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Eating Plant-Based/Vegan in New Orleans

by Corey Buckner in Places to Eat
July 16, 2018

0 REPRESENTSWhen Meeks and I arrived in New Orleans this past weekend I was starving. I hadn't eaten a full meal since about 1 o'clock the previous day due to traveling on a tight schedule, so Meeks suggested I try the IHOP, IHOB, or whatever they are now. So I walked over and after browsing the menu for about 5 minutes I had a conversation with a waitress that went like this:

Me: You guys are IHOB now, do you have a veggie burger?

Waitress: No.

Me: Okay, how about your wraps. Do you have a veggie wrap?

Waitress: No.

Me: I'm vegan, do you have anything I can eat?

Waitress: Honey; you are in New Orleans. Everything here has some kind of fish or dead animal in it.

Yeah; that really happened.

So, after being extremely excited about visiting New Orleans with Meeks; it hit me like a ton of bricks that I hadn't taken the time to see how the local vegan cuisine scene would treat me. Well... to my surprise; after some initial disappointment it treated me EXTREMELY WELL!

First of all, I was able to find a local fruit & vegetable stand; which was nice but I wasn't in the mood to make anything. We were on a tight schedule; and there really wasn't time for all that. Therefore, for my first New Orleans meal I ended up having some very uninspiring mall Chinese Food. It is suffice to say; it wasn't good. There really isn't anything more to say about it.

Things got better in a hurry though. I had no idea that the couple who's wedding we were in town for are vegans. So I walked into the wedding expecting to string together a meal from sides and a salad; but that was not the case at all. There were as many vegan options available as non-vegan options. There were garbanzo beans, peppers, mushrooms, quinoa and more as pre-meal snacks. Then; just about an hour after my buddy Verge Manyen suggested I get vegan Jambalaya while in town; I walked into a buffet-style meal featuring just that! it was delicious.

Throughout the night, my new uncle Rick (also vegan) had specially-made vegan food sent to my table (pictured bottom left). They tasted kind of like hush puppies or something similar; and I smashed them! Did I share? Yeah; after about the third plate. Seriously though, Uncle Rick had so much vegan food heading over to our table I almost couldn't keep up. The wedding, and it's food were OUTSTANDING; and altogether it was an amazing night!

The next day we headed over to the French Quarter. we had been experiencing a bit of frustration trying to coordinate with others about what and where to eat. Seriously; we started talking about eating at 11 AM; and by the time we sat down at Bourbon House to order our meal it was about 3:30 PM. I ended up ordering the only vegan option on the menu; red beans and rice with stuffed greens. Problem solved, right? Wrong.

To my frustration the waiter returned ten minutes later with the bad news that they were out of red beans and rice. Despite my frustration; I decided to stay and let Meeks eat and then figure out my meal afterwards. This is where the waiter went from awful to awesome for me. After bringing Meeks her meal he told me, "You know what; I can have the chef saute some veggies for you." I was skeptical; but decided this would be the most expedient solution to my rapidly escalating hunger problem.

Seen above at the top of the pic; the veggie plate was unbelievably good. It was full, diverse and well-seasoned. As a guy who eats a lot of veggies; I was still blown away by this plate. It is hard to describe; except to say that it was perfectly seasoned cucumbers, squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions. I originally intended to eat half and save half; but once I started eating it I couldn't stop. My compliments to the chef at Bourbon House who pieced this together for me!

That's pretty much it. It was a quick trip down to New Orleans; and it turned out to be a great weekend for plant-based eating.

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