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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Parkway Thanksgiving po-boy vs. Trader Joe's 'Turkey Gobbler Wrap'

Posted By on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 4:17 PM

click to enlarge You, sir, are no Parkway Thanksgiving po-boy.
  • You, sir, are no Parkway Thanksgiving po-boy.

Next week brings the annual return of Parkway Bakery and Tavern's Thanksgiving po-boy — roasted turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce on a Leidenheimer loaf — which is a dish for which people line up each Wednesday in November until it disappears again. It's pretty good. (And this year, as Ian McNulty reports in The New Orleans Advocate, you can skip the line with a $100 donation to charity.)

It seems Trader Joe's is trying to get in on the Thanksgiving-sandwich action with something called a "Turkey Gobbler Wrap" — turkey, dressing, cranberries and cream cheese in a wheat wrap. It was one of the few foods at TJ's this month that wasn't pumpkin spice-flavored, so I thought it might be worth a try.
First, let's take a look at a Parkway Thanksgiving po-boy from years past. Like most po-boys, it's beautiful on the outside, not so much on the inside:

click to enlarge Parkway Bakery & Tavern's Thanksgiving po-boy.
  • Parkway Bakery & Tavern's Thanksgiving po-boy.

OK, not so pretty, but at least you can make out both light and dark chunks of freshly roasted turkey meat, along with cornbread dressing and a bit of fresh cranberry sauce. You may not want to have it more than once (it's pretty messy, but not any more than a roast beef debris po-boy), but there's no denying this is the taste of Thanksgiving wrapped up to go.

Compare to the Trader Joe's version:

click to enlarge Trader Joe's "Turkey Gobbler Wrap." Oh, hell, no.
  • Trader Joe's "Turkey Gobbler Wrap." Oh, hell, no.
Hello, quality control at Trader Joe's? We need to talk. This was a stale, unpleasantly chewy wrap encasing what looked like turkey salad, or the kind of turkey salad a mama bird might feed her baby. ("Turkey" came well down the sandwich's ingredient list, well below "salt," "dehydrated chicken" and "vegetable mix.") There was no discernable taste of stuffing whatsoever, and a whiff of what smelled like it could have been a cranberry Jolly Rancher. The turkey mixture itself was reminiscent of that in those overly creamy wrap sandwiches you get at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport when you are going to have a long flight — but not nearly as tasty. Even by grab-and-go sandwich standards, this one was nasty.

Despite its small size (10 ounces), I couldn't finish it, which was good because this dinky wrap somehow had 34 grams of carbohydrates (!) and 22 percent of the recommended daily allowance of salt. The calorie count attempted the old "servings per container" switcheroo with 290 calories and "two servings," which came to just under 600 calories for a 10-oz. sandwich.

The verdict: Parkway, you have nothing to worry about. Trader Joe's: do better.

Location Details Parkway Bakery & Tavern
538 Hagan Ave.
Mid-City
New Orleans, LA
(504) 482-3047
Neighborhood, Sandwiches & Po-boys and Bar

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