After being featured in a 36 Hours In New Orleans article in the New York Times, Rampart Food Store hardly qualifies as an undiscovered gem.
But that’s what it feels like.
It’s wonderfully shabby with hand written signs everywhere telling you what not to do: No smoking…No eating…No drinking…Do not sit…No hot foods with food stamps etc.
There are plenty rules at Rampart Food Store but thankfully they also have some (probably) unwritten laws in the kitchen; serve it up hot, serve it up fast, and make sure it’s cheap and plentiful.
I’m always on the lookout for new catfish sources in New Orleans. When I’m celebrating life in Louisiana, one of the ways I do it is by eating catfish.
Rampart has a good hand with fish. They’ve sourced what I always call the sweet meat. The catfish that is lily white with no gray stripe running through it. Probably farm raised as wild caught river catfish is getting hard to come by.
The shrimp is also good. It’s a slightly different take on the classic New Orleans corner store method in that it’s crusted with bread crumbs instead of corn meal. I don’t count them but there are probably 10 or so 40 counts on my po boy making it a mammoth meal for right at 6 bucks.
When ready, the nice Asian lady hands my package through the window and I make my way to pay. Another nice Asian girl looks up from a foot-thick textbook of neuroscience or some other such witchcraft long enough to take my money and thank me for my patronage.
As I step outside onto the sidewalk a deluge opens up so I make a run for it through sheets of rain til I find a stoop I can hunker down underneath. I take my feast there with thunderheads booming above. A glorious fried seafood dinner eaten al fresco in the Big Easy.
1700 N Rampart St