Is it possible to be homesick for a place that isn’t actually your home? For your soul to ache to go back to a little corner of the world you spent only a small amount of time in, but you feel an indescribable affinity for? Is it really possible to feel so connected to a place you’ve only visited once? Not long ago, I’d probably have scoffed at the idea; then, I visited New Orleans. You guys know how much I love Melbourne, but I left part of my heart in New Orleans – you may have noticed from how much I’ve written about it 🙂
When one thinks of New Orleans, one naturally also thinks of good food. Unique food. Honestly, it’s some of the best food in the world. And when people who know a little about the city first think of their food, one of the first things that pops into mind are the po-boys, like the Parkway one I wrote about last week.
The history of this special sandwich dates back to the Depression era when people were out of work, money was scarce, and a good meal was hard to come by. These sandwiches were created to feed the “poor boys” (hence, po-boys), and were originally something like potatoes and roast beef gravy on an amazing piece of French bread.
These days, they’ve evolved to something a bit more spectacular and creative, filling the perfect French loaves with everything from the more traditional roast beef, fried oysters and Andouille sausage, to the not so standard stuff like the cheeseburger po-boy…?!
We may not have had all that long in the city, but we certainly did our best to try as many po-boys as we possibly could! Here’s a what we tried and why you should be trying them when you visit the Crescent City.
NOLA Po-Boys (beef debris)
908 Bourbon St
This was the first one we tried, on a whim, because it was around the corner from our hotel and we were too hungry to go hunting for anything else.
– HUUUUUGE variety of po-boys available – if you can’t find something you like here, get your head examined. They literally do it all!
– Multiple sizes available, so you can match your sandwich to your hunger level.
– My beef debris came with a little cup of super tasty gravy for pouring and dipping.
– Great Bourbon St option
– The beef was tasty, but definitely needed the extra gravy to keep it moist.
– It’s not the best po-boy in the city, so if you have the time to get away from Bourbon St, you will be rewarded.
Johnny’s Po-Boys (surf & turf)
511 St Louis St
Number two was Johnny’s, and we’d heard about this place before the trip. We’d heard very good things.
– Ohh that gravy…. damn… The beef was fantastic, too, very soft and tender. The shrimp were very tasty too, nice coating.
Great bread, soft and fresh.
K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen (sausage)
416 Chartres St
Next up, we visited K-Paul’s for a lunch sitting (less formal and way less expensive than dinner!) – we’d heard it was a city institution, and a must visit.
– Best Andouille sausage I had in New Orleans. hands down! Incredible flavour, not too spicy, just enough kick. Amazing!
– I quite liked the herbed tomato business they used.
Domilise’s (fried shrimp and roast beef)
5240 Annunciation St
The next few po boys took us out of the French Quarter to Domilise’s, another city holy grail. Well and truly worth the venture out of the French Quarter!
– Best shrimp I had in New Orleans! It was beautiful meat without the slightest taste of fishiness you can sometimes get when it’s not quality, and the coating was perfect.
– The shrimp also magically stayed crispy and crunchy the whole time!
– The roast beef was delicious.
– Perfect bread for it, well dressed.
– It’s not in the French Quarter.
– Best customer service!
Parkway Bakery (surf & turf)
538 Hagan Ave
Our final po boy stop was Parkway Bakery – the one we’d heard had been rated number 1 in the city over and over again. It was a long wait, almost an hour, but we figured it must be good if there are this many people waiting and no one complaining!
– The people were right, it was very good. Soft beef, big fresh shrimp, great tasting breading on them, too!
– Great bread, held up well against the heaviest po boy we’d tried.
– Well dressed, loved the pickles.
– Also not in the French Quarter.