I feel as though my day has been suffused with green: green in my food, green in my restaurant selection, green in my wanderings around uptown NOLA. And I suppose that’s a good thing: what reader of CR doesn’t appreciate a whole lot of green?
Before I get to all that, let’s talk about the one part of my day that didn’t involve green stuff: breakfast. I woke up, and upon waking I attacked this beauty, situated conveniently in Chloe’s guest room:
Mmmmm, what a beauty. I’ve always felt that home exercise equipment is the ultimate luxury—worth it in every way—and I swear that it’s the first “treat” I’ll buy myself when I shake off some of the med school debt.
Next came a tranquil breakfast in Chloe’s sunny dining room. I whipped up a tasty smoothie of banana, frozen blueberries, Vega Sport vanilla protein powder, and Justin’s almond butter. It was delicious!
So too was the holiday blend coffee Chloe dug up in her fridge (she, unlike me, isn’t a coffee drinker).
A few hours of work later, Chloe came home and met me for a surprise lunch on the town. I’ve been hearing great things about Green Goddess in the French Quarter, and so has Chloe, but I’d assumed this trip would be too rushed for me to get downtown for a visit. As it turns out, today was a perfect day to check the place out, so check it out we did! Any excuse to wander around the Quarter on a beautiful day is a good excuse.
I was immediately impressed with Green Goddess’s eclectic, artsy vibe and the relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. We were also thrilled with all of the outdoor seating, given the sunshine and balmy temperatures down here. What I wasn’t as thrilled about was the dearth of vegan options on the menu—contrary to what I expected, it was fairly omni-specific. A few dishes were labeled as vegetarian, and lots of them were easy to veganize with a few special requests, but I suppose I was expecting (perhaps totally unfairly) a more vegan dining experience.
My beautiful bestie, studying the menu:
My momentary frustration with the lack of vegan emphasis was, however, mitigated by Green Goddess’s fantastic food. The flavors and presentation were (even during a busy lunch hour) flawless, and the staff was incredibly knowledgeable about what was vegan and what wasn’t (which in and of itself made my experience positive). And I was charmed, big time, by the pots of teeming Swiss chard and parsley outside the restaurant!
Chloe and I both started our meals with the sweet potato soup, which could either be vegan on its own, or omni with the addition with boudin sausage. I went vegan, and she went omni, but we were both thrilled with the taste:
It was sweet, a little tart (I think I detected some ripe yellow tomatoes in there), and perfectly spicy. It was also heavy on the onions, which would typically bother me, but really didn’t this time. I also suspect there was a touch of coconut milk in it for creaminess, which worked really well.
For my second course, I got the “winter salad,” which was roast butternut squash, fingerling potatoes, onion, and summer squash over arugula with Annie’s goddess dressing on the side. Given this list of foolproof ingredients, it’s hardly surprising that the salad was a winner, but I did stop to appreciate how perfectly seasoned the veggies were:
Chloe got a vegetarian Cuban sandwich, which she really loved (I think a cashew cheese version of that dish would be amazing!):
And Knud went with a boudin stuffed yellow heirloom tomato, then a grilled shrimp over a salad of arugula, fennel, avocado, and mixed veggies.
Everything we ordered was fresh, tasty, and local. In spite of the varying tastes at the table, we all loved our meal.
After lunch, it was uptown for a quick coffee with my friend Mike, whom I haven’t seen in over a year! It was so good to catch up. For a med student in the midst of studying for his board exams, he was upbeat, talkative, and full of inspiring tales of the road ahead of me:
(Mike: “Does this mean I’m going to be on the interwebs?” Me: “Well now that you’ve asked, you definitely are.”)
The learning curve of my post-bacc program has been steep indeed, and I can’t say that I haven’t often stopped to reevaluate what I’m doing. I remain committed, but the path hasn’t been without self-doubt. Talking to Mike about my future goals in medicine and hearing his take on the med school experience was super motivating and inspiring—a reminder of why I’m doing what I’m doing, and of the value of this work. And I was very grateful for his feedback, and glad we’ll be able to support each other through the whole experience. Here’s to future M.D.s!
On my way back to Chloe’s place, I stopped to admire the beauty of uptown New Orleanian flora, which was glimmering in the late afternoon sun:
I am so very fond of this city!
Once back home, I had to cuddle up with the netbook for some CR-related work, while Chloe planted some fresh herbs. A little later, it was time for a relaxed dinner at home. We threw together a giant salad of mesclun, cukes, tomatoes, avocado, and zucchini. I was in charge of that part of the meal: word has it I’m pretty good at chopping
I tend to smile when I prep raw veggies. Just can’t help it:
Chloe and Knud paired that dinner with poached eggs and wild rice. I ate mine along with my leftover raw mashed potatoes, and some quinoa I made for the group last night: a quick mix of quinoa, salt, pepper, lemon, a touch of dijon mustard, and thyme. All of it was delicious:
And the trees above us were a lovely canopy for the meal:
In all, a great New Orleans day and night. Good company, good food, good weather, and now, as we sit round the silent fireplace (and Chloe and Knud attempt to ignore the rudeness of my blogging), good conversation.
Tomorrow, I’ll be back with more travel, more local color, and a special restaurant post. Night guys.