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Posts Tagged ‘Muffaletta Sandwich’

Fiorellas Cafe Review – New Orleans, LA


Fiorellas Cafe ReviewOnce upon a time there was a good and decent family that owned and operated a local favorite restaurant near the French Market for many, many years, until finally the time came for them to take it easy and they sold the establishment.

But like many people who create something with passion for a living, after a period, they missed it and made a family decision to start all over again, and opened Fiorella’s Cafe in the Gentilly neighborhood of the city.

As the old establishment was known for its exemplary take on fried chicken, so is the new eatery, winning the New Orleans Fried Chicken Festival two years in a row.

The simple neighborhood cafe serves all of Southern Louisiana’s favorites:  fried seafood, po boys, Italian specialties, along with daily specials.

All dishes are very fairly priced for the neighborhood, not to extract as many tourist dollars as possible.

The food is exemplary. This is possibly the best fried shrimp I’ve ever had anywhere, crispy fry batter, flavorful Gulf shrimp. The muffaletta is a good one, too many “legendary” places make them in advance, and refrigerate them, and they lose their luster, IMHO.  This sandwich moves into being one of my top two in the city.

The chicken lives up to its rep. Nice crust, perfectly fried, juicy on the inside, not greasy.  Fresh cut fries, done and seasoned perfectly.

Really, I finished this meal and I wanted to tell Chef that his/her food was art.  It exemplifies one of the passions of New Orleans, simple fare, prepared well, with love as one of the ingredients.  It’s easy to identify places like this – all the employees are smiling all the time.

I wish the family all the success in the world.  They deserve it.

Menu is here and below.

Fiorellas Cafe Review

Half muffaletta. Perfect.

Fiorellas Cafe Review

Fried shrimp basket with fresh cut fries

Fiorellas Cafe Review

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Fiorellas Cafe Review
Fiorella's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Fiorellas Cafe Review

Fiorellas Cafe Review



Muffaletta Sandwich Review


Muffaletta Central GroceryOriginated by immigrants in New Orleans, the muffaletta is a large sandwich on a round loaf, with salami, mortadella, ham, mozzarella, and olive salad.

Tho the recipe for the ‘salad’ can vary, it is generally made up of diced olives, celery, cauliflower, carrots, oregano and garlic, marinaded in olive oil.

It was designed to be a “full meal” working man’s lunch.

By any account I’ve ever heard or read, the  sandwich originated at Central Grocery, which is still in business, and still peddling the sandwiches to long lines of tourists in the French Market area.  They are sold in halves (around $9.00) and whole (around $18.00).  A quarter of a sandwich is an ample enough serving for most folks. Central is also a great place to buy imported Italian foodstuffs.

Locals all have their favorites at different locations around town, with many votes going to the ones at the Napoleon House in the Quarter.  Some think the sandwich should be served warm, some say cold.  There are also different ways to spell it.

I’ve enjoyed them all over the city, and personally, I like the ones at Cooter Brown’s, a college bar at the end of the St. Charles streetcar line. Cooter’s has 400 different beers in bottles, and 40 on tap, plus some of the least expensive oysters in town.  I’ve included their full food menu here.  Cooter’s is strictly self-serve, at the bar, for oysters, and food.  No servers.

The reason I like the Cooter’s muff is they are more generous than most with the fillings, and their olive salad is more “olive-y.”

Last week, I had a half at Central Grocery, and a half at Cooters.  Both were delicious!  (I got the fries at Cooters – in many parts of the country, this style is called “cottage fries).”

Cooter Browns Muffaletta
Central Grocery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Muffaletta Sandwich Review


Portland, OR – Bunk Bar Review


Bunk Bar is an offshoot of the wildly popular Bunk, noted Portland sandwich purveyor, which specializes in a short list of awesome sandwiches.  We were actually meeting for dinner around the corner at Boke Bowl, an impressive start-up that serves mash-up variations of ramen and a few other Asian dishes. Boke was closing early, so we ordered take-out there, and I zipped around the corner to get a to-go sandwich from Bunk.

The muffaletta, a New Orleans invention, came about as a result of the proprietor of a local establishment called Central Grocery, improvised on the small plate he was serving local Italian farmers a hundred years ago.  The farmers, selling their produce at the local market, would stop by Central and order a little Italian meat, cheese, and bread.  Salvatore Lupo, proprietor, decided to put the meats and cheese, with some olive salad (diced olives and vegetables, oregano, garlic), on a 9″ round loaf for convenience sake.  A legend was born.

So I order Bunk’s version, which is pretty close to spot on, with the exception of the roll (generally not available outside of New Orleans).  Bunk used (it appeared to me) a hearty version of a French boule, which was, to me, a pleasing choice.

A full muffaletta in New Orleans is generally too much for one diner, and at Bunk, the same would be true.  Their sandwich is approximately 1/4 of a loaf, and at $8, is worthy of recognition from visitors from the Crescent City.

I’d be wanting to try Bunk for some time, and thanks to Boke closing early on the day we were going out, I’ve found a new favorite place.  Can’t wait to try some of their other sandwiches.

Bunk Bar Portland Oregon

Bunk Bar on Urbanspoon


Portland, OR – O’Connor’s (Multnomah Village)



O’Connors has been around for 75 years, in some form, fashion, or location. The current incarnation is in cute and quirky Multnomah Village, a neighborhood strip of chops and cafes not far from our domicile.

It was late afternoon and Mrs. BDB and I were feeling a might peckish, but were not predisposed for any particular item or cuisine. I don’t think she had eaten yet that day, and my entire sustenance was comprised of a bevy of Vietnamese foods provided at the open house of our local nail salon. That was good, but not wanting to seem particularly piggish, I demurred in my selections of those delicacies.

After some discussion about our possibilities, we headed out to nearby Multnomah Village, parked the car, and headed to O’Connor’s. As it was early, it wasn’t busy, and we chose a booth away from the bar and televised football matches, and perused the menu, which offers a variety of bar food, Mexican, Louisianan, and regional American dishes.

We agreed on Louisiana BBQ’ed shrimp for a starter, one of our favorites (it is not BBQ’ed at all, but Beefeaterpan-broiled in butter, olive oil, and herbs), and my better 2/3rds went for the Beefeater’s Special Sandwich (Marinated sirloin, grilled rare, served on sourdough with jalapeño jack cheese, red onion and roasted chiles) with hush puppies on the side, and I opted for a traditional New Orleans sandwich, the Muffaletta (pronounced by those in the know as MOOF-a-LOTT-A).

The shrimp were tasty, but very hard to peel. There’s a solution to that, which I would pass on to you here, but I have forgotten it. Oops. Mrs. BDB pronounced her sandwich a success, the serving was ample, she offered me a bite, I thought the meat was similar to pot roast, but the flavor was great.

My muff was quite a variation on the original recipe, which was invented around 1900 in New Orleans. The original recipe calls for a 9″ round loaf of Italian bread, with layers of capicola, salami, mortadella, emmentaler, and provolone, and smeared with olive salad, which is a marinaded blend of olives, cauliflower, celery and carrots.

O’Connor’s version is a chopped pepper and olive salad layered with smoked ham, salami, jalapeño jack and cheddar cheese on a baguette. The baguette was grilled beforehand, and then perhaps put into a panini press to melt all the gooey cheesy goodness together.

Being as Mrs. BDB thinks her husband is the persnickety type and a purist, she wondered aloud whether I was dissatisfied with the sandwich, but I wasn’t, it was tasty in its own right. But then, when isn’t ham, salami, and cheese good? The olive salad was more than fine, not sure if it’s a purchased variety or made in the house. The hand cut fries were reminiscent of In N Out, and were very good, I ate more of them than I should have.

If you want to purchase authentic olive salad, there’s a fairly good one on CajunGrocer. Occasionally you will find a vendor that offers Muffaletta bread, or even sandwiches online, I’ve tried those and not been satisfied. (Maybe, I AM persnickety!)

I have heard about other Muffalettas in Portland, which I have not tried. This one, although not “authentic”, more than satisfied my craving. Being as it’s 5:15 on a Sunday morning, and I’m feeling a might peckish again, I am delighted I brought home half of the muff! To the Bat-refrigerator, BDB!

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O'Connors on Urbanspoon


Oconners Portland

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