Talk about serendipity…
Wandering into a busy Yaletown restaurant for lunch on a sunny Saturday, less than 24 hours after returning home from a glorious foodie inspired week in New Orleans…. and seeing (to my utter surprise) BC Oyster Po’ Boy on the menu!
Cue brain explosion: What?! Is this actually a thing I can find & enjoy in Vancouver?!
The New Orleans culinary adventure wasn’t over yet! So of course I stopped looking at anything else on the menu, because I knew exactly what I wanted to eat; a delicious Po’ Boy.
Wild Tale Lunch Menu
Wild Tale Drinks Menu
I ordered a Rosé from France without even realizing it was Rosé day. I’m all about the Rosé in Summer!
My Po’ Boy – served open face.
The Po’ Boy – A New Orleans Classic:
According to local legend, the term comes from the phrase ‘Poor Boys’.
Pronounced ‘Po’, in Louisiana’s southern dialect, and spelled alternately with an apostrophe or hyphen or without (Po’ Boy/ Po-Boy/ Po Boy), the sandwich was originally served to streetcar strikers, and later to the general working class of New Orleans, aka the ‘Poor Boys’ of the area.
Here’s a The Mind of a Chef YouTube video about the history of the sandwich.
These sandwiches are ubiquitous in New Orleans and NOLA residents are very passionate and opinionated on where you can find the best Po’ Boy in town.
Ask any local, and they will tell you, with fervor, where to find the best po-boy in town, from take-out corner stores to dive bars to sit-down eateries. Know that New Orleanians are prepared to passionately defend this position. Expect supporting details from the quantity of the meats, to the crispiness of the bread, to the value vs. price debate, to the atmosphere of the venue. Indeed, feelings can run so high that it’s almost dangerous to publish any list purporting to be the city’s best.
– Eater New Orleans
Me in three layers of clothing … after a week of 33* Celsius weather. Bit of an adjustment being back in Vancouver!
Frequency Illusion at Wild Tale?
Thomas and I don’t normally land at a restaurant haphazardly.
We tend to know exactly where we are going, after compromising on a mutually agreed upon location. I’m fussy and hate going to the same place too often. He has dietary restrictions and is all about the reviews.
Yet on this particular day I just wanted to find any sunny patio that looked nice, and get something (anything!) to eat from there. Basically, survival mode thinking when you are travel fatigued and need to eat.
I guided us towards Yaletown as it’s the closest and easiest for us, with row after row of patio options, and we ended up at a seafood restaurant called Wild Tale.
Now I’ve been to this restaurant before, but only for dinner, and we’d just missed the brunch menu at the time we arrived (after 2:30pm). So lunch menu it was, and coincidentally, the Po’ Boy is only available on the lunch menu.
Prior to this New Orleans trip I had no clue what a Po’ Boy was. So I wonder what I would have imagined it to be?? Perhaps an Asian inspired dish?
Would I have asked the server for details or glossed over the option entirely seeing as I’m not usually a fan of fried oysters? I’ll never know…
What I do know is that my eyes probably looked like saucers when they landed on the Po’ Boy option and I was all in! 🙂
My Po’ Boy – Top View (the coleslaw and cajun fries were pretty good too!)
Thomas’ Ahi Tuna – Top View (a classic healthy Vancouver dish)
Change the Bread!
All in all, very satisfying. I practically devoured it.
The only way the meal could be improved, in my humble ‘just-returned-from-the-birthplace-of-the-sandwich’ opinion, is if the Po’ Boy came in a bun a little more similar to New Orleans French Bread.
Obviously it can be a little hard to replicate a dish with the exact bread of the area, but here is the solution:
This article suggests Vietnamese Banh Mi style buns, since Vietnam also has that French influence in its cuisine. I’m sure there are plenty of Vietnamese bakeries that could supply this bread in Vancouver, and it would really elevate the dish.
Thomas’ Ahi Tuna (he enjoyed it!)
New Orleans Cuisine – Where to next?
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to visit The Big Easy this year.
Such a memorable experience!
Although I already knew I liked the cuisine from the area (I’ve made this dish for guests before and I’ve used Cajun seasoning since forever), actually visiting the place opened my eyes to lots of new foodie experiences, including some I just didn’t get around to, like Turtle Soup.
I’ll most definitely be returning to the city sometime in the future, hopefully sooner than later. Meanwhile, I’ll attempt to relive my NOLA experience by following a few recipes from my newest souvenir cookbook, visiting Vancouver’s original New Orleans inspired restaurant Ouisi Bistro, and last but not least, sharing some more posts about my trip on this blog.
More to come!