Tag Archives: sandwich

La Lucha: The art of the Sandwich in Lima

peruWe are back from the culinary wonderland that is Peru, and what impressed us the most was the obsession Peruvians – especially Limeños – have for quality food, from the corner sandwich shop to the finest dining. So we started our adventure on the humble street corner with one of the many Limeño food obsessions, the sandwich. In Lima the classic sandwich is the chicharrón – fried pork, sweet potato slices and onions on a bun – and sandwich shops serving this variety and many others are on every corner. In our hunt for sandwiches in Lima, one name that kept popping up was La Lucha, a much-hyped sandwich place with locations throughout Lima (we visited one of the locations near Parque Kennedy in the Miraflores neighborhood – Av. Diagonal 308).

LaLucha Ext La Lucha does a wide variety of “criollo” sandwiches, including the famous chicharrón. Other options included roast chicken, roast turkey (surprising!), roast pork, tuna, jamón Serrano, country ham and steak, cheese and avocado (between 6.8 and 17.3 soles). We ordered a roast chicken, since that is one of our favorite Peruvian staples (and you will see rotisserie chicken places everywhere!) and a classic chicharrón. The La Lucha location we visited was a walk up counter where you placed your order and paid at the counter, and later received your food at your table. La Lucha was packed with hungry students from the nearby university even at the early hour of 5:30 PM (much too early for a Peruvian dinner!), and the vibe was lively and colorful.LaLucha

Not long after ordering we received crusty rolls piled high with juicy roast chicken and cracking pork and sweet potato. They definitely didn’t skimp on the fillings! Though the sandwiches were delicious, what may have been the real star of the show were the fries made from the celebrated huayro potatoes, which were skin-on, crispy and piping hot. These were some of the best fries we have ever had, which makes sense given that potatoes are originally from the Andes. Plus, the fries came with all manner of dipping sauces (mayo, tartar sauce, olive, aji pepper, etc). La Lucha is also an excellent place to dip your toe into more unique Peruvian fruits including aguaymanto (similar to a ground cherry) and granadilla (similar to passion fruit) through a variety of juices and smoothies. If you are thirsty you can also get chicha, pisco or coffee. But most impressively, none of these sandwiches cost over $5 US! If we lived in Lima we would come here all the time. La Lucha is the perfect place for a quick, delicious meal, and to get a taste of what real Limeños eat on a daily basis. It’ a delicious introduction to Peru!

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The Best Po’Boy in New Orleans: Parkway Bakery and Tavern

Parkway Bakery and Tavern
538 Hagan Ave.
New Orleans, LA

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It’s been nearly two years since we first became obsessed with New Orleans’ quintessential local sandwich, the Po’Boy. Though we had heard of them before coming to Louisiana, and they are available at a few Southern spots in Chicago, our first real experience with Po’Boys in NOLA was in November 2011 at the Oak Street Po’Boy festival. That day we tried a bunch of different sandwiches, but our Po’Boy from Parkway Bakery and Tavern was among our favorite samples. We think of the festival as a pretty formative experience, and we even had a paper Parkway Bakery hat we kept as a souvenir. Though we won’t make it back to the Fest again this year, we were lucky enough to spend a day in New Orleans on our Louisiana tour, and made it a priority to seek out Parkway’s on-site offerings, widely claimed to be the best and city, produced in a restaurant and which claims to be the place where the Po’Boy sandwich originated

A Po’Boy sandwich (short for Poor Boy) consists of a particular type of French roll, with a crusty exterior and soft interior, filled (traditionally) with fried fish or seafood (we are partial to fried shrimp) and “dressed” with mayo, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. As we learned at the Po’Boy fest, the term really encompasses a wide range of sandwiches, and the filling could truly be anything you have a taste for. Parkway in Mid City, is (thankfully) far off the tourist track, though it is certainly a popular place with locals from all walks of life. When you walk into Parkway Tavern you are first greeted by an unassuming bar and a handful of tall table. However, you can either order at the bar or at the walk-up counter and then wait for a place at a communal table either indoors or outdoors.

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Parkway has a pretty extensive menu of Po’Boys, including fried shrimp, fried oyster, fried catfish, fried sweet potato (for the vegetarians among us), BBQ beef, and many more. There are non-Po’Boy options available, but we question both the sanity and taste level of those who order them. Wanting to be traditionalists on this day, we opted for the classic fried shrimp Po’Boy while M’s dad went eclectic and got a “Surf ‘N Turf,” a combo of shrimp and roast beef, considered a Parkway specialty and client favorite. We placed our order and the counter and waited patiently for our name to be called. A few minutes (which seemed like an eternity) later we were delivered our picture-perfect Po’Boys – see proof below.

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The Parkway Po’Boy is truly a thing of beauty. The key to a good Po’Boy is the combination of ingredients on the crusty bread, and at Parkway, everything seemed to work in perfect harmony. The chefs care as well: even given the very high output, this was our first experience with the men behind the counter carefully double-checking our order to make sure they got everything right. And did they: the shrimp we freshly fried (turnover would seem to guarantee that), the portion was more than generous, and the toppings balanced the sandwich perfectly. We all opted for the “regular” size Po’Boys, which was more than enough: though it may be possible for a single person to finish a “large,” we wouldn’t recommend it. If you are extra-hungry there are Zapp’s potato chips and a few desserts, too. If we lived in New Orleans we know this would be one of our favorite spots. Though we always have more places to try, we can’t help but agree with the locals: The Best Po’Boys in NOLA in an unpretentious, local spot for a great price. We’ll have to make the pilgrimage every year.

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