In the way a good challenge can amplify a competitor's character, the approach planned by the restaurants and vendors participating in the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival is to do what they do best and put it all on a loaf of French bread.
At the festival, attendees can try a Greek eggplant salad po-boy from Mondo, where chef Susan Spicer's affinity for Mediterranean cuisine is always in evidence. The barbecue-centric Fat Hen Grocery's entry is the "Big Texan po-boy," which is essentially a barbecue plate of brisket, smoked sausage and coleslaw turned into a sandwich. The upscale seafood destination GW Fins serves its fried lobster po-boy with remoulade, a sensation that has previously attracted the longest lines and the most fanatic response at the event.
The festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, and there are more than 40 vendors representing restaurants and caterers from around town and another dozen representing businesses along Oak Street's commercial corridor. This latter category ranges from the wine bar Oak and the chef-led burger spot Cowbell. The Japanese-inspired po-boys from Ninja are always a standout.
Some new eye-catchers this year include a seafood stuffed artichoke po-boy from Seither's Seafood in Harahan and Palace Cafe's "poutine-boy," combining the old-school French fry po-boy with famously messy Quebecois-style gravy cheese fries.
Festival admission is free. VIP wristbands are available for $100 each, which promises a parking spot, access to a VIP area with open bar, snacks and restrooms, and the option to use (presumably shorter) VIP lines at participating vendors. Visit www.poboyfest.com for details.