First the food. I have nagging obligations preventing me from immersing myself in long posts, and I still don't know quite what to say about anything bigger than where I ate. With the exception of the fabulous Restaurant August, (thanks, Itch) I did not get much chance to try new places in New Orleans. I was in town for a wedding, and an fine crawfish boil the night before, and solid catering the night of, meant that eating in a restaurant on Friday or Saturday would involve being either antisocial or bulimic. I lived in New Orleans in 1993-94, and surprising number of the old reliables are still in effect. My salient eating accomplishment was three consecutive breakfasts of huevos rancheros at Bluebird, an old and regular haunt. They are still operating with a limited menu, as are many places.
With the time that I had, my eating ambitions were like checking to make sure all of your teeth are there after you get hit in the mouth. I did manage a muffaletta at Central Grocery, which was as good as ever. One of these sandwiches saved the cinetrix and I from starving to death at a Hertz counter in Baton Rouge back in 2000: a roundish, flattish loaf of fairly chewy bread, split like a bun and paved with coldcuts, cheese, and an olive salad. There is no sandwich more routinely bastardized beyond Decatur St., but none that I wish were more widely available. There are other fine sandwiches in the world, the Reuben, the Cubano, the galaxy of Bahn Mi, a nice corned beef on rye, and so forth, but none that can absorb the punishment like a muffaletta. It is packed to travel, and I can't imagine a more delightful sandwich to remember still having some of towards the end of a long and vigorous evening.
Saturday brought the first of many miscalculations that would prove critical. On the way to the St. Patrick's Day parade (more on that later) I passed up an opportunity to stop in at Magazine Poboy, thinking I might not find room for a poboy in a stomach still full of eggs, beans, salsa, cheese and tortillas. We escaped cabbage concussions, and it was time for the wedding. I am powerless in the face of passed appetizers, and these were good enough that I feared an unseemly incident if I had more than a ceremonial nibble of the climactic crawfish beignets.
Stay tuned for Sunday's bootless poboy odyssey.