Goddess of Green

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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:

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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!

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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.

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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.

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My beautiful bestie, studying the menu:

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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!

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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:

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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:

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Chloe got a vegetarian Cuban sandwich, which she really loved (I think a cashew cheese version of that dish would be amazing!):

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And Knud went with a boudin stuffed yellow heirloom tomato, then a grilled shrimp over a salad of arugula, fennel, avocado, and mixed veggies.

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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:

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(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:

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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 Winking smile

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I tend to smile when I prep raw veggies. Just can’t help it:

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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:

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And the trees above us were a lovely canopy for the meal:

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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.

xo

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    25 Comments
  1. What a fun trip!! I have never been to New Orleans but it sounds/looks amazing.

    You are GORGEOUS with that wavy hair! Ahhh, I LOVE it. I just read your most recent post (before I read this one), and it’s funny that you say you prefer having straight hair because I just had a convo about this with a curly-haired friend today. She HATES her curly hair & goes to great lengths to straighten it everyday, whereas I have stick straight (*ahem* boring) hair that won’t hold curl no matter how hard I try. I’m so envious of my wavy haired friends. It’s so funny that so many of us ladies want what we can’t have. 😉

    ANYWAY – you’re too cute.

  2. I went to Green Goddess a few weeks ago on my first trip to NOLA and loved it — I had the Cuban sandwich as well. That little alley is perfect.

  3. I loved reading this post….healthy eats and bright beautiful pictures. Your hair looks so pretty and just wondering your age. You look so very young. Your blog is inspiring to read and you are such a glowing beauty.

  4. Oh, my–I adore those trees. And you’re looking pretty radiantly beautiful yourself. Sounds like you’re having some wonderful validating times: so important for all of us, especially when embarking on a great new adventure in life.

    I would have guessed that a place called “Green Goddess” would have been predominantly vegan too–but then Louisiana isn’t noted for vegetarianism by any stretch. If the wait staff were super-knowledgeable, I imagine that made up for it–it’s such a relief when they are knowledgeable and seems too rare.
    love
    Ela

  5. Your hair looks great curly, Gena! You are so pretty!

    I love seeing all the foliage. It’s been a few years since I’ve been there, but this post has reminded me what a lovely city New Orleans is.

  6. Have fun! Those veggies with that salad look so good! And you look so pretty, I like your hair that way! 🙂

  7. Your stunning photos are telling a beautiful and delicious story! Thanks for taking us on your trip (waving from sunny Florida, where I have also escaped for a few days!) I didn’t know you have curly hair … or are you curly in humidity like me?! LOL Enjoy your time!

  8. Green Goddess looks like a phenomenal restaurant! I love, love, love eclectic menus that include lots of greens and at least some vegetarian options. Everything looks fresh and well-presented.

    I hope to visit New Orleans someday. It looks beautiful!

  9. Oh that winter salad looks absolutely divine. My parents have an elliptical in their garage, and it’s SO convenient. I love that I can work out in the rattiest clothes I own and not worry about it!! Plus, all my DVRed TV shoes are right there to keep me entertained 🙂

  10. What fun photos- looks like you’re having a wonderful time! I feel like I’m there with you, due to your descriptive and story- like post 🙂
    By the way, you really are one pretty lady- due to great nutrition and excellent self- care! 🙂

  11. Oh my goodness. It all looks so good! But I absolutely love the planters full of edible greens! Way to go Green Goddess!

  12. I’ve been to Green Goddess once or twice. When I went, they didn’t have a vegan soup…sniff. I think they actually had only 1 or 2 things on the menu that were vegan at all. It’s too bad the only vegetarian restaurant in town (which was actually mostly vegan) closed a few months ago. I guess I just know what to order at specific restaurants we frequent.

    Yeah, the buds are all coming out now….you can smell them. And so are the wasps, lol…..

  13. The weather right now is so gorgeous, you picked a good time to visit La. Honestly, it’s tough to find many vegan options down here, outside of Whole Foods. Not eating meat, seafood, and then dairy is a foreign concept. Make sure to mention any vegan options you find!

  14. Oh my gosh, is you hair naturally curly? You look absolutely amazing! As does the salad and the sound of your smoothie, of course 🙂

  15. You look adorable, 19, cute, sweet, and just sooooo happy in those last pics, Gena! I love seeing you this way 🙂 Seriously, you just look so happy!

    “I was immediately impressed with Green Goddess’s eclectic, artsy vibe and the relaxed, welcoming atmosphere”– I can feel that vibe from here! Dig it!

    And their presentation and food does look awesome! Even if it’s more omni than you’d choose, sounds like it could be veg’ed/vegan’ed fairly easily. And a knowledgeable staff is SO awesome. That isn’t always the case (sadly) but glad they knew what’s what!

    Your time with Mike to help bounce ideas off, and sort of re-center you, and help to validate what you’re doing is the right thing…so happy you had that meetup!

    Enjoy your weekend in the Big Easy, Gena!
    🙂

    • Must admit I’m a terrible lurker and trying to stretch beyond my current boundaries, this is actually the perfect post for me to start with. Hi Gena! Nola is one of my favorite cities, and over the last two years I’ve been giving serious thought to move down there. NYC is truly a home to me, but sometimes i just feels so toxically over-stimulating, Nola is that perfect blend of culture and cool but also natural beauty and rest that I’ve been craving. Anyway, I love love love your blog, use your recipes all the time and am transitioning closer to vegan everyday thanks to you. I’m so inspired by your commitment to this work. So thank you.

  16. My dad used to travel to Cuba all the time for his job and would come back and create the most magnificent meals. I love adding a “Cuban flare” to entrees! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next!

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