Food Wars: Shrimp Poboys

by Mary Tutwiler

I'm not much into the over-the-top all-day-long food shows that run on the Food and Travel channels. You can only watch Anthony Bourdain bite into a baby lamb chop and throw down glass after glass of Rioja so many times before switching back to Monday Night Football, another endless season of excess. But this food throw down caught my attention.

The Travel Channel has a show dubbed "Food Wars," about age-old rivalries over who has the best local speciality. Hot dogs in Detroit, Philly cheese steaks in Philadelphia, and now shrimp poboys in New Orleans. We're talking about serious stuff here.

Mid-city's Parkway Bakery and Tavern has been getting a lot of press since Katrina, and lately when the venerable poboy shop stopped serving oysters after the BP oil spill. The poboys are an outstanding representation of the local fave. Uptown, Domilise's has been serving poboys for over a century. So beloved is the classic corner store that fathers bring their sons to be initiated into the long loaf ritual.

The poboy up for the honors is a classic fried shrimp sandwich, dressed. At the Parkway, that means lettuce, tomato, pickle, mayo. Domilise's ups the ante with your choice of add-on sauce, hot sauce is the way to go. I have to admit that I'm an uptown girl and Domilise's was my poboy go-to. Even with the lines that formed out the door, as seniors in high school with off-campus privileges, we had it timed so we could make it there, get our sandwiches and still make it back to our after-lunch class. (In a food coma, but in our seats.)

I'm a johnny-come-lately to the Parkway, mid-city was the other end of the world when I was growing up in the Crescent City, but I've made the treck lately and the shrimp poboys there are no slouch either.

So who's it going to be? If you'd like to weigh in before the show runs, be sure to comment on The Ind's website.

The "New Orleans Poboy War" episode runs on the Travel Channel at 9 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 15. (Note: I haven't been able to ascertain whether that 9 p.m. is Eastern or Central time, check your cable guide early, so you don't miss it by mistake.)