Muffulettas

One of my favorite places on planet Earth is New Orleans (followed closely by Galway, Ireland and Las Vegas, NV in case you were wondering). There’s nothing quite like taking the street car through the Garden District, or walking down Bourbon Street with a Jester Daquiri in hand (ingredients? Grain alcohol and lime juice) admiring the melting pot of cultures that created this extremely unique city. The other great thing about New Orleans? Muffulettas.

If you’ve never had one, Wiki’s here to explain it to you. A muffuletta from New Orleans Central Grocery is, maybe, the best sandwich on Earth. The way the cured meat mixes with the olive sauce and provolone and the unique flat-bread is just indescribable unless you’ve had one. Unfortunately, it’s rare to find a muffuleta outside of New Orleans.

Oh sure, you can land a po’ boy in just about any city on Earth. But finding a genuine muffuletta is something else entirely. Enter Hawthorne Blvd’s own Pasta Works (up near Powell’s). Pasta Works is a fantastic (albeit spendy) Italian deli with an equally fantastic meat, cheese, and olive section. Turns out they serve muffulettas. Do they stack up to the kind you get in N.O.? Almost.

The olives in my Pasta Work’s muffuletta were delicious, but the olive spread they use seems to be distinctly different and less olivey (is that a word?) than the ones I’ve had in N.O. Also, the bread is not quite the same. It’s a little too thick, and a bit different texturally. Otherwise, the sandwich is awesome. They’re a bit spendy ($6.50 for a half), but if you’re jonesing for a muffuletta, it’s a small, small price to pay.

3 Comments so far

  1. dieselboi (unregistered) on January 18th, 2008 @ 2:42 pm

    Ahh, the memories of my first and only Central Grocery muffuletta. I couldn’t finish it and tried!

    I had heard Pasta works makes them, but forgot – thanks for the reminder.

    When Roux (North Portland) had a side deli open for awhile they had a muffuletta on the menu which was pretty darn good. They may still offer it in the restaurant, just haven’t checked.


  2. Pete Best (unregistered) on January 18th, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

    As a former New Orleans resident I love me a muffeletta. Just had one at the Central Grocery about 6 weeks ago – so good. Thanks for the Pasta Works tip, I’ll be checking that out pretty soon.

    I really like Roux, but have not found their New Orleans style food to be very authentic. The problem most likely is that they have common sense and want to offer healthy food. They probably don’t use 5 times the USDA approved amount of butter in every dish, like every good restaurant in NOLA does. Check this out this post from my last trip: http://graffititable.blogspot.com/2007/12/special-new-orleans-condiment-quiz.html


  3. Kevin (unregistered) on January 18th, 2008 @ 3:28 pm

    Good info – thanks!

    $6.50 sounds like a lot for half a sandwich, so I’ll point out that a “whole” muffuletta is actually one whole loaf of bread and can feed four. A half-muff or a quarter-muff with some soup is plenty for a meal. (By the way, this is your cue to make jokes about “the size of your muff” or the ever-popular “what do you put in your muff?”.)

    As for the lack of olivey-ness…I wonder if Pasta Works uses top-quality olive oil in its salad, or a blend of oils. Some places have attempted to skimp on the oil, or use a blend, in order to save money. I’m not saying that’s the case with PW, but it really makes a difference in the taste.



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