Continental Provisions in the French Market does not have the po boy appellation on its menu but when we stare good and hard at one of the sandwiches for sale in the cold case we see a po boy materialize on the Mississippi breeze.
This is our first cold cuts po boy in a series which will encompass 500 sandwiches culled from New Orleans quick marts, curb stores, food trucks, supermarkets and the occasional sit-down restaurant. All po boys.
Continental Provisions’ po boy is petite, Lilliputian even, but once we begin savaging it, it proves to be quite formidable. It’s titled “Salami & Brie – French Brie, hard salami and butter on a fresh Bellegarde baguette”.
Ahh Bellegarde, the man Francois Lemesle (1700s-era) was one of New Orleans early bakers and is feted in contemporary times by being the namesake for the concern owned by one Graison Gill, a man who has a bright future in poetry should he ever decide to step away from the flour and water game.
“As God gathered Adam as clay in His palm, He blew dust to life just as Adam blew grain to flour, and flour to life.”
You know this man takes his bread seriously. In fact, Gill is so serious that he mills his own grain for use in his breads. Perhaps one in a thousand bakers in the US is taking this crucial step toward making better loaves.
And you can taste the difference. The baguette enclosing the meat, cheese and butter is superb with a crackling crust and perfect crumb. We begin a discussion on what fillings would serve well in a Bellegarde loaf with fried baloney eventually being the settled on coup de grace.
With bread this good, the meat and cheese could be an afterthought but Continental Provisions focuses laser-like on all components of the sandwich; the brie (St James Cheese Company) is rich and buttery and the salami (what there is of it) robust with a fair amount of good fat.
Atmosphere is always fine at the French Market with plenty tourists, dockhands, drunks, floozies and troubadours strolling by the little cafe whilst we dine.
With a schmear of Dukes Mayonnaise, a skift of grainy mustard, a sour pickle spear and a bag of Utz chips this meal could’ve been one for the ages but Continental Provisions is an exercise in austerity. That’s not a bad thing. In New Orleans we love our excesses more than any other citizenry in the country so it’s nice to dine like a rural parson in France now and again.https://twitter.com/RLReevesJr
1100 N Peters St
New Orleans, LA