1/4 of a muffaletta - I ate two of themThe main reason I run is so I can eat more. Nowhere was this more apparent then in New Orleans. The moment my friends and I descended upon the French Quarter we began our 13.1 course meal of beignets at Cafe du Monde, Po’ Boys and bread pudding at Mother’s, and hurricanes wherever we could get them (after noon, of course). We told ourselves that we could eat all this because we’d be burning it off on race day. However, I think we’d have to run seven 1/2 marathons to cancel out all the gastro-delights that were readily available in NOLA.  

Our favorite dish was the muffaletta.  This Sicilian delight may not be what first comes to mind when you think of the cajun obsessed French Quarter, but it’s the sandwich I’ve dreamed about every lunchtime since. Invented in 1906 at Central Grocery Co. (923 Decatur St.), this handheld meal consists of thick Italian bread, salami, ham, provolone, and olive salad. It is too die for. And you actually will die of thirst unless you have at least two cold sodas available. Muffaletta’s are a tad on the salty-savory side.  

When I returned home to Las Vegas I went out on a quest to find an approximation of the muffaletta. The Jason’s deli franchise claims to have a decent muffaletta, backed up by a food network nod, but I was not impressed. I didn’t even finish mine. The cheese was melted, it had to many olives, it just wasn’t right. I longed to go back to Louisiana – just for lunch time.

However, a few days later at Nora’s, my favorite Las Vegas restaurant, I was sharing an antipasto salad with some friends and my taste buds immediatly went back to Central Grocery. Nora’s italian olive-provolone-salami salad is surely not a muffaletta, but reminiscent of  it. I guess the best dishes can’t be duplicated, but great food will always be around. And therefore, so will my running shoes.