We awoke to a cloudy day with intermittent showers in our first morning in New Orleans. So I made coffee in our suite and hoped for the rain to stop long enough for us to walk about 7 blocks to the much hyped Turkey and the Wolf for lunch. After all we did need to get in some serious cardio to burn off the calories we would be consuming. As luck would have it the rain slowed to barely a drizzle; so with umbrella in hand we headed on our way. The lull in the heavy rain was just enough to tease us into thinking we wouldn’t get too wet. But just like in Florida it poured and stopped several times on our short trek to the restaurant. Obviously we didn’t melt.
Turkey and the Wolf is a new sandwich shop opened by Chef Mason Hereford and his partner Lauren Holten. Chef Hereford was the longtime chef de cuisine at another one of our favorite restaurants, Coquette, and describes the concept as “casual, sandwich-driven; no frills but still creative.” I think he has stayed true to his word. In fact the food is so good and so creative that Eater’s Bill Addison said that “New Orleans is a city famous for its sandwich culture, and Turkey and the Wolf has moved the needle in eccentric, irresistible new directions. Chef de cuisine at Turkey and the Wolf Colleen Quarls’s resume includes stints at local luminaries like Coquette and Donald Link’s Cochon. In her current position, she assembles dizzying combinations such as meatloaf on white bread bombarded with gravy mayo, pepper jelly, American cheese, dill pickles, and “shrettuce” (the restaurant’s signature portmanteau).” She was even a semi-finalist for the Eater Young Guns Award!
Turkey and the Wolf is a cozy (read tiny) little spot at the corner of Jackson and Laurel that even has a parking lot. Which is a real bonus because parking is such a premium in NOLA! The decor is quite kitschy with adorable sets of salt and pepper shakers on the tables. Something I guess I really noticed because I collect them. There are a few tables, an ordering station and a small bar. A blackboard gives you all of the menu options including interesting cocktails. But it was way too early for alcohol. Steve and I debated over several choices but went for the sandwich I had read about many times – Fried Bologna. I know. Weird. Right? We were handed a cute table marker with a cow on top so that the server would know where to deliver our order.
We were sharing so our sandwich came with an extra plate. A plate that took me back to my childhood and Sunday dinners at my grandparents home. It was not at all what you would expect and a luncheonette. It had a beautiful floral pattern in the center surrounded by a wide dusty rose border. And the flatware had turquoise handles. Everyone who knows me knows that turquoise is my favorite color. But that sandwich was the real star. The bologna is listed as Leighann’s Bologna. Since I never heard of it I asked about its origin. A friend whose last name is Leighann makes it for them and I must say it is really good. It was sliced pretty thin, fried in a pan and piled between two thickly cut slices of great artisanal white bread along with Via’s mom’s hot mustard, “shrettuce” (aka shredded lettuce), mayo, American cheese and freshly made potato chips. But that’s not all. The sandwich was then lovingly placed on the grill to toast the bread perfectly and melt the cheese. Now that is what a good sandwich is all about. Of course I had to mention to Steve that the sandwich was crunchified. A term coined by my favorite chef Bobby Flay to indicate that potato chips are in the sandwich. The sandwich was so good that we wanted more but restrained from ordering a second one to share. Instead we decided right then and there that we would come back for another round of Fried Bologna before we left New Orleans.
So on our second visit to Turkey and the Wolf, just a few days after the first visit, we indulged in our promise to ourselves to share another Fried Bologna Sandwich. But this time we added a Wedge Salad to also share. This was no run of the mill wedge. It was so huge that half of it was larger than a full plate at most restaurants! The salad starts off with at least an entire head of Iceberg lettuce which is then anointed with lots and lots of crisp, salty, meaty thick cut bacon. Then it its sprinkled generously with “everything bagel crunchy stuff” as described by the menu. On top of what is already a mountain of food on a plate fresh tomatoes, chunky blue cheese dressing and fresh dill complete this delectable dish. I could have easily made a meal of the salad alone, but then I would have missed out on another taste of their incredible Fried Bologna Sandwich.
I can’t wait for a return visit to New Orleans for another wonderful taste of anything Turkey and the Wolf has to offer!
Turkey and the Wolf
739 Jackson Avenue
New Orleans, LA