Another year, another Mardi Gras. Our weekend was filled with fun, laughter, great friends, great food, and lots of beads. The energy around this event in NOLA is something I wish for everyone to experience at least once in their life.
So how’d I do with food? Pretty good I think. It was a definite improvement from last year so hopefully next year will be even better.
I was able to find a vegan spot a mile from our hotel using the Happy Cow app (if you don’t have this yet- you need it ASAP!) we went there for breakfast the day of the Extravaganza so that I could get some food to go as well for the evening. We had a little of everything, as usual. Nuevos Rancheros, Artichoke cakes, a blended juice with beets, carrots, apples, lemon and ginger, and of course- beignets. Everything was amazing! The artichoke cakes could be served as crab cakes and I’m not sure someone would know the difference. After confirmation it was good- we put in our to go order. Nachos with walnut taco crumble, chickpea salad sandwich, and hummus. The idea was to bring this to the party so I had food to eat there- it almost made it. We ate it all in the room while putting our dresses on- oops. Mission accomplished though! At the extravaganza all I had to eat was some white rice and carrots- but I was so full it didn’t really matter. So I focused on my cocktails and dancing the night away….
The next morning I was HUNGRY! We all met at my favorite NOLA spot- Red Gravy. Not vegan friendly, no substitutions, always crowded Red Gravy. Amazingly- it’s still my favorite spot here. Her food is to die for! I immediately ordered a coffee, mimosa, and bread and gravy for the table. I then had the eggplant parm sandwich- hold the cheese. Lunch for breakfast? This is something I’ve learned to do often while traveling now. Especially if I don’t just want a plate of fruit. We spent the day walking around and had lunch in a pub. Here I ordered their BLT hold the bacon, hold the cheese, hold the mayo. I wish I had a camera for the look I got. I ended up with a toasted bun with basil, tomato, romaine hearts and balsamic- and it was delicious. Creativity? ✔️
By the time Sunday night arrived I was in a place that I was eating but never satisfied. I was managing but still hungry. We were watching the super bowl at a bar and their menu was challenging- but not as challenging as their kitchen if you know what I mean…. So we left. We walked down the block to a restaurant that you typically can’t get into but because of the parade- we got in. August is a white linen, foi gras serving kinda of place. Beautiful and fancy even though I hate places that serve foi gras- it’s just SO cruel. ANYWAY after scoping the menu I saw some potential and naturally it was on the $200 per person tasting menu. So for the first time all weekend- I asked the server for help. He knew exactly what vegan was and just how to help me. I gave the chef full control on my entree and requested the Brussel sprout salad veganized to start. I knew in this place no matter what the chef made me that I’d love it- and I was right. First he sent out a brûlée pear slice, then my Brussel sprout salad with cranberry chutney, and then my entree which was butternut squash, mushrooms, chipolini onions, and some sauce- and as expected- it was amazing. I was finally satisfied thanks to our amazing friends that I feel so blessed to have in my life.
With a few scattered green salads and slices of pizza I survived. Although pizza is the one thing I allow myself I got a stomach ache every time I snuck a slice. Next year I will try and eliminate that as well.
So goodbye NOLA and goodbye Mardi Gras until 2017. Thanks for the new memories, laughs, and great food!