Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Po'Boy, Happy Girl
Seems every restaurant in the Big Easy serves them and everyone has an opinion on where to find the best. The Parkway Bakery and Tavern is on the top of many lists so I set out with a friend to discover why. Parkway is in an area of town known as Mid City, and at the step-off for the Endymion Mardi Gras Parade. We were having some difficulty finding it so we called from the car and were told "its just across the bayou." Now looking for a big body of water we had to do a double take at the site of Bayou St John; it's at best, a small canal by Southwest Florida standards. Never-the-less we crossed it and found the unassuming Parkway on the corner of Hagan and Toulouse.
A chef taking a smoke break told us the pastrami and corn beef were delicious and made in house. He then guessed that I would order the shrimp since I was a girl. I rebelled and ordered the ham. The meat was sweet and salty; the bread crispy and delicate on the outside, soft and pillowy in the middle; incredible. We also tried the Surf and Turf; slow cooked roast beef, fried shrimp and gravy. It was a delicious mess. There were 25 Po'boys on the menu with everything from BBQ to Alligator Sausage.
I stared blankly at our server when she asked in her southern accent, "do you want it dressed?" The Parkway didn't seem like one of those kind of places. Turns out a "dressed" Po'boy comes with lettuce, tomoato, pickles and mayo. Yes please.
A tasty, seasonal Abita Beer (Louisiana brewed) was just the right accompaniment to lunch. My Po'Boy fascination didn't stop at the Parkway. I savored one with oysters at the famous Acme Oyster House and it was spot on. So were the char-grilled oysters. More on that stop later. So much good eatin' in New Orleans.
New Yorkers say the key to their outstanding pizza is the water used to make the crust; you can only get it in New York. The people of N'awlins have a similar claim when it comes to Po'boys; the key is the bread and you can only find the good stuff in NOLA.