In terms of expanding your waistline in preparation for Thanksgiving, nothing says stretch, damn you like the Oak Street Po Boy Festival, returning for its seventh year this coming Sunday, November 24, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Arrive early or prepare to glom body to body in a herd of 50,000+ ravenous fried shrimp seekers, shuffling down Oak Street at a hangover's pace. Come lunch time it's not just crowded or busy, it's like a performance art piece called Claustrophobia In Motion. That being said, the festival does offer some extremely tasty po' boys and other fess food and booze (Bloody Marys are especially necessary). And this year the event stretches down Oak Street between Carrollton Avenue and Leake Avenue with new expansions from Leonidas to Plum Street.
Here now, Eater offers a guide to Oak Street Po Boy Festival guides, and more importantly, 10 po' boys you don't want to miss this Sunday. You can also head to the official website for any pressing questions you may have about the FREE event.
Po' Boys Not To Be Missed
· Foodie Call, Porchetta Po-Boy: This year there will be a "food truck village" on Leonidas Street with La Cocinita, Frencheeze, and Food Drunk all on hand with po boys and more. This year's Vendy Award winner for Best Food Truck in New Orleans, Foodie Call, will serve a sinful-sounding version with porchetta.
· GW Fins, Fried Maine Lobster Po-Boy: Eater recommends you get there extremely early to try this Po Boy Fest favorite, because the line gets insanely long, which can mean an hour+ wait time.
· Mahony's, Duck BLT Po-Boy: The Irish Channel po boy shop has undergone some changes in teh past year, but their obviously keeping up their tradition of ass-kicking with this duck BLT, one of the more innovative options this year.
· McClure's, Smoked Brisket Cheese Steak Po-Boy: Uptown's pitmaster wonderboy Neil McClure will bring his signature smoked brisket to Oak Street in the form on a cheese steak. Po Boys don't get much better than that.
· New Orleans Hog Dogs/ The Chocolate Devil, Bacon Fried Hot Dog Po-Boy: It's a hot dog fried in bacon fat. You will have to be some kind of hungover to eat the whole thing.
· Seither's Seafood, Seafood au Gratin Po-Boy: This Harahan hub is a favorite for crawfish, and is sure to please the masses with their creamy seafood po' boy on a cold day.
· Slow Food NOLA, Chaurice & Kim Chi Slow-Boy: Slow Foods is pairing up with Cleaver & Co. to serve all local pasture meats at the event, with bread provided by Bellegarde Bakery.
· Vaucresson Sausage, Creole Hot Sausage Po-Boy/Creole Crawfish Sausage Po-Boy: If you're going to try a hot sausage po' boy out here, get it from Vaucresson, a family that's been making sausage and doing festivals around New Orleans for a long time.
· Wayfare, Portuguese Man O' War Po-Boy: Chef Kevin White's housemade chorizo meets a salted cod brandade cake (a fish cake) in this most unusual and inspired po boy from the creative sandwich shop on Freret.
· Breads on Oak, Wild Mushroom Bourguignon Po-Boy: If you're a vegetarian or vegan, Breads on Oak is the place to check out. They're known for vegan friendly pates and sandwiches, and this wild mushroom rendition is certain not to disappoint.
Oak Street Po Boy Festival Guides
· Offbeat has a full list of vendors, so you can choose your own adventure, po' boy slayer. And you can find the vendors with this helpful map.
· The Advocate also offers Where to find fest favorites year round, in case, you know, you're deathly afraid of crowds, and won't be making it out.
· Ian McNulty of The Advocate has a look at innovative and "modern" po' boys that have been a staple of the fest since its first year.
· Chris Waddington of The Times-Pic suggests you "take public transit or ride your bike to the Po-Boy Fest, which provides a corral for two-wheelers at the corner of Plum Street and Carrollton Avenue." Also, the Children's Village will again be set up at St. Andrews Episcopal School, 8012 Oak St. If you bring a stroller, at least you have a way to part the crowds.
· Scott Gold previews the festival for the Gambit, including the music line up which includesLos Po-Boy-Citos, Rebirth Brass Band, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, Alexis and the Samurai and more.
· Robert Peyton on the "Poor Boys" to be had: "The custom at Renaissance Publishing, which hosts and publishes this blog, is to refer to the iconic New Orleans sandwich as a poor boy. Accuracy, however, dictates that I identify the festival that takes place this Sunday, Nov. 24, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. as the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival." Enough said.
· Watch a video from WWLTV on the newest changes to the fess, featuring festival founder Hank Staples and Mahony's chef Jason Sanders.
· Listen to Ian McNulty's coverage of modern po boys in honor of the fess, courtesy of WWNO radio.
· There's a new stage inside The Maple Leaf this year, as reported by The Vinyl District.
· All Oak Street Po Boy Festival Coverage [-ENOLA-]