New Orleans Getaway: Po Boys, Gators and Crawfish - Oh My!
It was another early start to the day when we woke up Saturday morning. We decided to have a quick breakfast at a local coffee shop then set out for more exploring within the French Quarter before our swamp tour. We headed down to Jackson Square, walking all the way down to the New Orleans Jazz Museum, as we browsed the local shops. After all that walking, we’d worked up an appetite. There were still a few remaining items on our NOLA checklist, so we decided that lunch would be the perfect time to cross off “eat po’boys.”
A po’boy (or po-boy) is a traditional Louisiana sandwich. The name “po’boy” comes from the inexpensive sandwiches sold in the 1920s to streetcar drivers on strike. These sandwiches, made for “poor boys,” have now become a staple to area cuisine, showcased on a number of menus.
While the original po’boy comes with roast beef and gravy, there is now a variety of po’boy options to order. Whether you love meat or seafood, you’ll have your pick of what goes in your sandwich along with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo and pickles.
There’s no shortage of restaurants to order a po’boy from in New Orleans. We thought it was most appropriate to get ours from NOLA Poboys on Bourbon Street. NOLA Poboys not only serves the original roast beef po’boy, but also almost 50 other variations.
On the chalkboards with their menu, NOLA Poboys issues a warning to all diners: “All our fried food is spicy.” Keeping this warning in mind, we proceeded to each order one of the fried seafood po’boys. Katie chose the fried crawfish po’boy Yankee-style (mild spice), while Elyse and I selected the fried oyster and fried catfish po’boys. The po’boys were cut in half, so we divided one half into another half to share with each other.
These simple sandwiches pack a punch thanks to the spice on the fried seafood. The addition of shredded lettuce, tomato and a pickle for acidity helped cool our mouths. NOLA Poboys doesn’t skimp on the protein when it comes to these over-stuffed po’boys. However, the bits of fried seafood that fell out of our sandwiches did not go uneaten.
NOLA Poboys is located at 908 Bourbon St., New Orleans,
After lunch, we headed back to the hotel to order our Lyft ride to Westwego, Louisiana to get up close and personal with some alligators. A tour through a Louisiana swamp is a must-do for every tourist. We booked our tour through Ultimate Swamp Adventures. They’re the closest swamp tour to New Orleans, making it an easy and much faster trip from our hotel room. While the tour company did offer hotel pick up, it ended up being cheaper for us to take a Lyft.
Our captain navigated the waters of Bayou Segnette for the almost two-hour tour. Our captain, a native of Westwego and true Cajun, explained a bit about the area and its wildlife. The tour started rather calm and a bit dull before marshmallows began hitting the water. Apparently, marshmallows are gator bait. It didn’t take long before alligators, small and large, swam up to our boat. Sadly, our captain wasn’t able to catch any of the gators to bring on the boat, so it ended up being a fairly tame swamp tour.
Ultimate Swamp Adventures is located at 450 Laroussini St., Westwego.
After exploring the bayou, we wanted to keep the Cajun theme going into dinner. It doesn’t get more Cajun than a crawfish boil.
Pier 424 Seafood Market
We headed to Pier 424 Seafood Market for traditional crawfish boil. The fresh seafood market was the perfect environment to cool down from the heat and enjoy a hearty meal. We each started with a cup of the sweet corn and crab bisque before diving into our crawfish.
Two pounds of crawfish, accompanied by andouille sausage, corn and red potatoes, arrived at our table. The sounds of Bourbon Street performers filled the dining room, creatng the perfect soundtrack as we popped the heads off of countless crawfish. Pier 424 cooks their crawfish in a signature boil that offers a quintessential Louisiana heat. It took no time for us to get into a rhythm while getting the meat out of the crawfish tails. I almost forgot how much work, for little return, eating crawfish was. Messy, with our hands smelling like red pepper and paprika, we were able to check something else off our to-do list.
Pier 424 Seafood Market is located at 424 Bourbon St., New Orleans.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the night out. I was especially excited because it was the night before my birthday. More on that in the next post.