I’ll have me a po-boy

Of course, today is the day to talk about food, especially when the average plate of Thanksgiving feasting that you’ll be holding in your hands today will weigh in at 3,500 calories … and that’s not counting dessert.

I’m home in New Orleans for Thanksgiving (and a Saints game), and for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. (Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!) I’m hoping that on the spare day I have before I fly back I’ll be able to get me a po-boy. I haven’t had a proper one in months, and I’m jonesin’.

A week ago Sunday was the New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Festival, a madhouse of over 40,000 people crammed onto Oak Street to celebrate one of the national dishes of our beloved city-state. Some locals groused about the crowds, preferring to get their po-boys at actual po-boy shops during the other 364 days of the year, but it looked like quite a party.

“CBS Sunday Morning” did a terrific report on the festival, and on our love for the Emperor of All Sandwiches.

The winners of the festival all looked terrific, and none of them was one of the classic po-boy joints like Parkway, Domilise’s, Johnny’s or even the more recent upstarts like Mahony’s. I’d love to track all these sandwiches down (the lobster po-boy will be on the menu at GW Fins soon) although unfortunately I won’t be able to during the one extra day I’ll have at home, sigh. I’m trying not to drool just reading this list — it’s great to see the art of the po-boy being elevated with all this creativity. That said, you just can’t beat a hot sausage po-boy.

Best of Show Po-boy: GW Fins’ Fried Lobster tossed in Crystal Hot Sauce Butter
Best Pork Po-boy: Grand Isle Restaurant — Boucherie Po-Boy
Best Specialty Seafood Po-Boy: Grand Isle Restaurant — Smoked Fish Po-Boy
Best Roast Beef Po-Boy: Sammy’s Deli on Elysian Fields — Garlic Stuffed Roast Beef Po-Boy
Best Specialty Non-Seafood Po-Boy: Sammy’s Deli on Elysian Fields -– Fried Chicken, Chisesi Ham and Swiss Cheese Po-Boy
Best Shrimp Po-Boy: Redfish Grill — Grilled Shrimp with Blackened Avocado Po-boy
People’s Choice Award: Coquette Restaurant — Homemade Hot Sausage Po-Boy