Lunchtime NOLA poll – whooooo, boy!
February 16th, 2011
12:15 PM ET
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"Where there is nuance, there is disagreement - and New Orleans food is very nuanced."

"Well, you've gotta have sh*t to talk about at the bar!"

Over at my pal Pableaux Johnson's house for Monday night red beans and rice, I laid my shame bare to the assembled crowd. I'd gotten smacked down on Twitter earlier that day for posting a photograph of the obviously warmed-up muffuletta sandwich I'd had for lunch.

Said the smashing Francis Lam (who's the editor of Salon Food and who's spent a goodly chunk of time in the Big Easy) "Argh! The warm muff!" and then "I just can't countenance a warm muffuletta, though I understand it has its fans."

Food writer and recent Brooklyn-to-New Orleans transplant Brett Martin piled on, "Hear, hear! I'll go further and say Ctrl Grocery or nothing."

I've got no problem admitting I don't know something - especially about food. It's a chance to learn. But, in a city like this where passions run to the frenzied, there are some things worth getting as close to right as possible.

To wit: po' boy, po-boy, po-boy, poor boy, peaux boy? Whaddaya call the French bread sandwich typically filled with fried seafood or roast beef and gravy? There are precedents for each; you lean toward which?



Laissez les bons temps rouler! Eatocracy is in New Orleans this week getting ready for the second edition of our Secret Supper. We'll be sharing the people, purveyors and places that make this such a significant food town, and hope you'll join in with your questions, memories, restaurant suggestions and general bonhomie.



soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Duke13

    While the NOLA po boys are great one of the best dishes ever in NO was Oysters Tchoupitoulas at the old Tchoupitoulas Plantation restaurant.

    April 30, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  2. whitney

    poboy.

    April 30, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  3. Don

    The best Po-Boy I've had in years is located off Loyola and Vet's in Metairie, at the Check-In/Check-Out deli, located in the BP filling station. Man they have great shrimp, just the right amount of batter and more shrimp in/on/outside the Po-Boy than anywhere in New Orleans.
    JMHO

    February 20, 2011 at 6:32 am |
  4. Nola29

    One of the best Po-boys is a Vietnamese po-boy. They are sold at various Vietnamese shops around New Orleans including Duong Phong Bakery in New Orleans East. C'est si bon.

    February 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  5. Kimmie

    As long as it's served dressed, and with an ice cold Abita Strawberry, I don't care how you spell it! I plan on gettin' one this weekend in BR :)

    February 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  6. Sinzo

    I personally don't think that there should be this big of an arguement about such a thing because it really doesn't matter as long as you know what it is and how you want it!

    But thats just me.

    February 17, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  7. Rebecca

    I've lived in South Louisiana my whole life and I've always spelled it "poboy". Doesn't matter how you spell it as long as it's good and the bread is just right.

    February 17, 2011 at 9:01 am |
  8. Big Beaux

    Cajuns know the difference, everyone one else is just an opinion. Viva la acadienne`

    February 17, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  9. Budreaux Monceaux

    It's just a sammich. The coonasses can call it whatever they like.

    February 17, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  10. SHOOOOOO

    I just farted. Shooooooo : )

    February 17, 2011 at 5:25 am |
  11. Wolfpack

    Why do media outlets always want to put down the South, but when it's time to eat they all want to act like they are the most truly authentic? For example, the Brooklyn transplant in the article; who does he think he is saying "Central Grocery or none!"? Dude, two weeks ago you were eating floppy pizza and riding the subway (not a streetcar)! Be proud of where you're from and enjoy the unique things that you have there (wherever it is). Don't try and co-opt someone else's culture that maybe you feel is more "authentic". And don't up and move somewhere and immediately pretend to be a native and get uppity about the local cuisine. That is just lame and a good way to win the Dousche of the Universe Award.

    February 17, 2011 at 12:26 am |
  12. kelly

    Peanut butter was invented by a black person.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Phil

      No, the Aztec Native Americans are credited for the discovery. What we know today is a modified recipe that George Washington Carver came up with, but not really "invented by".

      February 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Dwight Guy

      But a white guy actually invented the peanut.

      February 17, 2011 at 8:16 am |
      • White guy

        I bet you really have to work incredibly hard to be this stupid.

        February 17, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • Dwight Guy

      But a white guy actually invented the peanut.

      February 17, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  13. mika

    Phil is dumb as hell for saying that all black people is uneducated! u r uneducated 4 saying that. damn near everything u use today was invented by a black person dummy

    February 16, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • Phil

      Invented by white folks;

      Nuclear weapons (physics), television, telephones, lights, computers (electronics), cars, guns, airplanes (mechanical engineering), telescopes, lasers (optical engineering)...shall I go on?

      Invented by black folks;

      Rap music, break dancing, bad comedy shows...pretty much ends there.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
  14. Phil

    It's definitely "poor boy" – that's what it says on the sandwich. Saying "po boy" makes you sound like an uneducated black person...oh wait, they're all uneducated, never mind.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Lafayette

      You sound like a stuck up racist yankee who's never even tasted a po-boy in your life. A comment like that is offending every one of us from south Louisiana. You disgust me

      February 16, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
      • Phil

        Unfortunately I am not stuck up nor am I a Yankee. I am in fact, very intelligent but have zero tolerance for lazy people with a tendency to be racist at times, yes. However, statistics have shown year after year that blacks score lower on exams, have a higher unemployment rate, more susceptible to abuse narcotics and are a vast majority are criminal offenders serving a sentence in jail. Yes, there are plenty of lazy white folks, but we don't go around crying about racism when someone doesn't hire us, nor do we have a desire to be called something other than white. "African American" is just another term used to inflate something that isn't big to begin with. They aren't called "African American" in Australia, Germany or any other country, they're black. You don't call them "African Europeans" in Europe.

        February 16, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  15. well, i lost my appetite...

    you DO know that peaux is french for skin, right? either that's some kind of euphemism i've never heard or it's the most unappetizing sandwich ever.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  16. kimbly

    At my house, we pronounce po'boy as Parkway Bakery

    February 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • NIkChat74

      We spell it that way at my house, too!

      February 17, 2011 at 12:00 am |
  17. 12345

    "Po-boy" or "Po' boy"–the punctuation doesn't really matter (although, of course, it comes from "poor boy" because they made a "poor boy's lunch" by cutting open French bread and stuffing it with whatever was available. Spelling it "peaux boy" is just stupid. The only acceptable use of "eaux" in a word that actually isn't French and spelled that way is in "Geaux Tigers." Adding it to everything else that ends in "oh" just makes you look "seaux stupid."

    February 16, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  18. AleeD

    Getting to N.O. is in our immediate future.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  19. AleeD

    Is there anyplace in West Central Florida to get a descent po' boy? Getting to N.O.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  20. Walker

    I need me a po' boy from Bon Creole in New Iberia – best shrimp po' boys on the planet! It's like a little bit of heaven in your mouth.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Rebecca

      Born in New Iberia – agreed!

      February 17, 2011 at 8:58 am |
  21. bouvs

    Oyster po' boy at Felix's. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I have to note that the Acme and Felix menus both have it as Po-boy.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  22. meHomerJ

    My yankee freinds say poor boy and I don't even know what they are talking about. Its Po' boy all day long for me.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  23. shy

    To Ohio, I'm from Cleveland now living in Cali, boy do I miss the polish boy!!!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  24. kaydee

    WARMed muffaletta, from DiMartino's...never Central Grocery (they're just not good anymore!)!!! But don't leave it in the oven too long or the bread gets too toasted and that's a detractor.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  25. conradshull

    Soft shell crab po-boy. Boy-Oh-Boy that's good.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  26. j

    Such disappointing sandwiches. All it means is that it's served on a French-bread roll and there are only three bakeries in New Orleans that make genuine French-bread. Smear it with peanut butter and it's a peanut butter po-boy. You could have a kielbasa po-boy or even a dog poo po-boy.

    It's a good choice of bread, but to define a sandwich by it is silly. I would prefer that this was the kind of bread used on Lobster Rolls in the NE. Much better than hot-dog buns!

    February 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  27. snooks

    We usually say po-boy but all it is is meat, seafood, french fries w/roast beef gravy on french bread.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  28. Corvus1

    I don't care how it's spelled, just gimme one of the soft-shell crab ones. Mmm.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  29. Jeska

    PoBoy!

    By the way, the Southern Food & Beverage Museum has a great project to document New Orleans food - they call it a Po-Boy too – check it out: http://sofab.wikia.com/wiki/Po-Boy

    February 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  30. William

    This is how the etymology of the word was first explained to me:

    1) In France, a server's tip is included in the bill, but is is customary to round up to the nearest whole bill when paying, and this extra is called "pour boire" (literally, drinking money).
    2) In French-settled Louisiana, "pour boire" came to be slang for food that nuns and monks handed out to the poor.
    3) As sandwiches became popular, it became common for the nuns and monks to hand out sandwiches, the style of which became known as "pour boire."
    4) The word was Anglicized to "Po' Boy" when the area came under British control.

    Although I've heard several different stories, this one is my favorite because it seems similiar to the etymology of lagnaippe.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • dickyboy

      A very plausible explaniation... thanks for laying that out. For the record, "Pour Boire" literally means "For (the) Drinking", not "Drinking Money".

      February 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • kaydee

      Nope, that's not how the sandwich got it's name. During a labor strike (streetcar operators?), when one of the striking workers came into the bakery (or whatever food establishment), the owner would call out "Give that po' boy a sandwich!

      February 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Ole Sarge

      The actual origin of the name of the sandwich has more to do with a local sandwich shop taking pity on some local workers who had gone on strike and he made them french bread sandwiches with the cheapest and most plentiful type of meat around (of course what the meat was or what made up the sandwich is still debated today).
      These sandwiches were made for the "Poor boys" who were in need of a meal and had no money.
      It has nothing to do with any fanciful french name. It has been shortened over the years, mostly due to our wonderful crappy y'at dialect, to "Po' Boy". Occasionally you will hear some pompous foodie call it a Poor Boy, but the accepted name of this sandwich is Po' boy. While the name and origin will probably be debated, you cannot debate the absolute treasure of a sandwich this is!!! Awesome!
      I shall go get one now..It's calling me. Bye.

      February 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • William

      Again: it's my favorite explanation, not necessarily the correct one.

      I've also heard that it was traditional at bars to throw in a free sandwich with a first time customer's beer and that this became known as a "Poor Boy's lunch." Also, the story about the Martin brothers offering free sandwiches to striking steet car workers and referring to the strikers as "poor boys." The growth of the word from the French from the term for a tip appeals to me more.

      dickyboy, thanks for the clarification. Ich spreche keine französisch.

      February 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  31. chris

    Ohhhhhhhhh.....I miss the food!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  32. john clarke

    I think "peau" is French for the skin. Would "Peaux" be the plural form? I vote against Peaux Boy on that basis!

    February 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • noladebby

      Um no...it's a play on French. We say Geaux Tigers, Geaux Saints, etc. Get it? Come on now.

      February 16, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
      • T3chsupport

        We? Who's 'we'? The 'royal' 'we'? No we don't.

        February 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
      • Tori

        I personally think that we've taken that whole "eaux" thing a bit too far in Louisiana. It was cute and sorta cutting edge when it was Geaux Tigers, Geaux Saints, Geaux Cajuns, etc... but I've actually seen bumper stickers in Thibodaux that say "Preaux Life". Seriously? I've never seen anyone call it a Peaux Boy and to me, it looks stupid.

        February 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
  33. Scott Ertel

    When I have an oyster po'boy I prefer to say La Mediatrice.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  34. Caroline

    I don't care how you effin' spell it, say it or what ever, they are just good beyond all expectations. Damn, now I want one.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  35. junior

    I just say lets go get a Domilises

    February 16, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Ole Sarge

      Yes!!!! right now!!!!!

      February 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  36. Judy

    Peaux boy, seriously? Oyster PoBoy dressed with lots of Crystal, oh yeah!

    February 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • pete

      that's my favorite!

      February 16, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
      • river rat

        OH YEAH!!!!

        February 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  37. Ohio Boy

    Up north we have our own version of a Po' Boy. It's kielbasa or sausage, BBQ sauce, french fries and coleslaw served on a hoagie roll.

    Messy, but GOOOOOD!

    February 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Male Twilight Series Fan

      I llooooooooovvvveee the kielbasa and sausage.

      February 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • shy

      Polish boys rule!!!!

      February 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • noladebby

      Yuck!

      February 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  38. SeenThisB4

    It's a Ferti! dressed, with lots of debris!

    February 16, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Maggi

      Ferdi. :> Those are awesome!

      February 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  39. Sara

    Its po-boy. Some older businesses still have poor boy on the menu. But its always pronounced po-boy.

    February 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  40. The Witty One

    I believe that this question was directed at me people!!!

    It says "To Wit:" :)

    And I've never had one...so I will agree with the majority on this one.

    February 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • noladebby

      You never had one?? Wow, that's kinda sad.

      February 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • T3chsupport

      I've never had one, either. I don't know what makes it a po' boy, and not just a sammich.

      February 16, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
      • nolagurl1

        It's the amazing French bread. You need the right amount of humidity to get the consistency and flavor correct. Crunchy and flaky on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Mmmmm....

        February 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  41. Michael Jackson

    I don't care what the boy's name is.

    February 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Smokin' in NO

      LMAO! I know I shouldn't but it is funny in a perverse kind of way.

      February 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  42. NOLA Native

    It's spelled Poor Boy, pronounced Po' Boy, and never in my life have I ever seen Peaux Boy (If you spell it like that, you're trying too hard).

    February 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Nolabear

      Heard dat!

      February 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Of Course

      Your mighty right

      February 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Que'

      I mean dat!!!!!!

      February 16, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Walker

      If your saying Geaux Tigers....well now your onto something!

      February 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  43. Sweetenedtea

    It's an Economically Disadvantaged Young Man, aka Ec'di'Yo'Ma, and has been for decades.

    February 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Evil Grin

      You are teh awesome, Sweetenedtea.

      February 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Anson

      I'm sorry, but the correct term is
      Economically Disadvantaged, Age Challenged Person or E-Dis-AC-Per

      February 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  44. Jerv

    Mmmmm, a pot tart Po' boy!

    February 16, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • AleeD

      LOL! First you have one ......... then you crave the other. :)

      February 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
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