Vegan Finds in New Orleans


What a day! Not only filled with quality time with friends, but also brimming with delicious, vegan and raw foods. I’m one lucky traveler.

If you haven’t been tuning in in the last few days, I’m here in New Orleans, which is home not only to my bestie, Chloe, but also to a growing number of vegan friendly restaurants! As I mentioned yesterday, my experience as a New Orleanian tourist has changed dramatically in the last few years. Whereas Whole Foods once seemed to be my only reliable food source in town, I’m now aware of countless vegan dining options, from Middle Eastern and Korean food to superfood-inspired raw bars. Welcome to life in 2012, folks: the era of a shifting food zeitgeist.

This morning started very much like a morning at home: I woke up, and as Chloe made some vegetable juice, I had a pre-workout snack of raw energy balls and some peanut butter. Then it was off for a run in Audobon Park—one of my favorite places to jog! I’m sure you can see why:


Southern beauty at its finest. I’ll admit it: I’m not really an outdoor exercise person. I know that this will strike indignation and horror into the hearts of my runner friends, but seriously, I like the convenience, neat timing, and options afforded by gym workouts. Sorry! That said, I do love outdoor runs when I travel, if only because it’s a great way to see new cities. Audobon Park also has little workout stations throughout the course, so I stopped at nearly all of them to do some leg lifts, sit ups, jumps, and pull ups. Except I didn’t actually do the pull ups. I’m not superwoman, folks.


I jogged the loop leisurely just over twice—about four miles—which, along with some post-run squats and lunges, was a lovely workout in the sun. Then it was home for breakfast with Chloe, who had just finished some weight training herself. My morning meal? Chloe’s fantastic ginger orange chia seed pudding, made with agave rather than honey, along with a sliced banana and a bunch of berries. On the side, I had some Vega Shake N’ Go in the chocolate flavor. Funny that Chloe recently purchased it without realizing it was Brendan’s brand!



A few hours later, it was time for lunch. Chloe suggested we hit up Superfoods Bar, one of New Orleans’ only (perhaps the only?) dedicated raw, vegan restaurants! One look at the menu, and I was sold. Check it out, and you’ll see why: smoothies, soups, kale wraps, and salads galore, not to mention hard-to-find ingredients like young coconut meat and blue-green algaes.

When we arrived at the bar, we were greeted by the very amiable chef, Amy, who walked us through the day’s options. We were sorry that the full menu wasn’t available, but I was pretty excited about the options that were. I decided to order kale wraps with cashew cheese, avocado, and carrot stuffing, along with a salad of beets, chard, kale, coconut “bacon,” cherry tomatoes, and a lemon dressing. It was fun to watch Amy prep the food!

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That there in the front is the bar’s fantastic, house-made graw-nola, featuring hemp seeds and cinnamon overtones. I know, because I snacked on some as we waited!

It’s always fun to watch raw food prep, as I know the rhythms and movements so very well. It was also nice to hear Amy’s story, which is much like mine. She didn’t really set out to be a raw foodie, but when she got the job at Superfoods bar, she started eating what she was making, and felt so fantastic she made life changes. Some of the best raw foods stories happen precisely like that: organically and unexpectedly. I should know—that was me, only a few years ago!

Kale wraps in action:

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Chloe also ordered the wraps, but she ordered them along with a pineapple, kale, and vegan protein smoothie. It was a little on the icy side (in hindsight, one of the coconut shakes would have been better), but we both thought it was tasty and that the green graw-nola on top was fantastic.


For my part, I really enjoyed my meal. I wish there had been more veggies in the wraps, but they were light, bright, and tasty. And the salad was also very good.

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I’ll definitely return to Superfoods Bar on my next trip! I’m excited to try other menu items.

Not long after lunch, I strolled along Magazine St. before meeting up with my friend Nat for coffee.

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Along the way, I dipped into Velvet coffee shop to examine the offerings and scope it out as a potential meet up spot.



I became highly distracted when my eyes fell upon this!


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Vegan, gluten free pop tarts! I was shocked. Not at the idea of a vegan pop tart, because those exist, but because they were so readily and randomly available at this corner coffee haunt. In my many years as a vegan, I’ve sort of grown accustomed to never having baked goods at coffee shops, because they’re rarely ever made without eggs, milk, or butter. Nowadays, it’s increasingly likely that I can stroll into a small bakery/coffeehouse like this one, and be confronted with hot, freshly baked, and cruelty-free pastries. Velvet even features vegan scones!

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In addition to all of this, the environment is cozy, congenial, and the coffee smells amazing. Velvet is a great find, and it’s also on the “must return to” list.

Not long after this, I met up with Nat a little further up scenic Magazine street:

Nat and I became friends when he was working at The Paris Review and I was working at FSG. He’s a wonderful journalist and writer, and I’m so excited for his next work of fiction, which will ironically be an FSG book (bummer that I can’t be in house to watch it all happen!). It was so good to catch up today, and compare notes on our new lives outside of the NYC publishing and media bubble.

For coffee, we went to Hey! Café.

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Once again, I wasn’t expecting vegan options. But vegan options were exactly what I got! Organic soymilk for all coffee drinks, and look at this:

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That is Daiya grilled cheese, people!

And look at this:


Earth balance, tofutti, and hummus as bagel toppers. Goodness! It seems that, everywhere I turned today, a wealth of vegan options were waiting for me as if I were in my own kitchen. I already had a pop tart in my bag, though, so I opted for a simple espresso with a dollop of steamed organic soymilk:

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Perfect afternoon treat.


Changing careers is a funny thing. While most of my publishing friends supported the post-bacc decision, a few simply didn’t get why I’d want to leave the written word for the lab coat—it was too different, too unexpected, too difficult to do at my age. A few even seemed hurt or confused by my choice. Nat was one of the friends who seemed to understand what I was doing instantly—not surprising, given that he has always applauded my ambitions and pursuits. I can’t imagine a more supportive friend. And I am likewise always so impressed with his dedicated and creative career as a writer. It was so, so good to catch up!

Soon enough, it was time to head back to Chloe’s for some dinner. We had plans to got to Wandering Buddha—an all vegan Korean restaurant—but we were a little tired and not totally in the mood to go out. Instead, we prepped dinner at home using our leftovers, and saved a little cash while we were at it. Totally the right call. We even managed not to watch a horror movie. For us, this is a major accomplishment (Chloe and I have probably seen almost ever thriller, suspense, and horror movie made in the last decade.)

Plus, staying home gave us a little more time to play with Frankie, Chloe’s new companion!

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Enough said.

For dessert, I had some of my pop tart. It was very tasty–the pastry was deceptively authentic, and the filling was orange marmalade. Nice work, Velvet!

This trip has truly reminded me of how far restaurant culture has come in terms of providing vegan-friendly options for travelers and locals alike. Daiya, hummus, soymilk, vegan pastries—these items are now fully represented on menus all over the country. In the past, I simply took a philosophical approach to travel as a vegan, and accepted its challenges. Even when I was eating mostly Larabars and fruit and ho-hum salads, I accepted that travel is truly about the experiences you accumulate, the people you see and meet, the things you do. A few lackluster meals never ruined my good time.

That said, for most people, food is also a big part of the travel experience. It’s wonderful to be able to travel and also experience a wealth of interesting and tasty dishes. And while travel challenges never deterred me from sticking to my veganism, I’m sure that our changing restaurant culture is making veganism feel a lot more accessible to a lot more people. So, aspiring vegans, take note: you will not have to choose between rich travel experiences and maintaining a compassionate lifestyle. Today is the day to take the vegan plunge!

See you back here tomorrow with my final NOLA recap!


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  1. Next time you’re in town, try Seed. It’s a vegan/vegetarian restaurant on Prytania Street. Those pop tarts look amazing!!

  2. First thing’s first, Frankie is just the cutest! I agree with you on travelling – While I’d love for food to be a big part of the experience, I always see it as a luxury if I can find something vegan to eat at all that I didn’t have to pack. So great that you were able to find so many decent choices though!

  3. Hi Gena,
    I have a question. I recently transitioned to a mostly vegan diet, that includes tons of veggies and lots of Nutrient/protien dense salads. I dont skimp on the nuts or the fat, and i eat plenty. Here’s the problem though, i suddenly find im always hungry. I have no problems with eating as much as my body asks for, and i have no body issues whatsoever. But i find this incredible, insatiable hunger absolutely impractical at times. I work at an office, and bring loads of food for what i plan as lunch and 2 snacks. And yet, by lunch all the food is gone and im hungry again. Its been 4 weeks and the hunger shows no signs of abating. I even logged my calories on spark people in a desperate attemt to find out if i was undereating and just as i thought, i was not. I’ve been consuming(on average) about 2400 calories, 40% from fat, with the carbs and protien taking up equal portions. I.JUST.DONT.GET.IT. HELPPP!!
    I love how the diet makes me feel and all that, but the hunger drives me insane. Is this normal??

  4. I wish we had as many choices as that in Perth, Australia! We’re definitely a couple of years behind in respect to healthy food sources, but I’m sure we’ll get there 🙂 Your wrap and salad sounds delicious.

  5. I’ve never been to New Orleans but it looks so nice! Especially that park 🙂 it really is amazing how so many places are accommodating with vegan options. I am like you in that when I travel I don’t expect these things. It’s a practice in flexibility and sometimes there are surprises… you’ve got options 🙂


  6. Wow I am so surprised at the amount of vegan and raw options you were able to find! That’s fantastic. I’m currently in Georgia/Tennessee and my southern family is not so enthused about veganism. My grandma thinks the idea of a green smoothie is horrific but I plan on converting her today with a sweeter recipe. Safe travels!

  7. Audobon Park looks amazing! So beautiful and peaceful. I kind of swooned over the description of your kale wraps (no surprise there!). It really is amazing how far the US is coming in terms of accommodating vegans. It provides so much love and hope! So glad your NOLA trip has been uber fun. 🙂

  8. Frankie is ADORABLE! So beautiful! 🙂

    I enjoyed our … errr … Your trip.
    Vegans (and options) on the rise. Businesses are responding. Looooove it!

  9. The change is really cool to see! I remember some of your older posts of visiting NOLA were not so enthusiastic about the finds. It must seem even more important in a city you don’t really call home and aren’t ever sure what to expect. NY has so much to offer vegans, it’s almost more exciting to see the scene in other cities.

  10. I’ve always wanted to travel to NOLA, and thought the vegan options were few and far between. It’s great to know that there are in fact plenty of options!

  11. So much going on in this post- jam packed with lots of great stuff! I’ve traveled quite a bit, so I know what you mean about traveling as a vegan becoming easy and easy with every trip. I love to see healthy eating catching on at this fast pace these days. I’m actually highly considering the Peace Corps, however concerned about managing to stay true to my vegan lifestyle in whatever country I’m sent to. (I did live in Peru for 6 months as a vegan, but this would be different ). I still haven’t made it NOLA yet, but this post is making me think it might need to happen sooner than later!

    I also know what you mean about career changes, and they hesitant response of friends and family. It’s always nice to have a few friends who have your back! You are going to make an amazing doctor one day!

    Enjoy your time with Chloe!

  12. Your smoothie looks soo yummy I am going to try and make that myself. I have been eating all natural foods to lose weight and for my health. So far it is going well been seeing the weight come off. I get my natural weight loss tips and diet reviews at

  13. so great that you were able to find vegan food in NOLA! the last time i was there (granted, i was stuck right by the conference center w/o a vehicle), the pickings were pretty slim. that green smoothie looks amazing!

  14. Sounds like you’re having a wonderful trip, and seeing your principles and practices validated wherever you go.

    Is Frankie a labradoodle? He looks like my husband’s brother’s dog, who is, and she’s one of the nicest dogs I know.

  15. I´m also VERY curious about the vegan pop-tart!!! I was just reminiscing about those recently (not that I really want to go back to my pop-tart days…). Who knew that NOLA was such a vegan gem?!

  16. tell us how the vegan poptart tasted! glad you treated yourself. the eats all look good. how did the kale wrap differ from a collard wrap? i hope you recreate that recipe on the blog for us.

    • Ha, I was so busy writing about how exciting it was to find them that I forgot to review them. They were good! Had as dessert that evening. Liked the orange flavors 🙂

  17. Wow! I haven’t been to NOLA in about 2 years. It seems like much has changed! I never had problems finding vegan-friendly restaurants, thanks to Kittee Berns’ suggestions. But a raw restaurant, an all-vegan Korean place, and vegan pop-tarts on Magazine street?! Wow! I must get down there ASAP.

  18. This is so refreshing to hear! I live in Central PA, where German food predominates & veggie options are usually limited to 1 item per restaurant. It’s amazing to hear about the veg options that are out there, & to see the few that are slowly popping up around home.

  19. I love the funky, eclectic nature of all these pics and the whole post…so fun!

    Audobon Park looks amazing (not what I think of when I think of NOLA)

    The juice making ingredients and those coconuts…yum.

    And a vegan GF poptart cropping up in the most surprising of places…gotta love gifts from the sky like that one!

  20. also, I made your spiced sweet potatoes with guac last night and I pretty much died and went to heaven. pure delight.

  21. You are going to all of the right places! As a vegan in NOLA, I can say that yes, our options are increasing. For even more compassionate options to choose from, check out Carmo Cafe (, Surrey’s for juices and tofu dishes (, and Satsuma for juices and vegan entrees ( Not to mention the Saturday and Sunday vegan brunches (O’Vegasm, Santa Fe Tapas, to name a couple). 🙂

  22. We just got back from a quick trip to NOLA ourselves (ran the marathon this weekend) and were thrilled with the vegan options – looks like you tried places that we didn’t have time to check out. We went to Wandering Buddha for dinner on Sunday and it was delicious – a dark, hole-in-the-wall bar location – but delicious! I’m bummed I missed those pop tarts, they look delicious!

  23. Since I’m a new vegan, I’m excited when I find vegan options that make my vegan lifestyle easier. I just found a vegan bakery near me (which is very unique for my area). The options are plentiful and all sound delicious! I need to order a cake for an 80th birthday party and I am going to order it vegan. We’ll see if the rest of my non-vegan family can even tell the difference!

  24. I’m dying to head back to NO as an adult. I grew up about an hour away and remember taking trips over as a child, but now that I’m old enough to absorb the culture (erm…booze…and sights, of course) – all of your amazing vegan finds (And the picture of the beads on the sidewalk) are making me crave a trip back!

  25. Yay! I love reading other’s thoughts on New Orleans and the food this city has to offer!

    Y’all went to some of my favorite places including Superfoods Bar. The coconut shakes there ARE amazing! I’m obsessed with Velvet, and love that it was such a beautiful day to run through the park!

  26. New Orleans looks just beautiful. I have a friend who goes to Tulane, and I would so love to visit her someday.

    I just spent three and a half months in Guatemala, and believe it or not, I found a wealth of vegan options, from soy milk in coffee shops to hummus and tabouli! It appears that the shifting food zeitgeist, as you so aptly call it, is an international phenomenon! Hooray!

  27. I loooove you travelling recaps!!!! You make us feel as if we were there too!!!

    Great photos!!!


  28. I love your travel recaps so much! The photography is beautiful. I particularly love the “Hey! Café” sign.