Oyster Po' Boy
Oysters: briny, cool, slippery, sweet, complex
How can you amplify such divine perfection? Turn it into an oyster po' boy.
H & I were in New Orleans last week for a fabulously fun wedding. The bride and groom decided to host the wedding there in order to contribute back to an economy still struggling from Katrina. What selflessness, so rare nowadays with bridezillas and crazy celebrity weddings.
Me? I was selfishly dreaming of all the fabulous food I would be eating that weekend. My first trip to New Orleans years ago had already whetted my appetite for its cuisine, and I was ready to attack again. The beautiful city didn't disappoint: from gorgeous gumbo at Antoine's to cheesy grits and gravy at the House of Blues brunch, my stomach was sated and groaning. And of course we hit Café du Monde for beignets.
The single most memorable bite, though, was the oyster po' boy at Johnny's Po' Boys. We wavered back on forth on whether to order shrimp or oyster, but finally settled on oyster since, come on, this is what a po' boy is all about. Looking back, what was I thinking- we should've just ordered both and skipped the burned gumbo I ordered instead.
(And for those of you unfamiliar with it, a po' boy is a uniquely American sandwich that consists of fried seafood or sliced meats sandwiched in soft French bread. "Dressed" means served with condiments such as lettuce or mayo. Advice: cover liberally with hot sauce before eating.)
Back to the eating. These oysters were small, fried to a crisp with the lightest breading on the outside. They came tumbling out the sides of the sandwich as to say, "Eat me first! I'm delicious!" It was all I could do not to just start popping them into mouth without the bread. But I refrained, doused one side of the sandwich with hot sauce, nestled the wandering bivalves back into their snug sandwich, and took my first bite.
Crunchy, slippery, briny, salty, sweet, spicy, cool, hot. You name the sensation or taste? It was probably there.
And the wait staff at the restaurant? They reminded me that I was on friendly, New Orleans time: when it was my turn to order at the counter, I opened my mouth, ready to efficiently place my order since there was a long line stretching behind me. Instead, the cashier smiled and said, "How ya'll doing today?" She then proceeded to actually ask us why we were in town before wishing us a fun trip. What was I thinking, trying to rush?
Get thee to New Orleans. If not, attempt making an oyster po' boy at home. I know I'll be trying.
Johnny's Po' Boys
511 St. Louis St.
New Orleans, LA
Open until 4 or 4:30PM everyday