Digging In: At a Vietnamese deli, banh mi for bigger appetites _lowres

Advocate photo by Ian McNulty - Banh mi from Eat Well Food Mart in New Orleans.


Banh Mi Po-Boy

Eat Well Food Mart

2700 Canal St.

(504) 821-7730

Banh mi come in as many varieties as the makers of these popular Vietnamese sandwiches can dream up. Generally, however, they come in only one size — the standard short pistolette, which will sometimes leave larger appetites wanting. So it was a nice surprise to discover a full po-boy-size version of the banh mi ($7.95) at the deli of this Mid-City corner store, where other Vietnamese staples (spring rolls, iced coffee) share the menu with yaka mein and fried seafood plates.

The loaves, from Terrytown’s traditional Vietnamese Hi-Do Bakery, have the accustomed crunch and airy crumb, but they’re considerably longer. Eat Well fills them generously with red-edged barbecue pork, crumbled meatballs and Vietnamese ham, along with cucumber, carrots and plenty of hot peppers.


Smoked Mississippi Rabbit

The Pelican Club

312 Exchange Place

(504) 523-1504; pelicanclub.com

Few restaurants embrace reveillon like the Pelican Club, which reconfigures nearly its entire menu for the holiday-themed prix fixe dinner program each December. There are many options at each course, but this rabbit appetizer ($12.50 when ordered a la carte) merits extra attention, if for no other reason than its ability to make foie gras seem rustic. Slick, fat cubes of the goose liver shimmy between hunks of smoked rabbit and slivers of shitake mushroom in a thick Marsala sauce imbued with bits of country ham. A bed of cheese grits brings it all back down to earth.


Chocolate Beignets

New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Co.

3005 Veterans Blvd., Metairie

(504) 644-4130

4141 St. Charles Ave.

(504) 247-9755; nocbc.com

As more purveyors of beignets appear around town, some have sought to put their own stamp on the classic New Orleans treat. That includes the chocolate beignet (single $1.25, order of three $2.95) found at this pair of cafe/bake shop concepts from the New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co. brand. The texture is familiar and the dough is thoroughly flavored with chocolate, not just iced or filled, for an effect like a beignet crossed with a brownie.

Ian McNulty’s on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA