Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 136: Can There Be a Po'Boy Diet?


Po'boy from R&O's. [Photograph: Carey Jones]


Fried Chicken

Digging into the cluckin' awesome world of our favorite fried food.

All the serious eaters at World HQs are engaged in a headlong, month-long dash to finish researching and writing the Serious Eats book. That means traveling around the country on Jet Blue All You Can Jet Passes, doing a lot of sunup-to-sundown-eating when and wherever we arrive, and then coming back and writing.

We're headed all over the country for the book, but I feel compelled to tell you about our day in New Orleans on Tuesday, not because I'm looking for excuses, but just so you'll know what I am up against in my Serious Diet.

We landed in New Orleans at 9 a.m. and were picked up by my friend and fellow food writer Pableaux Johnson, who had the misfortune to publish a wonderful book called Eating New Orleans the month before Hurricane Katrina stuck. We had a very specific eating agenda in New Orleans that day: to fully explore New Orleans' po'boy culture. Which means we ended up eating 23 sandwiches on Tuesday.

Pableaux was an amazing tour guide. Yes, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of New Orleans food, but what we all appreciated even more was his ability to put New Orleans food in a larger context. We learned so much about the city that day, everything from the architecture to the school system to how each neighborhood was affected by Katrina.

Anyway, we ate a lot of seriously delicious po' boys from the following places: Zimmer's Seafood, Dooky Chase's, Tracey's (formerly Parasol's), Domilise's, Mahoney's, and R&O's.

What was our amuse for the day? Beignets and frozen cafe au lait from Morning Call in Metairie. Oh yeah, we also had amazing fried chicken.

We're going to tell you more about our adventure on the site and in the book, but today I just want to say, I don't think I over-ate on this po-boy-filled day. I managed to just take one or two bites of everything. Well, I did eat every last bite of meat and crispy skin off a perfectly fried drumstick. But I never hit that uncomfortably full wall that I've come to dread ever since embarking on this serious diet.

I used to wear that sickly full feeling as a badge of honor. No more. Thank God.


I didn't weigh in the morning after our New Orleans excursion, but I did manage to screw up the courage to weigh in the following morning (Thursday) and it wasn't disastrous. Of course I did go out to my brother's house for a sumptuous Jewish New Year's feast, but even there I was really careful, which has not always been the case.

So I'm feeling reasonably hopeful at this moment. Here goes: 221. I survived the po' boy gauntlet.

This book stuff is not going to be easy, but with the support of serious eaters everywhere, I think I'll be all right. Stay tuned.