante Street, there will be a beer truck on my right. I’ll grab a cold one to accompany me on the way to my next po-boy victim.
Stop 2: At the corner of Dante and Oak St, with my cold beer in hand, it’s time to sample the Crescent City Pie & Sausage Hot Sausage Po-boy with Smoked Brisket Chili & Cheese. House-made hot sausage is smothered in luscious, fatty brisket chili and melted cheese. The joke is that Tums are included with every purchase. $8 whole/$4 half
Stop 3: Right in front of the restaurant itself, you’ll find the famous Jacques-Imo’s Slow-Roasted Duck –. This po-boy never ceases to amaze me with how delicious it is. A definite repeat-eat this year and all the years as long as they continue to offer it. $8 whole
Stop 4: By now I’ve had pork, brisket and duck — time for some seafood. And Seither’s Seafood’s Seafood au Gratin Po-Boy is just the cure. Lump crabmeat, shrimp, onions, celery, garlic, bell peppers, spices and herbs are stuffed into a French bread loaf that’s spread with garlic butter. The po-boy is then topped with trio of cheese, wrapped in foil, and grilled on the smoker before serving hot to customers. $9 whole
Stop 5: Following the scent of short ribs, I’ll end up at the corner of Joliet and Oak for a bite of Mahony’s Short Rib Po-Boy. Tender short ribs braised in Abita beer and served on a crusty loaf with garlic mayo, arugula, tomato, and fried onion rings. I’ll probably wish I could marry this sandwich. Price TBD.
Beer break: Smack-dab between Mahony’s and my next stop is another beer truck. Time to re-hydrate.
Stop 6: Across the street from the beer truck is where I’ll get a head start on Thanksgiving with The Harbor’s Turkey Rib Po-boy. Covered in cranberry sauce and topped with Creole coleslaw, this $8 sandwich capitalizes on the best part of Thanksgiving: all those turkey and cranberry sandwiches made from leftovers.
Stop 7: Staying on the same side of Oak Street, just half a block down lies a true culinary masterpiece. Blue Oak BBQ’s 15-Hour Smoked Brisket Po-Boy with wasabi slaw, onions, pickle and house-made barbecue sauce piled high on a Dong Phuong French loaf for just $6.
Stop 8: Across the street on the corner of Leonidas and Oak it’s seafood time again and The Sammich‘s Fish Meuniere Po-Boy is just what the doctor ordered. Fried speckled trout is topped with an arugula and celery leaf salad tossed in preserved lemon oil with meuniere mayonnaise, fried artichoke leaves, powdered capers, mustard seed and coriander. $9 whole.
Stop 9: I’m almost to Monroe Street when it’s time to stop again for Palace Café’s Creole Banh Mi. How can one deny the combination of braised Chappepeela Farms pork belly, satsuma-sriracha aioli, pickled farm vegetables, cilantro and cucumber? Tons of local flavor at a bargain price of $6 whole or $3 half size.
Stop 10: By now I’m stuffed but there’s just one more thing I’ve got to try. In a parking lot on the corner of Monroe and Oak Street marks my last stop for Voleo’s Smothered Rabbit Po-Boy. Perhaps I ought to share this one … but probably not. $8 whole
If I’ve played my cards right, I’ll be finishing up near Eagle Street just in time to hear the end of Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes and the beginning on Los Po-boy-citos at 2:30 p.m. But I think the best way to burn off all those hard earned po-boy calories is to head to the Leonidas and Willow Street stage for an hour of shaking my “funky donkey” with Big Sam’s Funky Nation at 2 p.m.