In a city that lives to eat, it's no surprise that a food festival centered around stuffing your face can pack in a crowd of people. This is especially easy to do when the superstar happens to be the quintessential staple of New Orleans culinary culture. It's nothing fancy and can consist of any combination of ingredients from seafood to cold cuts and is sandwiched between two slices of french bread, the Po-Boy.
The 30 vendors participating in this years po-boy festival lined a shut-down section of Oak St. Navigating the shoulder-to-shoulder horde of hungry sandwich seekers was trying at times, although that was the least of my worries. Bigger issues were more important, like which of the vendors we wanted to buy a po-boy from. This was no easy feat when it comes to how indecisive I can be at time when presented with an overflow of options. In this case, they were plentiful and seemingly endless.
Once you have narrowed down the choice about what you'd like to devour first, your next predicament is dependent upon whether or not it's worth standing in line for. Some of the lines had upwards of 30-40 people waiting, which wouldn't have been so bad had they not been inching forward at a snails pace. Although once you set your sights on a particular po-boy it was hard to turn your back on the possibility of savoring such a tasty sandwich. Proximity and price also had a lot to do with selections we made as well.
In an attempt to taste test as many po-boys as we possibly could, my Sister and I decided to share our sandwiches. At the end of the day we tried at least 5 different ones. And who knew we would do such a good job of sniffing out the crème de la crème because I later found out that we ate many of the po-boys that were voted the best of the festival.
One of our favorites came from Red Fish Grill who won the honor of Best Shrimp Po-Boy with their Grilled Shrimp & Blackened Avocado Po-Boy; it was packed with flavor and the shrimp were super fresh and tasty. Our second favorite came from Sammy's Deli who won the honor of Best Specialty Non-Seafood Po-Boy with their Fried Chicken with Chisesi Ham and Swiss Cheese Po-Boy, talk about a scrumptious concoction, it was amazing! Another notable po-boy we tasted was from Coquette Restaurant who won the People's Choice Award for the Homemade Hot Sausage Po-Boy, it was juicy and the least expensive one we had all day at only $5.00.
I felt really lucky that my trip coincided with one of the many festivals that New Orleans hosts because it allowed me to try a variety of po-boys in a short period of time. There were a whole handful of other sandwiches that I would have liked to sample, however my stomach could only endure so much. Had I not had the opportunity to attend the Oak St. Po-Boy Festival, though, I wouldn't have put a dent in the plethora of po-boy options the city has available.
It was an interesting and amusing experience to say the least and I hope that the next time I venture to New Orleans that my trip will include another festival where I can feast on other flavors made famous by the Crescent City.
- New Orleans Po-Boy Festival | Website
- Red Fish Grill | 115 Bourbon Street New Orleans, LA 70130 | (504) 598-1200 | Website
- Sammy's Deli | 3000 Elysian Fields Avenue New Orleans, LA 70122-3627 | (504) 947-0675 | Website
- Coquette Restaurant | 2800 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70115-2229 | (504) 265-0421 | Website