Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm off to see the MUFFULETTA Store, the Wonderful Muffuletta Store of New Orleans

Check out my post from last week...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I am Eating a MUFFULETTA Today thanks to -

My dear blogging buddy, Katherine from the SMOKEY MOUNTAIN CAFE blog wrote a marvelous guest post on the sandwich and the origins of this uniquely NEW ORLEANS treat! Today, I want to talk a little about my Muff experience, and a lot about blogdom...

OK, if you have not read Katherine's post, please take a second and drop on over. She gives you an easy to follow recipe to recreate the sandwich if you don't have the good fortune to visit N'Awlins. Thanks to being pre-armed with Katherine's information...

Here's what I did...

It was a bright beautiful day in the Big Easy. My wife and I made the journey to the edge of the French Quarter, 923 Decatur Street (across the street from an open air street market, which is the site of the very first farmer's market in the nation... but I digress). This is the home of the Central Grocery Company. It is an incredible old world store. I imagine the look has not changed in 50 years. And that is it's charm. Hey, in researching this post, look what I found... CENTRAL GROCERY has it's own wikipedia listing (click HERE). I have visited New Orleans many many times, but thanks to Katherine, this was my first time in this marvelous land of Muff...

A place out of time that I hope never changes. The history of the sandwich ties into the history of the city. Many immigrating Sicilians ate this sandwich while doing the delivery grunt work that made the city run. It is truly a locally created New Orleans product, available in a storefront that created it and for the most part has not changed in decades. this is living history.

My first Muffuletta sandwich was bought several trip back. I have gotten them for lunch when I was seated with tablecloths and silverware on the table. Central grocery has a few community tables, and the back is lined with a wonderful old counter top and stools.

But no service... pony up to the counter, order a whole or a half (anyone who can eat a whole is just showing off). They come cut in quarters.

We were incredibly blessed with perfect weather. Highs everyday we were there were in the upper 70's, low humidity and blue skys (only rained for a few hours one evening, out of 5 days!). Much as I was tempted to eat at the counter, we chose to take our sandwich and take the short three block walk to Jackson Square.

And dig in...
Here's our view as we ate...

And the verdict... Everything I love about New Orleans. The smallest thing has an incredible history. Dig a little deeper and that history comes alive. Dig just a little under that and you find a part of living history. Imagine, in a city filled with the sauces of the French and the spices of the Spanish, a creation for the hard working Italian immigrants still exists in it's original form today.

Everyone knows about Cafe Du Monde and Beignets. In their place, wonderful. But the Cafe has changed over the years to accommodate tourist expectations. Central Grocery and their Muffuletta has not changed in 50 years. Here's hoping it never does.

And oh yeah, Central Grocery is just a short walk to Jackson Square, and Jackson Square is just a short walk to...

Pat O'Briens, home of the hurricane drink (named for the glass, not the big wind)... and they make a mean Sazarac as well. So, a uniquely New Orleans lunch, a picnic, drinks and a little jazz... sounds like a good afternoon to me!

So, here's what I want to say to wrap up my tale of Muffs...

Bloggers - what an amazing bunch. I learn everyday things I didn't know the day before. I am comparatively new to blogdom, only 4 months. But in that time, I have met some wonderful people. Always willing to share, always positive and always wanting the best for others. Katherine, willing to share her knowledge led me on a wonderful journey for the afternoon. It sounds like such a simple thing, just a sandwich review, but this was my best afternoon of my vacation. Lots of history, lots of fun... but I also got to have a picnic with my wife. I LOVED every bit of this day. had I not met Katherine, got to know her back story and had she not volunteered to help, I would have had a pleasant enough Muffuletta sandwich at your basic boilerplate tablecloth and silverware lunch place. I have done this several times, and enjoyed it each time. But, because I blog, because bloggers share, I had a perfect afternoon.

So, next time you are going away... let us all know where... Maybe we can direct you to something unexpected... something wonderful.

Thanks Katherine, and do me a favor... Return to Katherine's site, take a look around and thank her for me...

SMOKEY MOUNTAIN CAFE she is worth getting to know!


  1. I've always wanted to visit New Orleans. It looks and sounds like you had a great time and the market sounds like a must see... and eat! :D

  2. I already frequent Katherine's place and yes, her blog is WONDERFUL! I've never been to New Orleans, but I have been pretty close in Biloxi and Gulf Port before the hurricane and the history and beauty was amazing! I enjoyed the tour and history lesson. Great post.

  3. Dave, I am so glad you enjoyed your muffaletta and your picnic in Jackson Square. The smells of the fresh fruit and veggies from the French Market and the sound of the clopping of the mules and buggies while having lunch must have been really nice. Did you buy any of their olive salad?

  4. Beautifully written post. I so need a muffuletta sandwich.

  5. The only place I've had a muffuletta is at Central Grocery. Fabulous little place. I appreciate the picture, because I couldn't remember what the bread looked like. Fabulous Post, well written.

  6. "my first time in this marvelous land of Muff."

    Walking away. Nope. Must resist....smart....commment

    Looks like a great place. Katherine is a great food blogger, she's given Alexis two of her favorite new recipes this year.

  7. I want one of everything you have shown us here! I can't wait to visit the Big Easy and enjoy all that she has to offer. Thanks!

  8. Epic post, Dave; fitting for an epic sandwich!

  9. I am so envious!!!! I love New Orleans...it just feels like home to me. My oldest son went summer 08 to a choral festival and they sang in that cathedral! He felt the same way about NO that I did. Isn't it the best and you went to all my fave places!

  10. Like Chris, my thughts were nah cant be first time you ate muff.. but I will stop my dirty thoughts.

    Katherine is a true gem.

    Id love one of those Hurricane drinks, OK 2.

  11. Great post Dave! Learning something new everyday on your blog!
    I love what you said about letting fellow bloggers know next time we are going away! I'll do that next time!
    Oh, and I was wondering if they put enough powdered sugar on your Beignet?
    *Tis the Spooky season*

  12. What a lovely post! It's always a pleasure to visit here.

  13. I'm jealous! What a wonderful place New Orleans is. Thank you for the lovely tour. I'm glad you had a great time. And yes, the fellowship of bloggers is something I truly embrace ;)

  14. I had my first muffuletta in N.O. MMMMMMMM...so good. And what a great photo montage. I love it there.

    Your posts are also so positive and upbeat. Love it.

  15. We were setting up a trip there the year Katrina knocked them flat... still hope to go some day!

  16. Fabulous! So true about blogdom! My husband and I are headed to NYC for our anniversary. Christine from Fresh, Local and Best has already given me some killer local places to eat while in NYC.
    I learn something new everyday too. Like you, I have only been blogging for a few months and I just love it! I look forward to it, everyday.
    Thanks for taking all your foodie friends to New Orleans!

  17. I've never been to New Orleans, but your post is making me think of going south for a weekend festival of eating.

  18. I'm so drooling over your muffuletta and the beignets. Yum! Wonderful photos and post, Dave! It great you had nice weather while you were there.