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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Oh Mother!

Thursday, July 22, 2010 @ 12:07 PM

mother's signSo can we officially say summer has flown by so far?  When we arrived in Indiana, I knew the next time I would get to see my parents was in August. Well, that went from feeling like forever to just two short weeks away; and with the amount of house “projects” we seem to have continuously going on (all my fault by the way :)) this summer has been kinda hectic…to say the least.  But such is life, and to be honest, it is not in my personality to just let things around here take care of themselves. So, I was destined to take on everything seemingly at once the minute we bought a house; and in all honesty, I have really been enjoying seeing the progress we are making and all the potential this place has. Plus, all I have to do when I get a little tired or frustrated is transport myself back to one of our many great vacations and reminisce, which is exactly what I’m doing this week. 

I’m assuming that many of you will or have taken at least one “trip” or vacation this summer, even if it was a small weekend getaway.  Summer seems to be that time when jobs can be a bit more relaxed, the weather is nice, and those trips seem a bit more possible. Well, Adam and I are no different (perhaps we even take more trips than most), and we like to plan a few trips each year, not usually long, but just long enough to escape, relax, and try some amazing food we’ve seen in pop culture.  I think a part of me has always had the travel bug (Adam definitely does!), so it is just one of those things we do whenever we can.  But enough rambling…let me get to the point I was trying to make. With all the traveling we do, since starting PCC we typically plan our trips around places that will give us and "blog worthy" dining spots.  So if you are traveling with us, be sure that we are going to eat our way through a city and have researched all of our possibilities thoroughly. 🙂

All of this brings me to this week’s feature restaurant on PCC.  You all know that the point of PCC is to find those places we have seen featured in pop culture and give an honest review.  So having planned our first trip to New Orleans 2 years ago, we knew a "must visit" spot was one we had just seen on Travel Channel’s "Man vs. Food" ‘New Orleans’ episode and had heard about from countless other sources. I’m referring, of course, to the the N’awlins landmark… Mother’s Restaurant.  You can see why we knew we had to go…

“Man vs. Food” [Video].  (2009).  Retrieved June 30, 2010, from“Man vs. Food” [Video].  (2009).  Retrieved June 30, 2010, from

“Man vs. Food” [Video].  (2009).  Retrieved July 22, 2010, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPeeIKWyQkI

If that video does not tempt you, I am not sure what will.  Mother’s is not any fancy new Po-boy shop that has recently sprung up and is getting lots of hype…no sir. They have been serving up great sandwiches since 1938, which I would say at this point makes them an institution.  Opened by Simon and Mary (Mother) Landry, people came from near and far (and still do) to get a taste of these simple yet delicious Po-boys, as well as their take on some of New Orleans’ favorites. In fact, so many people are coming to Mother’s that you can be guaranteed to wait in a hefty line each meal time; and since you’ve had time to think in that line, you best know what you want when you get to the front of that line, trust me…but we’ll get to that. 😉

Traditionally Mother’s was known for their ham. Later on, however, their roast beef began to gain a lot of notoriety for its juiciness and flavor; and it was these two simple meats that would later give birth to two of their most popular sandwiches…The "Ferdi Special" and "Debris Po-Boy."  The Ferdi was actually named after a regular customer who one day decided he wanted both the ham and beef together… thus the Ferdi was born.  The Debris was also a customer invention. You see, the roast beef is cooked and then sets in a gravy to stay moist and soak up all of the flavors of the seasoning. It is only cut right when you order that sandwich. Knowing this, the customer asked if he could have the little bits of meat that fell back into the gravy juices upon being cut, and the owner says to him, “You mean some of the debris?”  This was only the beginning my friends!

As I mentioned, we had already put Mother’s on our radar screen and trip itinerary before our first visit to New Orleans.  We knew it would be our lunch spot for our first full day, and let me tell you… it did not disappoint.  We made the 10-minute hike from the French Quarter and knew we must have been approaching it when we saw a line stretched down the block.  We quickly hopped in, perused a menu some women had printed, and decided on our order so we would be prepared, although it wasn’t much of a decision process. :)  Now the way it all works is that the line slowly works its way through the front door and to the counter where your order is placed, and you better be ready because the girls at the counter are not the most patient and they expect you to be ready. In other words, probably best to know what you want and not have any questions…could get a little hostile. After you order, by the time you have wrapped around to the cash register, your order is ready.  Someone will then seat you at an available table.  What is so deceiving about this place is it appears upon first glance to be very small. However, they have a large back room filled with tables, so there is plenty of room, although they are typically packed full. 

Anyway, after about an hour, we made it to the counter and Adam’s order was a no-brainer…debris Po-Boy, pure and simple. I mean old boy couldn’t shut-up about it prior, so there was no chance of anything else. 🙂 I, on the other hand, faltered slightly when seeing the large menu overhead, but in the end went with the same, including a small piece of their ham…after all, it is what they’re known for, and it’s on the friggin’ sign for cryin’ out loud! Had to do it, right? Also, we got a side of the sausage, because seeing it in the line it looked crazy good.

057 055 054056

A little confession…these pictures are all actually from our second visit to New Orleans a year later (this past May).  Although this past trip we didn’t eat there, they let me come in when they were closing so I could snap some shots since I didn’t take any on our first trip.  I did this so you can at least get a sense of this place, even though it was nowhere near as crowded as a typical lunch rush would be. 

But back to our story…after we were seated, we looked down at our mouth watering sandwich choices and dug right in.  What make these Po-boys so great is that though are simple and not a lot of fuss, they are dripping with wonderful flavor.  The debris is somewhat messy because they dip the whole thing, bread and all, into that gravy, but that is what makes it all the more delicious!

debris

Source

Unfortunately, the ham and sausage were nothing to write home (or too much in this blog ;)) about, but that didn’t matter much, because the Debris totally made up for it…worth every ooey-gooey bite if you ask me.  We were both so hungry it didn’t take us long to chow these down and enjoy every possible morsel, extra debris and all…and the fact that you just kept wanting more of that flavor helped.  So if you are looking for a top-notch sandwich and a place that serves up New Orleans history in a non-stuffy atmosphere, Mother’s is certainly the place that won’t disappoint.  So if you are traveling to New Orleans and want a po’ boy, Mother’s is your best bet!

053 058

SIGNATURE DISH: Although Mother’s Restaurant serves up a variety of New Orleans’ style fare, they are truly known for their signature ham and Po-boys, especially their Ferdi Special and the Debris.  These typical sub-type sandwiches are their staple and seem to be what is drawing in the crowd.

TASTE: You can say it is just a sub sandwich, but that wouldn’t come close to being accurate about the Debris Po-boy.  This ain’t no regular sub or even Po-boy for that matter.  The amount of flavor and seasoning they are able to infuse into the roast beef and gravy drippings is simply amazing!  And sometimes simple bread, condiments, and meat are all you need to be good; and in this case, they have mastered this art.  The debris was out of this world – melt in your mouth tender, and by soaking that bread, each bite just gave you a dose of that wonderful flavor. As for the other items, I can only speak to the ham and sausage…which I don’t think I’d order again on their own. 

AMBIANCE: They aren’t worried about fussiness or wowing you with their décor.  In fact, one might say that with the bright fluorescent lights, stark surroundings, and dingy floors, it borders on the feel of an old school cafeteria. But who cares…I think that’s part of the charm. You look around and this seems to bother no one. None of the hundreds that pack this place every day are here for a pretty/dainty place to eat some fancy chefs version of gourmet…rather they are here simply for delicious food and unpretentious surroundings.  So if you are in need of fancy diggs, this is not your kind of Big Easy joint.

PRICE: Here is where I have a little bone of contention with Mother’s. Their prices (I felt) were a bit steep.  With a debris Po-boy coming in at $10, I thought that was sort of expensive for what it is.  Now don’t get me wrong…it’s delicious and I would likely pay the price again, which is probably why they can have their prices where they do…people will pay for it.  However, I was just surprised given that we ordered our lunch was just over $40.  I guess that’s the Big Easy for ya…it’s expensive anywhere you go.

SERVICE: The line was a bit much, especially given all the places to eat in New Orleans. However, it was totally worth it, and we were treated nicely by everyone, even the servers behind the counters who are notoriously impatient when you order. Although we could tell they were trying to move us through quick, they were kind and helpful.  What can I say…they seem to run a real smooth ship and are able to get people in and out fairly quickly and without issue. Also, I was very impressed and thankful for how they allowed me to come in after hours and chat with everyone and take pictures. It was customer service at its finest, and top notch in my book.

Looking back, we should have probably eaten there again last May…seeing as how many of the meals we tried this last time didn’t quite live up to the hype. Oh well, that’s why I do this…to find out the real truth about these places and see if they are truly worthy. Mother’s Restaurant…worthy it was. 4 ‘Little Piggies.’

pig-icon pig-icon pig-icon pig-icon

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