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Wednesday, 09 January 2008

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Carol

Great first post, Omar! We love crawfish étouffée and wish I was on this trip with you. Darn, now I need to go get some Cajun food...:o)

JennDZ_The Leftover Queen

Welcome to blogging Omar! I think you are a natural!

Welcome mmm-yoso to The Foodie Blogroll!

rooney

absolutely fabulous post. btw, i use frozen okra in my gumbo and its never slimey. heresy or a good tip?

janfrederick

Wow! Nice big succulent post! Thanks Omar.

My cousins are crab fishermen near Yorktown. One of my fondest memories was the time I visited them whn I was a teenager and helped them collect pots to raise money to go to Busch Gardens. We pulled pots all morning and then set up the steamer for our own pick of the pots. I must say, that was some deeeeeli-shus eatings. I think we might have had a teeny bit of butter, but that's it. Oh man, I'm tasting it right now.

Oh, and we got a couple of soft-shells and fried those up. Hoo mama!

And to think we traded a boatload of those lovely crabs for a day at an amusement park where we ended up eating amusement park burgers and hot dogs. :)

Thanks again!

janfrederick

Oh, by the way, could you tell me a little more about that oyster po-boy? Was that mayo, tartar sauce, or something else? (You gave me my idea for a playoff-watching meal)

Also, does anyone here know a really good place for fresh bread in San Diego? I like the Sorrento European bakery for Bahn Mi baguettes. I trek down to Solunto's for italian bread when the need arises. But how about Po-boy/hero/hoagie/submarine/grinder bread?

Trent

Thanks, Omar, for covering Louisiana food with more depth and honesty than Alan Richman did in GQ Nov. `06. Seriously, much appreciated.

cathy

Solunto sells par baked large torpedoes{75¢ each/doz for $8.50} and frenchettes {35¢ each or $4/doz} and 1 lb bread loaves {$2.20}, janfrederick. When it is made fresh at home, it is perfect for a po'boy. Point Loma Seafoods sells their sourdough sandwich 'loaf' in store-and that is the same one they use for the fried oyster sandwich (served with only tartar sauce, BTW).{I posted about the fried oyster sandwich at PLSF}
Oh, welcome, Omar-nice post!

Sandy

I don't know anything about po' boys but I know something about bread :-) Vien Dong on Linda Vista Road sells freshly-baked demi baguettes. I'm sure they provide the bread to bahn mi places, and I would think the demi baugettes would be the right size for a po' boy.

Thanks for the nice post, Omar! It sounds like you had a delicious holiday.

Omar

Carol, thanks for your kind comments. Do you make étouffées? It's a messy, smelly way to spend an afternoon, but man, is it worth the trouble. When I serve étouffée, I also like to make little 1" wide baking powder biscuits ( http://www.recipezaar.com/255251 ) with touches of cinnimon and cayenne added. Also, assuming you're in San Diego county, Where would you expect to find good Cajun food?

RonW, thanks for the encouraging thought that I might be a "natural," but I'm ashamed to admit that while we were in Louisiana, there were several times when I thought I couldn't eat another bite. I sucked it up and chowed down, but my committment was tested. Maybe I should blog about something that requires the ingestion of less oil.

JennDZ, I'm grateful for your kind words. Regarding frozen okra: it's a commonly-used alternative to fresh in gumbos, especially when it's cooked down first, for 10 to 15 minutes, in a bit of oil. No matter: I think that if you like the way frozen works for you, it's the right choice, and screw orthodoxy. I don't cook with the stuff myself; I grew up in a Southern family, confonting okra frequently in fried and stewed form, and frankly, I'd rather swallow worms.

Jan, are you talking about Yorktown, Virginia? I grew up in Loudoun and King and Queen counties. Neighbor! I was never lucky enough to hang out with crabbers, but as kids, we used to tie chicken necks on string and dip in the water by the pier, and pull up crab enough to feed the table. But we kids didn't care much for crab (too much work), so we did this for the fun of catching, then turned over the proceeds to our parents, who rewarded us with burgers, hot dogs, etc. What suckers kids can be!

Mr. Mike's po-boy was "dressed", as is common in Louisiana, with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato. The bread was warmed but untoasted. The oysters were likely coated with something like Louisiana Fish Fry Products' "All Natural Fish Fry" ( http://www.louisianafishfry.com ) then fried in peanut oil, the fresher, the better.

Bread is tricky. I've been looking for great bread in SD for years, mostly to make cheesesteaks for my wife. It seems to move around: BMH Deli on El Cajon Blvd. to Ralphs to K Sandwiches, and so on. Problem is, none of it is the right light consistency you'd want for authentic po-boys. However, our New Orleans friends Dave and Sharon sheltered here for a year after Katrina (more about them in my next post), and Sharon said she got something close to perfect at Stumps Family Market in Point Loma (3770 Voltaire St, San Diego, CA 92107,(619) 226-9575).

Trent, I'm grateful to you for pointing out the Richman piece ( http://men.style.com/gq/features/full?id=content_5165 ). I hadn't seen it, and though it's a year later, I'll comment on it in my New Orleans post. For the moment, let me say I've found that a key to enjoying New Orleans, something I believe Richman lacked, is selflessness. It's counterintuitive, I know, to think that a place so decadent might be best appreciated by those who adopt an open heart, but it works. Just like in Mexico, and Thailand and Brazil.

Cathy, thanks for the warm welcome. Sourdough in a po-boy, hmm? I couldn't find the PLSF post you mentioned. Did did you try the sandwich, and if you did, did you like it? I like sourdough in general, but for a po-boy, I don't think I'd care for the taste combination or the chewyness of the bread. However, as I said before, screw orthodoxy. If people like a food, they should eat it. (Hey, if no one's using "screw orthodoxy" maybe I'll adopt it as my catch-phrase)

Omar

Sandy, the Vietnamese take on sub rolls, the demi-baguette you mention, is the right size but the wrong texture for an "authentic" po-boy. The bread used in the New Orleans area is softer and lighter, almost like a dinner roll, but with more body.

That being said, I rely on demi-bagettes from K Sandwiches for cheesesteaks, crabcake sandwiches, chicken parm subs, and so on. Their bread doesn't go soggy, an important point when you're providing the main course for a Padres tailgate party, or my wife's birthday dinner.

cathy

Top left "search" box- just type in "Point Loma Seafoods" or whatever you are looking for. I don't like sourdough at all, but that is how they make their sandwiches. I tend to maybe eat half the bread when I get a sandwich there.

The bread at Vien Dong is great fresh, but is not good the next morning- absolutely has to be convectioned.

I have tended to buying par baked at Solunto and Trade Joe's, just to be sure I have fresh bread at home.

My wording is "there are no rules". You can have your own. ;)

yummieyummy

Wow...!!! You don't know how much I love and appreciate this post. Thank you. I enjoy reading it a lot. For the blue crab, I prefer old bay flavor. Steam or boil with old bay, it can't go wrong there.

Omar

Hi Cathy,

A search of the site didn't return information for your post about fried oyster sandwiches at PLSF. No matter. I'm still full from last month's eats.

Omar

yummieyummy, I'm happy you were so pleased by my post. You're welcome, of course. And you're right, of course, that Old Bay is what crab *should* taste like :) Louisianans use crab boils like Zatarain's®, which are good, but a bit heavy on bay leaf, coriander seed, and other "earthy" flavors for my preference. I mean, we're not making curry here, right?

janfrederick

Actually, my cousins live in Grafton. I guess I could have easily said Hampton Roads or something larger than Grafton in the area. I didn't live there, I was just visiting from California. My great aunt made the best shrimp creole when we were there. Actually it was my first, but nothing has measured up to it since. Oh, and that salty pungent virginia ham. Yessssss......

Thanks everyone for the bread tips. Man, we used to live near India street near a commercial bakery. It smelled so good and yet we couldn't go in and buy a loaf. Man!

By the way, the Disney resort is going to build a bakery on premisis. They baked their own bread for years and switched to off site providers a few years back. I don't think it will be open for a couple of years, so if you visit soon, you can compare with their offerings in a couple of years.

nhbilly

Geesh the painful reminder that I missed out on when I was in Houston, Tx.

yummieyummy

Exactly! Did you get a chance to try Cafe Du Monde? It's one of the best.

Gumbeaux Gal

Hey Omar,
I am from a small town near Thibodaux and my sis resides in Houma. I grew up eating gumbo, red beans, fried seafood, etc. Now that I live in San Diego, I use my trips home to fill up on the good stuff (and to carry some La. goodies back home for cooking)!

One of my friends and blog readers who also reads your blog pointed out that both of our "Home Cooking" posts are with regards to Louisiana.

Happy eating, cher!

Gumbeaux Gal

FYI, the secret to counteracting the ropey-ness (sliminess) is mixing it with a little white vinegar.

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