Muffuletta is a large Sicilian sesame loaf made popular by Italian immigrants to New Orleans. The sandwich originated at Central Grocery in New Orleans and is a wonderful combination of said loaf plus loads of marinated olive salad, capicola, mortadella, salami, pepperoni, ham, Swiss cheese, and provolone (I know, sodium overload. What are you gonna do.). Now this olive salad is the magic to this sandwich. Otherwise it's just any other Sicilian! It's an addictive mixture of olives, celery, cauliflower, carrots, sweet peppers, onions, capers, parsley, pepperoncini, oregano, garlic, vinegar, herbs and spices. Reading about it definitely does not justify it, so if I were you, I'd go look for a jar or even one of those bad boys myself.
Anyways, when I was down in New Orleans, we went to the famous Johnny's Po-Boys for some po-boy sandwiches. The origin of po-boys are not clear, but when I was at New Orleans' Southern Food and Beverage Museum, there was a story that involved streetcar strikers receiving free baguette sandwiches. Because of this, they became known as poor boys, and the name eventually passed down to the meat with gravy or fried seafood sandwiches we now know of today.
Johnny's has been around the French Quarter since 1950 and are known for their sandwiches. I ordered a fried shrimp po-boy and muffaletta to share with my mom and brother. To be honest, the po-boy was a bit dry for me (will definitely get the roast beef with gravy next time) and the sub too crispy, but I still can't stop thinking about the muffaletta. The fragrant sesame bread with the layers of Italian meats and cheeses were perfectly balanced by the flavorful tart olive salad.
All I can say is that I will try a few places in Manhattan, but I really need to get back to New Orleans (currently wearing my previously stated purchased Hornets t-shirt).
|Inside Johnny's Po-boys Restaurant|
|Johnny's fried shrimp po-boy|
|The amazing muffaletta|
|On the balcony of Johnny's after enjoying some sandwiches and pralines|
511 St. Louis Street
New Orleans, LA 70130