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Nov 21, 201309:37 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Poor Boys and Other Goings On

Photo Courtesy of Jason Perlow

The custom at Renaissance Publishing, which hosts and publishes this blog, is to refer to the iconic New Orleans sandwich as a poor boy. Accuracy, however, dictates that I identify the festival that takes place this Sunday, Nov. 24, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. as the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival. It's the seventh iteration of the festival, and dozens of vendors will line Oak between Carrollton and Leake to serve poor boys that run the gamut from traditional to exotic.

In addition to the sandwiches, there are offerings from folks like Crepes a la Cart and Blue Frog Chocolates, as well as live music throughout the day on three stages. Rebirth Brass Band plays from 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. on the Main Stage at Oak and Eagle streets, for example. That's just one of the things you can learn by checking out the festival's website at poboyfest.com. Be aware that the festival is a lot of fun, and you shouldn't judge it by the website, which is not a lot of fun. I'd describe it as “busy,” but that gives a bad name to industriousness. In all seriousness, you can find all of the information you need with a click or two at that link, despite the layout and color scheme. (Kidding)

(Not kidding.)

The festival is a little bittersweet for me, given that my own neighborhood poor boy shop, Yang's, recently closed to make way for a pizza joint. Yang's didn't serve the best food I've ever eaten, but it was pretty good, and the folks who owned the shop were real nice. I'm not saying all this because I have fond memories of walking the four blocks from my home with my daughter in a stroller to pick up a fried shrimp or catfish poor boy. It's all true, and I'm going to miss the place.

I don't really think that our indigenous cuisine is in any real danger of dying out, or that the recent prevalence of noodle shops or hot dog joints heralds an end to red beans and rice, but I very much liked having Yang's in my neighborhood. I'll give the pizza shop a chance, but it damn well better be good pie, is all I'm saying.

On another note, I receive a lot of anonymous mail here at Haute Plates Heavy Industries and Plate Tectonics Corporation, and from time to time I like to answer that anonymous mail. So, in no particular order, here goes:

“No, the pigeons in Jackson Square are not poisoned as a general rule, but the authorities frown on hunting them. It's a felony, if you must know, and the meat really isn't very good anyway. Don't ask me how I know.”

“Yes, but only if you get a shot first, is my advice. Also, you disgust me.”

“R'evolution, but I'm sure they'll get it right eventually.”

“No, so far as I know, the crust of a 'Naked' pizza is not made from recycled cardboard.”

“Yes, I've heard that Jon Smith has taken over the reins at the French Market. Yes, I know he's not French. What's your point?”

“1794, Napoleon Bonaparte and sweet tea. In that order.”

I hope this proved helpful to those of you who wrote in. I recognize that, for the rest of you, it might have been more instructive had I included the questions, but then I'd have to make those up too, and there are only so many hours in the day, Cupcake.

Anyway, if you'd prefer, I can answer your actual, real-life question about food, restaurants, ferns, V8 engines and how to attract the opposite sex using only twine and aluminum foil. To learn my secrets, email me at the address located somewhere on this page, or alternatively, if you are very, very old, send me a letter.

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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene


Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived in New Orleans his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.




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