Tuesday, January 21, 2014

NOLA Kneaux How Pt. 1: If I was a Po' Boy...

...Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na naaaa. And we're back in business. I think I finally fully digested my final bite from the Big Easy. Shit was causing the mad writer's block, among other blockage, ya digs?!?! Potty humor off the jump. And you thought I was all grows up. I wish.

Iconic food items are not lacking when you think of NOLA. Gumbo, jambalaya, oysters, muffulettas, etouffee, and of course the Po' Boy. Having tried and thoroughly enjoyed 3 of these marvelous sandwich creations, today they get top billing when waxing and salivating poetic about the Crescent City. This is a formal warning for the gluten free vegans reading this. HAHAHAHA. As if. Turn away or risk metamorphasizing (new word alert) into a life of gluttonous carb filled bottom feeding treif sin. These pics can turn tricks. And I doubt the dressing is locally grown organic.

All hail the Peace Maker, Acme Oyster House's homage to the native sandwich. WHO DAT WHO DAT WHO DAT!! The menu reads...

Voted #4 in Top Ten Sandwiches Golden fried oysters & shrimp, seasoned to perfection, with TABASCO® infused mayo

Now, I have no clue who's poll they're referring to but fuck it, they can be #4 in my book. Or at least # very delicious. Crustaceans overflowing from the pillowy bread bassinet aka the baguette. The original Psalms passage was supposed to go like this... my shrimp runneth over. But then the Lord invented Kosher so they had to edit.

Crisp, golden fried locally sourced shellfish dressed to the 9s, aka with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo. Shrimp and oysters on the smaller side, perfectly sized for a sandwich. The ideal bite would include all of these elements, and since Acme has been in business for more than 100 years, founded in 1910, they know how to provide many of these. That said, none of this would be possible without the bread. The highly touted and sought after New Orleans French Bread. A crisp thin shiny shell surrounding soft white bread that coddles the fried protein, posturpedic for heroes. It's pretty amazing how the bread dictates the outcome of the sandwich. Usually all focus is spent on the fillings, the sauce, accoutrements, but not the vessel. It finally clicked. Now I understand where I've gone wrong my entire life. Problem solved, case closed.

Fast forward to a night out on Frenchmen Street following a Pelicans victory, enjoying some drinks, brass bands and Mardi Gras Black Indians repping the Yellow Pocohontas tribe. Hunger kicked in, and with a pointer from a rather eccentric local named Thaddeus, we made our way to the Verti Marte on Royal Street in the French Quarter. I would like to take this time to thank the whoadie, because without his inside scoop, I highly doubt we would have entered this typical run-down looking corner store.

Narrow aisles and sparsely filled white metal shelves led you towards the counter in the back where a huge chalk board menu hovered. Options were plentiful, but we were focused on that boy boy. Luckily for us, not the quickest deciders (usually me), there was a line so we had some time to place the order. I was fairly positive I'd be getting the shrimp po' boy, even though it was similar to the afore mentioned Peace Maker. The shrimp needed to have a solo before we headed back north. Now what was the lady to order?? Hmmmmmm. We heard chatter about their signature sandwich "All That Jazz." Listed front and center under their specialties, how much of a risk could it be? Apparently not much based on a quick Google search.

Whats's there to say?? I mean, look at it. Don't be scared to click on it. Admire it. It's perfect in all of it's simplicity. Shrimp lightly seasoned and breaded, then fried the way a shrimp should be. Tender with a snap. Lettuce for some texture, tomato for a sweet kick and some acidity, and the mayo to tie everything in. And again the bread. Peep the cross section. It molds around the scrimps, yet it doesn't waiver, it doesn't collapse. Thaddeus, you crazy for this one!!

All That Jazz was really all that jazz consisting of "a medley of grilled ham, turkey & shrimp, swiss & american cheese accompanied by grilled mushrooms, tomatoes, on grilled french bread with our original "wow sauce". DAMN SON. That's a super group right there. Not the small assembly of amateur musicians that play on your shoulder. Purdie on drums, Eddie Harris on the sax, Dizzy on trumpet, Ramsey on piano, Grant Green on guitar and of course my girl Bobbi on the flute. Compared to the shrimp po boy, this was hefty and rich. The ying and the yang. But it was GOOD. Most definitely an ideal meal when sauced up. And even better the next day cold out the fridge. You the man Thaddeus.

I'm sure there are other po' boys out there that are as good, if not better. Parkway and Johnny's were recommended, but they just didn't make the cut. Any online research will throw out a whole other bunch of names. I guess that's just another reason to head south. However next time, we might throw the remix on and go Muffuletta hunting.

Stay tuned for more NOLA Kneaux How...

I thank Louchie Lou & Michie One for providing me with subject fodder, but that won't be played on HFE. Instead, let's invert a bit and play one of my favorites...

Verti Marte

1201 Royal St.

New Orleans, LA 70116

504-525-4767

Acme Oyster House

724 Iberville Street

New Orleans, LA 70130

504-522-5973

acmeoyster.com