The quintessential sandwiches of New Orleans

Yeah yeah, I know, I shoulda added this section ages ago.

Everybody wants to know how to make po-boys, for one; it's really easy, but it can be tricky because good po-boy style French bread is nearly impossible to find outside New Orleans. I'll have to try to round up a recipe or it, for intrepid bakers. Making bread like that is an incredible amount of work.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, you're in luck -- a bakery in Santa Monica called Le Pain du Jour (828 Pico Blvd., just east of Lincoln Blvd.) makes beautiful, perfect baguettes that are the closest thing you'll come to New Orleans-style French bread in this city. Get there early in the morning, before they run out.

If there is a Vietnamese community in your city, that's your next best bet. One positive legacy of French colonialism in Vietnam is the influence on the food, and Vietmanese bakers make some of the best French bread anywhere. It's ideal for poor boys (and get a "Vietnamese poor boy," a banh mi sandwich sometime, they're fantastic.)

Once you've got the bread, that's half the battle. If you want your sandwich "dressed", as we say in the Crescent City, add mayonnaise ("mynez"), lettuce, tomatoes and if you want, dill pickles. Then fill it with fried shrimp, fried oysters (or both), tender roast beef and gravy, ham and cheese, or what is perhaps my favorite po-boy in the world ... grilled patties of Creole hot sausage with cheese. Mmmmmmm, yeah you rite!

I'm digging for a good roast beef "debris" recipe for po-boys, and when I find one I'll post it. I'll also give basic instructions for some of the other more common po-boys as well.

In the meantime, though, we'll make do with what we got here, and I'll do my best to expand the section. If you can't get po-boy bread, get French bread that's crispy on the outside, and light and not too dense or chewy on the inside.

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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)