On our recent trip to Louisiana we had the good fortune to be taken to two of Shreveport's more unique family owned restaurants. Our first night found us at Big O's A Taste With Class.
Odis and Drenette Johnson, along with their children, opened Big O's just one year ago and have already become the talk of the town. Their menu combines the best of Southern cooking and Soul Food specialties served with a friendly family smile.
Sue had the Catfish Platter with Hush Puppies, Fries and Corn Bread. Big O's Famous Louisiana Homemade Tarter Sauce was a perfect accompaniment for her dinner. "Big O"
said the recipe for this fantastic condiment came to him in a dream. It is the best tartar sauce I've ever tasted and there was no way I could talk him out of the recipe.
I chose the Thursday night special, Barbequed Baby Back Ribs, with green beans, yellow rice, purple hulled peas (black eyed peas to us Yankees) and hot water corn bread. I also ordered a small portion of Big O's Southern Style Beans with smoked sausage and rice.
I told Mr. Johnson that I had only one complaint "I like to gnaw on the bones of barbequed ribs and his ribs were so tender that they literally fell off the bone" I tried to pick up a rib by the bone and all I got was the bone. We all got a laugh out that one.
Dessert was Chocolate Cake or Apple Pie with Caramel Ice Cream. These homemade specialties, along with a cup of fresh brewed coffee made us feel right at home.
Big O's is located at 1327 Captain Shreve Drive, Shreveport, LA 71105. Their phone # is 318-828-2271. Their web site is www.bigosatastewithclass.com
The next day's lunch found us at A National Historic Landmark, Fertitta's Italian Deli, "The Home of the Muffy", a patented sandwich.
Fertitta's started out as a neighborhood Italian grocery store. Papa Fertitta's regular customers always asked him to fix them his favorite sandwich, a version of a New Orleans muffaletto. The Muffy contains slice ham, bologna, turkey, three cheeses, mustard and a house special olive mix. This huge round sandwich is then toasted to perfection. A bag of chips and a cold beer, or better yet, Italian mint iced tea and your day is bound to get better!
Over the years this sandwich has become a Shreveport legend and is truly a must have meal in Shreveport. A Muffy is more than enough for two people and if you are not too hungry, perhaps four.
Agatha McCall, Papa Fertitta's only daughter, and her husband continue the historic tradition in the grocery's original location. The interior is truly a step back in time with oiled wood floors, vintage photographs and advertising along with an old butchers scale and cutting board. Tables are set with red and white oilcloth table clothes and a roll of paper towels in a large olive can and the obligatory salt and peppershaker. I suggest you plan an extra half hour or so to enjoy the ambience of this National landmark.
If you can't make it to Shreveport you can order fresh frozen Muffys sent to your door from Fertittas web site. www.papafertitta.com. You can also read more about the history of this great restaurant, view photos and get the recipe for a Muffy and many other great Italian dishes at their website. If you want to order by phone call toll free 866-293-5032. Fertitta's Muffys would be a great addition to your Holiday party.