OK, so *techinically* today is National Hoagie Day. But the thing is, here in Nola we do not eat Hoagies. We have our own big cheap sandwich, and it is the Po Boy.
A little on the history of po boys. In 1929, the city's streetcar conductors went on strike. The Martin brothers, who had worked for the streetcar but left it to open a cafe in the French Market, still felt strong ties to their fellow streetcar workers. They invented a sandwich on extra-wide and flat Gendusa French bread to feed the "poor boys" during the strike. And as a result of the tendency of the local dialect to drop r-sounds at the ends of words, the po' boy was born.
And now we come to the big question: How does a vegan in New Orleans get to experience this great Nola tradition, given that the "classic" po boy is roast beef? Well I'm here to tell you!
While roast beef might be the new classic, rumor has it that the original po boy was actually filled with French fries. So here's what you're going to do! Head over to Parkway Bakery & Tavern in mid-city, any day other than Tuesday. Order yourself a Golden Fried Potato po boy - to go, no gravy. When they ask if you want it "dressed," just ask for lettuce and tomato. While you're waiting, make sure to absorb the ultimately New Orleanian atmosphere of Parkway. The "large" sandwich, which is over a foot long, will cost you $7 including tax.
Take your sandwich home and finish the dressing with a generous helping of Vegenaise (or your favorite vegan mayo). You can add some nice brown gravy if you so choose.
Then, ENJOY. Keep in mind that this meal is an absolute carbohydrate festival with a hearty dose of salt. So perhaps plan to eat nothing but plain tofu and raw vegetables for the rest of the day... or week!
Happy po boy-ing y'all.