Food coma induced by Po-Boy Festival on Oak Street

If you weren’t at the New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Festival yesterday, you were sorely missed because it sure seemed like the rest of the city was there! From the start at 11 a.m. to the finish at 7:30 p.m., folks were lined up at every available food booth on the entire length of Oak Street, that is when they weren’t dancing or devouring their latest purchase.

I had already decided to gorge myself silly at the Po-Boy Festival this week to celebrate my 60th cheat. I am now down 77 pounds.

My friends and I began our day dancing to Clockwork Elvis while we scoped out the booths nearby, considering our choices carefully. John, not willing to wait, bought his first…a Spanish Style Pork Loin and Gouda po-boy from Barcelona Tapas Cafe which proved to be as delicious as it sounds. I’m still surprised I managed to get a bite in before John hastily scarfed the rest.

After that one taste, the race had begun. I quickly got a Sloppy Roast Beef Po-Boy from Gattuso’s and after one bite, immediately knew why they had won last year’s competition. The gravy was thick, savory and practically the only thing holding the tender meat together. It seems there’s a contender for my favorite roast beef spot now.

I stood in line for a Hot Sausage po-boy from Vaucresson as I inhaled the Sloppy Roast Beef, ordering just as I threw away the wrappings. Rarely disappointed by their sausage, I took a large bite and relished the popping sensation as my teeth broke the casing. Spicy, greasy and wonderful, the sausage was only lacking a bit of heat as it wasn’t nearly as hot as I had hoped.

We shambled along a bit slower, enjoying our food until we came to more booths.  Dante’s Kitchen was serving a Confit pork Cuban po-boy with black pepper bourbon mustard that sounded awesome, but the line stretched back an entire block! I heard that they sold out before the fest ended because everyone knows how awesome the cuisine at Dante’s can be. It was one experience I unfortunately missed…oh well, maybe next year.

As we inched our way further down Oak Street, we discovered a bottleneck of festival-goers smashed up next to Blue Frog Chocolates who were serving, among other heavenly items, a bag full of Chocolate Dipped Zapp’s Cajun Crawtator potato chips. I stood in line yet again, determined not to miss out on this decadent treat.

While doling out some of the Chocolate-dipped chips to my friends, I noticed Frenchy’s original painting for the Po-Boy Fest poster displayed in front of his gallery. Like all of his work, it was a riot of movement and color, effectively capturing the eager crowds eating their way down Oak Street. There was a box full of festival posters for sale and although I desperately wanted one, $60 was just a little too rich for my blood and I had to force myself to move on.

Although the flavor of spicy chocolate still lingered on my tongue, but I couldn’t resist buying a Double Chocolate Whiskey Caramel Brownie from a stand that was also selling Bacon-Fried Hot Dogs. I ate the brownie later that evening and it was easily one of the best I’d enjoyed in a long time. Who were those vendors? I may never know…

John and I were pretty full by this time, but when we saw Ninja serving sashimi po-boys, I simply couldn’t resist. Anne and I jumped into a line that seemed endless, but moved astonishingly fast and before we knew it, Anne was cradling a Deep Fried Soft-Shell Crab po-boy while I had already taken a bite of my Salmon Sashimi po-boy featuring sliced cucumber and wasabi mayonnaise. Both were fantastic!

Completely sated and a bit drowsy, we wandered back to my apartment in a zombie-like daze after eating and waiting in line non-stop for more than half a day. My friends eventually went home and John left for work. When the house was quiet (aside from the muffled noises from the fest still going on outside) I collapsed on my bed and finally succumbing to a richly deserved food coma, passed out for several hours.

Only 364 more days till next year’s fest!

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