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Friday, March 7, 2008

Lunch Report: Podna's Catfish and Po'Boys...

A few weeks ago, I was reading some comments on the San Antonio City-Data forum about places to get catfish, and one nice person suggested a place on Austin Highway called Podna's. What else could I do with a day off from work besides drive over and try the place out?

Now you are probably thinking that I wanted to go for the catfish - and eventually I will, but the mission for today's visit was to try the Muffeletta sandwich. Just as I have been on a quest to find the better Reuben sandwiches, I have this distant memory of a muffeletta in the back of my mind, and I need to know where at a moments notice I can obtain one if the urge overcomes me.

By the way, I usually don't pass up on catfish, but this evening, we are going to Clear Springs where I will summarily gorge myself by shoveling a pound of fried catfish down my gullet and rinse it with some beer. Naturally, I'll have a full report on that, later.
From everything I understood about Podna's, it was some what of a dive - and I mean that in a good way. In San Antonio, we know that some of the best restaurants are the "hole in the wall" places with only enough room for a dozen or so patrons at any one sitting. So in my mind, I was not expecting anything fancy, and potentially, it could be crappy. My wife was only going to humor me so much. The real problem with this whole adventure was, Podna's is about 500 feet down the road from Earl Abel's and she would have easily allowed me to drop her off for some comfortable dining at EA's and let me go off Muffeletta hunting and come to pick her up when I was done. But, I prevailed and we went into Podna's.The place was packed. Granted - it was Friday so a lot of folks were there for the fish. When you go in, you order at the counter then you find a seat, and as we looked around, I was sort of worried that we might have to get it to go. But by the time we had paid, a few tables cleared up. As expected, I ordered half a muff and my wife opted for a Caesar's Salad. You have to accept that many restaurants have their own version of various dishes, and perhaps, this is the Cajun style of Casear Salad we had not experienced before. My wife joking asked if I would care to share her plate of lettuce. With the Earl Abel's sign visible out the window in the distance, she took a few bites and simply told me she was not impressed. The taste was of spicy Dijon mustard. And who knows, perhaps that is the Cajun way - I just don't know. But seriously, no croƻtons or anything - it was just some Romain lettuce mixed with Dijon mustard. But seriously, who goes to a place like this and orders a salad? I'm gonna have to assume that they just don't do a lot of these.A standard muffeletta is prepared on a big round piece of bread so two or even four people can share one. In this case, I ordered a half-muff and it was definitely more than enough to feed a fat guy like me.The bottom of the bread is covered with some sort of olive spread and then it contains ham and salami. The sandwich is then toasted making it a warm and delicious treat. I felt bad enjoying my sandwich so much while my wife picked at her salad and even offered her half, but other than to taste a little bit of it, she was not interested.

So, as if someone could sense that she was down, the waitress came over and handed us two servings of bread pudding and said they were compliments of Paul in the back. We looked back and a man was smiling and waving. The waitress then said to my wife, "You are Linda, right?" We just looked at one another and the lady just said, Oh well - enjoy the dessert.
My order of bread pudding was awesome! It was steaming hot with a scoop of ice cream melted around it (I assume it was ice cream) and I was enjoying it immensely. Somehow, it occurred to my wife as she poked at hers, that mine was hot and hers was cold. So, we couldn't really complain that the complimentary dessert intended for some lady named Linda was inconsistent. But if you do order it, definitely ask for the bread pudding to be heated up. Good stuff!

Oh, as we were leaving, Paul the guy who sent us the dessert came out and introduced himself and immediately my wife recognized him from high school, and he immediately remembered that her name wasn't Linda. Small world.

In the end, I was pretty pleased with my muffeletta. If in the area, I'll definitly give the catfish a shot. My wife will probably try something besides the salad if I can get her to come with, instead of leaving her off at Earl Abel's.

If you have had the catfish or something else from Podna's, I'd love to know how it was for you. Tell me about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eva says...

I have no problem going back to Podna's. All you have to do is leave me at Earl Abel's and I will be happy to eat at the counter by myself.The worst that could happen there is some 80 year old trying to pick me up.I guess you saw the longing looks over 1/2 a head of lettuce out the window at Earl's.
That's okay though Clear Springs more than made up for it. I went from an E-yuck lunch to an Ee-yummy dinner.This food mood swing is enough to make a gal dizzy.
Next stop....Who knows......

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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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