Louisiana Pizza Kitchen Friday, Sep 3 2010 

This report is upcoming tomorrowish


Special Feature: Gene’s Po-Boys Thursday, Sep 2 2010 

Today is Take-Out Thursday!

There must be several hundred places where you can stop and get a po-boy in New Orleans. Almost every other corner has a gas station or corner store hawking fried chicken, po boys and/or Chinese food. Some of them are good, some of them are terrible, and some are just missing one thing or another.

Gene’s falls into the last catagory. Gene’s Po boys has been located in a somewhat wretched looking bright pink building on the corner of St. Claude and Elysian Fields Ave for as long as I can remember, although it did take a little while for them to get back in business after the storm. The inside of the building is just as sorry looking as the outside. There is literally no decor at all. The only things in the room are a questionable looking counter, beyond which you can see the short order kitchen, an ice machine, and a soda fountain. Oh, and I almost forgot the required video poker machines, which are located behind a “wall” so as to separate the gambling area from the rest of the room. This allows minors inside. This is decidedly NOT a pretty place–there isn’t a single table in the place, only a window ledge to perch on while you wait.

This afternoon there were three people working at Gene’s: one woman at the counter, who looked grumpy until the construction workers waiting started joking around with her. (And me and everyone else who walked in . . .) There were two short order cooks working the flat top. One of the things Gene’s earns bonus points for is the people who come in for food; everyone is friendly and the atmosphere is indicative of the surrounding community. Everyone asked the cashier how her mama was. Four guys were talking about the upcoming Saints preseason game against the Titans. Three out of four of them were wearing Saints garb.

Gene’s claim to fame is that you get a free soft drink with every po boy order. (Just in case you were wondering Gene’s serves fountain Pepsi products.) The menu is only 8 items long. Two of those items are only available at breakkfast and two others are slight variations on other menu items. Breakfast at Gene’s is either hot sausage, egg and cheese or ham, egg and cheese. Both of these items sell for $6.50. Breakfast is available until 10:30.

Lunch and dinner provide 6 options: Ham, Roastbeef, Philly Beef, Hamburger with grilled onion and gravy, Hamburger with lettuce and pickles (ketchup and mustard), and Hot Sausage (with or without cheese on most of these folks).

Gene’s has definite ideas about how their po boys should come–they specifically tell you what comes on them on the menu squares posted on the well. I decided to let them have their way and just ordered my hot sausage with cheese. ( I was getting ready for my fantasy football draft–hot sausage seemed appropriate and roast beef is usually too messy to eat at the computer.) I also ordered a roast beef, no mayo, for someone else at home. I have zero input on the roast beef because I was busy preparing my draft order and had my headphones on.

Gene’s has one HUGE thing going for it—the bread! Gene’s does not use the ubiquitous Leidenheimer po boy bread. Instead you find a much crustier French bread being used here. It really makes a difference. I much prefer this version to the softer that you find everywhere else! It crumbles slightly as you bite into it and adds a nice crunch!

I discovered two things on consumption of this sandwich: hot sausage does not ever need american cheese on top of it–it was just too much and hot sausage really does need pickles, but Gene’s doesn’t come with them. (Pickles do come on the roast beef.) The sausage itself was pretty standard, not super high quality, but that’s what you find in every single one of these joints. It was spicy enough, but not enough to require Tums. It was a pretty decent sandwich. The other thing I have to note is the size . . . it’s a pretty big sandwich. I only ate half and put the other half away for dinner. I think its larger than 12 inches. That makes it a pretty good value for $6.50. I ate my sandwich about 7 minutes after I picked it up and it was still temperature hot enough to burn the top of my mouth! (That’s a good thing people!)

Oh just a little itty bitty warning: Gene’s is not in the best neighborhood–many of my favorite counters aren’t. Its fine during the day, but be careful at night. There are almost always people hanging around outside–there’s a bus stop on the corner. Gene’s does have a small parking lot on the side of the building. There is also a bar attached to the building.

Will I be back? Probably, it’s right around the corner. Does Gene’s make the top 10 list–a decided no. Just the teeny tiny menu is enough to keep it off that list. However, if you are in the neighborhood and need something to go, it’s not a bad option! Just make sure you ask for pickles on your hot sausage!

Getting Motivated Thursday, Sep 2 2010 

It isn’t that I haven’t been eating . . . I’ve just developed a need to get some more motivation to write. I’ve got several restaurants to review–so I’m going to put myself on a feature schedule. My goal is to get you three reviews a week, whenever I’ve got restaurants that meet the requirements. I’m going to start with a Monday, Wednesday, Friday format.

Monday will either be a breakfast blog or a special feature on a bar. This is an either or because I rarely get up for breakfast, but frequently visit bars–I’ll be highlighting both hotel bars and local establishments in the French Quarter and surrounding areas. Other special features might include special food, wine, or cocktail events, whether I’m going or just as information for my readers.

Wednesday will feature lunch. You can expect to see reviews of diners, plate lunch joints, po boy shops and places that close at 3pm in this catagory. I’ve got a couple of these floating around in my head already!

Friday, of course will be dinner. I’ll also try and fill in with special events going on during the weekend coming including shows, music picks and sporting events!

Its now Thursday so I’ll get going with my new format starting tomorrow!

As a teaser you can expect to see, in the next couple of weeks: The Pelican Club gets 5 stars . . . do they really deserve it? Oh wonderful wine parings at Le Meritage! Yes the President called them “shrimps” . . . lunch at the Parkway, Look what I found in St. Bernard, and Did you think Festival Season was almost over?

I’m also more than happy to take suggestions for blog topics and would love to hear your feedback!