Thursday, June 7 – My sister’s colleague Kim pulled together an amazing recommendation list for us for places to eat and drink in NOLA. We were hoping to meet up for dinner with my friend Carrie who I grew up with in Michigan and who now lives in Baton Rouge. She was planning to drive down to meet us until she had car trouble. I had sent Kim’s list to her to see if anything looked good, and she said that her suggestions were so good that she was going to save the list for future reference, too!
Since Sandy had never been to New Orleans, we started the night with the obligatory visit to Pat O'Brien's for a Hurricane. I'm not sure if I've had one since I went to Mardi Gras in college... but one sip and it all comes back quickly... Rum and fruit punch. Don't drink it too fast... it's dangerous.
Our first pick from Kim's list (other than Pat's) was a tiny little place in the French Quarter called Green Goddess. In Kim’s words, “Small place, amazing food, great chef, very progressive, inventive. Also vegetarian friendly.” We arrived at it’s small, open storefront which is down an alley called Exchange Place, a little after 9pm, not realizing that they usually close the kitchen at 9. There was only one big table of 6 or so, a couple of seats at a bar and the open kitchen visible. After giving the woman at the restaurant the “oh, no!” look after she said they stop serving food at 9, and saying that our friend had recommended that we come, she said, “ok, go down this hall and take the empty table in the back on the right. And so we did. There were only two other tables of two in the back, which was more like a small atrium with stairs and a balcony on a second floor.
The woman who sent us back to the table was Tessa, and we learned that she has a story as interesting as the eclectic items on the menu. But first, the food: we had a strawberry and blueberry salad with goat cheese and a caramelized creole tomato with Manchego to start (pictured), and then Crabmeat Isleno with a warm arborio and black rice cake, and South India Uttapam, a savory pancake with curry veggies and tamarind chutney. All fantastic.
Tessa, in her early 20s, had recently arrived in New Orleans after coming from the east coast… on her bike. By herself. Impressive, and brave. She said sometimes she would knock on people’s doors and ask them if she could pitch a tent and camp on their front lawn overnight. She had intended to go all the way to the west coast, but fell in love with New Orleans because the city was good for her soul. We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Tessa throughout our meal.
When we sat down to look at the menu, we consulted the tips on Foursquare for Green Goddess. Tips on Foursquare have come in handy throughout the trip, and if they weren’t useful, they were usually entertaining. In the case of Green Goddess two things stood out:
1.) mention the “password” to get a special treat, and
"The Bacon Sundae will make you slap your mama... It's so good!"
Bacon Sundae? So, we asked Tessa about both. First, “Do you still have the bacon sundae?” Yes. “Ok, we’re in for one of those.” Second, “does the Password still work?” There were contradictory tips on Foursquare whether it still worked or not. She didn’t know, but checked. It turns out there isn’t a password anymore. It ended when one of the chefs left. No worries. However, the bacon sundae was very tasty and memorable: praline ice cream with whipped cream, bacon-infused caramel, and crumbled bacon. Wow.
It was a perfect start to our two nights in NOLA.