There’s nothing quite like discovering one of your favorite places to eat has shut their doors. I mean, we’ve probably all experienced arriving on a day that they happen to be closed for a holiday or simply as part of their normal schedule–that we failed to check, but closed? Forever? Forevah-evah? While not the worst thing to happen in the world, it can certainly throw you for a loop.
For me, that moment happened yesterday at DC’s New Orleans Po Boy Shop whose doors have apparently been closed since December. It was not a favorite place for me because of the food–which was excellent, or the location–which was close but not super close, and certainly not for the hours since they weren’t open on weekends. It was mostly a comfortable place that I would visit every time I had blood drawn for lab work related to my cancer.
Those were always “off” days for me, because I’m a very early riser and rarely ever get caught up in the hustle and bustle of DC commuting, especially above ground. While I could put in a few hours at home, LabCorp generally didn’t open until 8 and I often didn’t book an appointment until 8:30 or 9. So I’d be on packed bus, headed downtown, out of my element. Then I’d sign in and sit in a near-silent waiting room, sometimes there might be TV on, but very rarely did anyone speak to each other. Your name gets called, you take a seat, they take your blood, and that’s that. Though I was slightly amused at yesterday’s appointment because you rarely hear the sentence, “My name is Destiny and I’ll be your phlebotomist today.” But now, even though it weighs on my mind, I’m more or less a pro at it. In those early days, however…
Every single one of my visits to get blood drawn has been followed by a short walk up the street to the Po Boy Shop for breakfast. Usually an Andouille, Egg & Cheese Po Boy, and that andouille sausage was spicy! I joked that it was cauterizing my needle entry point. The owner was always friendly, and–unfortunately–the place was usually empty. But we’d talk about the best place to buy Asian food, old houses in the DC area, and most importantly why he wasn’t open on weekends: because his wife insisted that he also have a life.
The beignets, made from a Café du Monde mix, were perfect. And I realize that it’s supposed to be easy to make, but hard to get good beignets, but these really were perfect. I have tried the beignets at nearly any DC restaurant that offers them and have always been disappointed, with the sole exception of Bardia’s New Orleans Cafe which I rarely attend because it’s often crowded and a very tight space.
I fully cop to not going there often because I don’t work or live nearby, and my appointments at LabCorp–thankfully–get farther and farther apart. But I will miss sitting inside with a strong cup of coffee or sitting out in the sun with the wind blowing the powdered sugar from the beignets all over my clothes… and for just a little while, forgetting my troubles. Sometimes, a place can be your favorite for nothing more than the experiences you’ve had there. At the New Orleans Po Boy Shop, mine were carefree and I’ll really miss that place.