New Orleans

I thought it was all about Bourbon Street and seafood. How silly of me.

Its about music, beautiful old buildings and courtyard cafes.

And vegetarian food. Oh, yes.

Here's our list of eateries in and around the French Quarter.

1. The Gumbo Shop. Right in the heart of French Quarter. They serve a vegetarian dish of the day (rice and beans) and a delicious green Gumbo Z'herbes.

2. Cafe du Monde. Cafe au lait (their signature chicory coffee with milk) and beignets, square french doughnuts, served with a heap of powdered sugar, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We tried the regular, iced and frozen versions of the coffee. All excellent. Their smaller riverwalk stand had better coffee than the main cafe in the French market.

3. Green Goddess. In a tiny alley in the French Quarter. Interesting drinks and a couple of delicious vegetarian options, including a Cuban collard greens sandwich and (egg-free!) sweet potato biscuits, served with lemon butter and hot pepper jelly.

4. Surrey's Cafe and Juice bar. Vegan friendly. We tried the tofu brunch platter, the roasted vegetable po'boy and the grilled portobello sandwich. All delicious.

5. Sukho Thai in Marigny. Spicy. Slow service, but completely worth the wait. BYOB.

6. Bayona. No vegetarian food on the menu now, but the chef will make you a dish to suit your food preferences. It was also the most expensive and underwhelming of the lot. We were served angel hair pasta with cauliflower, asparagus and tomatoes. The veggies and pasta were perfectly cooked, but the dish was smothered in olive oil, and insubstantial as an entree (Thank God for complimentary PBJ sandwiches at the hotel.) Excellent drinks.

7. Cafe Bamboo. On Esplanade close to the river. 95% vegetarian. We tried the sol chik'n dinner (soy chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies, cornbread), vindaloo curry and a triple rice sampler, with African mafe curry, Creole curry and red beans. I don't know if the soy chicken tastes like chicken, but it tastes darned good. Laid back atmosphere.

8. Central Grocerie, Decatur. Italian-style deli. Home of the muffuletta. They will make you a sandwich with olive salad and loads of provolone. One sandwich is more than enough for two people. There is a tiny counter inside, or you can take your sandwich to the park, or even to Cafe du Monde like we did. The server graciously let us eat our food with the iced cafe au laits, and its safe to say we were the envy of all the neighboring tables.

Vox won't let me upload any more pictures, but the one above is my favorite- the long wait outside Preservation hall for an evening of unforgettable music. If you don't go anywhere else, go there. Get in line between 7 and 7:15 and you have a fair chance of making it inside, maybe even getting a seat for the 8 pm show. Don't make a video of the band, don't use your flash, and buy the CD.


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About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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14 Responses to New Orleans

  1. M-----l says:

    Don't make a video of the band, don't use your flash, and buy the CD.Those are words to live by. I'd like to get them printed out on a t-shirt and wear it to concerts.

  2. I wish I had seen this post three years ago, when my vegetarian son went to New Orleans on a Habitat for Humanity trip. He grumbled that the "N'oleans" cuisine he encountered was mostly pork-based, with a lot of seafood thrown in to mitigate the taste of ham and sausage. Since he was traveling with a group, I suppose he didn't get much opportunity to try the alternatives in the French Quarter: but it sounds like you had a terrific trip and found plenty of vegetarian food while you were there. Bon temps!

  3. Purplesque says:

    I agree. The crowd managed to piss off the band leader by making videos despite his clear request not to. Have you ever seen anybody get angry while singing 'Its a wonderful world?' Its sad.

  4. Purplesque says:

    HG, that's partly why I wanted to do this post, so that some other frantic veggie googler can find this post before their NOLA trip. I imagine some of the options above did not exist three years ago- Cafe Bamboo opened two years ago, and Surrey's is a hidden 'local' treasure in a non-touristy area. The Gumbo Shop and Central Grocerie are New Orleans traditions, though I don't know how long they've been veg-friendly. Had there been nothing else in New Orleans, though, I would have happily lived on chicory coffee and beignets. (Not so poor husband, who does not eat eggs and had to settle for watching me stuff my face.)

  5. Aubrey says:

    Ha! The memories! I nearly got killed in New Orleans – and all because I dashed across Bourbon St., paying to attention to traffic (vehicular and human), and all because I heard a club playing Irish music. I survived, and it was a delicious time.
    I remember places #1 and #2. #1 served alligator which I was willing to try, but my girlfriend considered it a poor choice.
    Same trip, we met a waiter named Robbie Champagne. I think that's all that needs to be said here.
    So glad you had a good time, and one more thing:

  6. Great picture!! Looks and sounds like you had a great time!

  7. jaklumen says:

    Now, if only I could get funding for such a trip…I quite enjoy pork and seafood dishes, but I also quite like well-prepared veggie dishes… as you may recall.Have not got around to sprouting any beans but I will probably blog about it once I do. Your suggestion for black-eyed beans fits very well with the family's love of tortillas, and we will probably add some tahini we have on hand as well.

  8. So glad you had a great time and awesome food too!

  9. Emjay says:

    You've made me really hungry! 🙂 I had a trip in 2002 – loved it and have hankered to return ever since.

  10. Purplesque says:

    That is the perfect name for a New Orleans waiter. Ever. I'm really glad you survived the music induced almost death to be my neighbor. 🙂

  11. Purplesque says:

    Tortillas with sprouted black-eyed beans and tahini sounds absolutely delicious! I hope you get to go to New Orleans some day..its completely worth a visit.

  12. Purplesque says:

    Thank you! It was a great conference and vacation.

  13. Purplesque says:

    I hope you get to go back! I'd so love to go back to Cafe Du Monde..

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