Monday, November 15, 2010

Po-Boys

The most noticeable difference between New Jersey and New Orleans is how they eat their sandwiches. I grew up in Point Pleasant NJ just a mile from the original Jersey Mike's Submarine sandwich shop. Across the country variations of this classic can be found under different names, heroes, hoagies, grinders and down here "Po-Boy." Not to be confused with a "Poor Boy" which is the name for the sandwich farther north on the Mississippi. 


A traditional Jersey sub can have many variations of the contents, Italian meats, turkey, roast beef and cheeses. The constant is the dressing, oil, vinegar and oregano along with lettuce, tomato and onion.  A good sub will drip off of your elbows and cause your eyes to burn if you touch them while eating. A hot sub is usually meatball or some traditional Italian hack slop without the greens or dressing.

In New Orleans, a Po-Boy is "dressed" with lettuce tomato, pickles and mayonnaise.  Or as a Yat would pronounce it, MYNEZ.  A popular hot po-boy is loaded with fried shrimp or oysters (erstas) breaded and fried piled onto the same roll with the toppings. It takes some getting used to for a Jersey boy. I tried to explain to locals the reaction in Jersey one would get if they were to order a submarine sandwich with that dressing.

"Can I get an Italian sub with mayonnaise?"
"With what?"
"Mayo"
"Are you sick? No way, we don't do that here."
"I prefer my sandwich with mayo."
"Fuck you, I'm making it the right way."
"Really, I insist on it having mayonnaise."
"Well, ok, but I'm going to have to spit on it, just out of principle."

I was recently introduced to a New Orleans creation known as a muffuletta. The muffuletta sandwich was invented by Signor Lupo Salvadore, who opened the now-famous Italian market called Central Market on Decatur Street in the French Quarter in 1906.  It's traditional italian meats on a round bread dressed with an olive salad.  The Creole-Italian sandwich is often just called a "Muff." So on your next visit to the Big Easy, I recommend that you dive in and eat a Muff.

"To a New Yorker like you, a hero is type of a weird sandwich, not some nut who takes on three Tiger tanks..."   Oddball



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