There are a lot of wonderful colloquialisms I’ve learned living in New Orleans. Everyone knows about “Who Dat!” and “Where y’at?” but there are so many others that tickle me inside. For example, in any given environment, you are bound to be affectionately called “Boo” or “Baby ” by practically anyone, regardless of sex or age and I’ll never forget the first time I heard my co-workers Shirley and Jeffrey discussing the price of “erl” (oil). After listening to their conversation for a few minutes, I finally interrupted them and said “Who the heck is Earl?” much to their endless amusement (I was teased about that one for months, let me tell you). Another great example of New Orleans terminology is revealed when you are having a conversation or making a statement that someone else agrees with and they respond “Yeah, you right!”
All of these expressions are so darling and unique, but my absolute favorite is how folks down here will mix the familiar and formal forms when calling you by name. Instead of calling me Kim or Miss Ranjbar, I will be referred to as “Miss Kim”…especially by children…and I simply love it! It is so sweet and so polite, yet friendly and warming. It makes me feel like everyone is family and the whole city is filled with my brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins.
This familial aura is exactly what I sense when dining at Hobnobber Cafe. This is my 55th cheat and I am down 72 pounds.
Since 1978, the Timphony family has managed and owned Hobnobber, although in different locations and incarnations than it’s current spot on West Metairie Avenue. For years they’ve been serving home-cooked, New Orleans Italian-style food and their Southern hospitality shines through as soon as you walk through the door.
John and I were greeted warmly by one of the owners, “Miss Cindy”, as we headed for the counter to place our order. Afterwards, we poured our own drinks from the soda fountain and selected a high table near the window. While we waited, other customers came and went, most of which were regulars to the Hobnobber. I know this because Cindy called them all by name and took time out of her busy day to say hello and visit with them for a spell.
It was not long before our food arrived and we couldn’t wait to dig in. We shared both plates, but couldn’t help starting with an 11 inch, fried catfish po-boy dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayonnaise. John also slathered on some house-made tartar sauce before taking a huge bite. The catfish was moist and sweet with a perfect crunch from the spicy cornmeal batter. Hobnobber’s fried seafood po-boys are always excellent and priced to match ringing in at only $8.00!
We also shared one of the daily specials, crab cakes with a creamy crawfish sauce served on a bed of spaghetti noodles with a large hunk of French bread and a house salad. There is a small salad bar where you can make your own creations from fresh dressings (I chose a dreamy bleu cheese) and crispy croutons. The sauce was so buttery and scrumptious, I couldn’t help swabbing up every last drop with my bread.
Near the counter is a large dessert case that displayed all their homemade desserts available like cheese cake, custard and mammoth brownies, but when Cindy veered my attention to the triple chocolate cake that was resting under glass on the counter, I had made my decision. The cake that reminded me of home was moist and dense, rich and chocolaty and a perfect end to our meal.
So listen up Boo, if you’re missing your momma’n’dem and you crave a place that feels like home, pass by the Hobnobber Cafe in Metry, aight?