Po-Boys to suffer for at Avery’s on Tulane

Ever since I got arrested on Lundi Gras oh-so many years ago, I sort of dread being anywhere near the ominous courthouse at the Broad and Tulane intersection. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) it seems that I need to get over that particular bad taste in my mouth, because there are too many good tastes to be had (and many more to come) in this growing corridor. A little while back, I sucked it up and took John to lunch at Avery’s on Tulane, a po-boy spot that I discovered from a visitor to our fair city who regaled a tale about an incredible roast beef. I simply had to go find out for myself, after all — what would a tourist know about roast beef po-boys? Apparently, he knew a lot…

Located less than two blocks from the dreaded courthouse and prison, Avery’s has been open for three years now and I feel like a failed foodie for not knowing about their deliciousness earlier. John and I stumbled in, incredibly hungry, and grabbed an open table. Avery’s is super casual, a low-key po-boy joint with local art on the walls and a gator mural beneath the counter. After seriously debating our choices, we finally ordered lunch and sat back to wait.

Though it may be odd to order an appetizer at a po-boy shop, we simply had to try their Fried Potato Salad. A large, ball-shaped scoop of a basic potato salad (with bacon!) was breaded with Leidenheimer po-boy bread crumbs and deep fried. We gobbled it all too quickly, which shows how tasty that particular experiment turned out to be.

Then, with a wailing fanfare that was heard only in my head, our po-boys arrived. John kept it simple with a half and half, that is half fried oysters and half fried shrimp, fully dressed of course. The shrimp were delicious, breaded in seasoned flour and the cornmeal-breaded oysters were equally pleasurable, plump and juicy, right out of the fryer.

I went a little different and tried one of their special po-boys called the “Sandbag.” Hot roast beef is topped with fried pickles and provolone cheese to create a po-boy only my wildest dreams could replicate. I’m salivating as I write this, remembering the tangy, crunch of the fried pickles and the heady flavor of the roast beef. Seriously, this is one hell of a sandwich.

John and I both ordered the large (a.k.a. 12 inch) version of our po-boys, but we quickly discovered that there was no way on this green earth we’d be able to finish more than half! So, we boxed up what was left and proceeded to order dessert. John was groaning at me out of over-satiation, but I insisted we at least try something sweet before we left. As it turned out, Avery’s home made bread pudding was just as good as everything else they put out, though it was nothing fancy, just a simple, well-made bread pudding sopping in an added caramel sauce. Were we incredibly full? Yes. Did we inhale every last bite? You bet!

Click to add a blog post for Avery's on Tulane on Zomato

Review: The Southern Po’ Boy Cookbook

Before I moved to New Orleans, I had never even heard of a po’ boy. There were sandwiches, hoagies, subs, clubs and heroes…but no po’ boy. My first po’ boy was devoured at a restaurant on Bourbon Street whose name I unfortunately cannot recall. It was my first day in New Orleans and we had been strolling around the French Quarter for a while when we passed an open restaurant on Bourbon and the heady aroma of fried seafood made us realize how hungry we were.

I don’t remember what anyone else ordered, but I got a 12 inch Fried Oyster Po’ Boy fully dressed and a huge plate of French fries. I devoured almost all of it before I couldn’t breathe anymore and went back to our hotel room to change for the night, but I passed out from a severe case of “food coma” because I had never eaten so much fried food in my entire life. For those of you who have never enjoyed the plethora of fried pleasures that can be had in our town, believe me when I tell you to take it slow your first time out. Not even a bucket of fried chicken from KFC will prepare you for the hurt you can experience from a ton of fried oysters on French bread with mayo…not that I’m complaining. I’ve had many a po’ boy since.

Anyhow, all that reminiscing brings me to Todd Micheal St. Pierre’s latest, The Southern Po’ Boy Cookbook: Mouthwatering Sandwich Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans. This cookbook is filled with a multitude of po’ boy recipes, along with gorgeous photos, colorful artwork by local painter Dianne Parks, and of course, Todd’s well-written stories and poems. I adore the creative chapter titles like “International Affairs,” “The Unusual Boys” and “Boy Oh Boy: If It Swims, Cook It!”. Even the fun names for individual po’ boys are a hoot like “The Gert Town” which is a pork tenderloin po’ boy with Remoulade sauce and “The Who Dat” (Geaux Saints!) which has New Orleans-style BBQ Shrimp. My favorite part, though, was that Todd starts the whole book off with the key ingredient of any po’ boy worth its salt, a recipe for “Baby, I Knead You! Homemade Po’ Boy Bread.”

Considering I am a food writer, I’ve eaten a majority of the po’ boys featured in this book, from “The Kenner,” a ham and Swiss to “The Snug Harbor” with fried green tomatoes and shrimp remoulade. But there were a few I’d never seen before that set my mouth to watering as I read on. For example, I’d love to sink my teeth into “The Pacific Northwest” with baked salmon and wasabi mayo or “The French Canadian,” a poutine po’ boy with French fries and cheese curds.

I think The Southern Po’ Boy Cookbook is easily the sexiest, most visually stunning of all Todd Micheal St. Pierre’s cookbooks. But, there was just one thing about it that didn’t make sense to me. For people who don’t live in the Greater New Orleans Area, this cookbook is a valuable jewel, one that can transport you to my beloved city with some fresh, juicy shrimp and a ton of butter. But me? I am lucky enough to live here in this wonderfully unique town and if I want a po’ boy, I can walk around the corner and get one anytime I want. Sorry Todd! You know I love ya, but you also know anyone who lives in this town is already spoiled rotten when it comes to po’ boy access.

Speaking of around the corner, this Sunday, November 24th, Oak Street will be hosting its annual Po-Boy Festival where restaurants all over the city will offer some of the most unique, tongue-tingling, stomach-satisfying po’ boys ever and I couldn’t be more excited. Plus, Todd Micheal St. Pierre will be signing copies of The Southern Po’ Boy Cookbook from 2-3pm in front of Blue Cypress Books at the fest! See ya there!