*Note: I started writing this post when I was still in New Orleans, and ended it when I got home; sorry for the inconsistent tenses!).
Hello from NOLA! I’m down in the Big Easy for the National Communication Association convention, an academic conference I’ve been attending for the past four years. I hope to write more about my experiences with the conference, the city, and how it is to process the divergent experience I’m having now compared to how it felt when I visited in 2006 to do hurricane relief work, but I’ll save that for my rebel grrl academy blog.
For you, my fellow lovers of food, I will share what I have been eating. Which, in all honesty, isn’t the easiest thing for a vegan to do down here. My day of traveling was filled with a Kind bar and carrots and an attempt to get in as much water as possible. I’m going to make a “travel food” post next week for those of us who have to travel to go see family around the holidays, but for now, I’ll just start with what I ate once I arrived.
A few of my colleagues called to invite me to a restaurant called the Green Goddess. The name implied it’d be a place for me–for vegz–but it only had two options. But, I guess that’s really all I need. One option is even fine. I got the Mumsumara. It was described as more of an entree than it turned out to be, but–albeit less than filling–it was tasty! Check out the spread:
Kaitlyn also gave me a bite of her super yummy pumpkin soup (which I ended up having on Saturday when I met a friend there for dinner):
The night ended at a super crowded-with-all-the-coolest-people-from-NCA gay bar called La Fites in Exile. Hot! I saw all my favorite people from DePaul, danced and giggled about all the super great pop music videos projected on the walls.
Friday morning, my good friend Liora and I went to Surrey’s Cafe, a place her dad said would serve us “the best breakfast in NOLA.” AND they had tons of vegan options! Now I may be a lot of things, but one to pass up old-standards-that-work is not one of them. Honestly, I love my routine. I appreciate traveling, but it stresses me out when I don’t get to do the things I do on a daily basis that make me feel good, including: exercise, juicing, eating healthy food that i prepare so i know what all is in it, sleeping. Fortunately, the gym at the hotel and this restaurant made this day start off almost like any other…Maybe even *better*, because although they did have juice options for me, they also had WHEAT GRASS! KC’s fave magical shot of excellence! Liora even participated with me:
I continued to “stick to what works” by ordering a bowl of old fashioned oats cooked in water, loaded with delicious fresh fruit, and added a side of peanut butter to swirl about on top for some protein. Effing delicious and kept me full the whole day!
That night we had to do dinner a bit quick, so we could stop by the U of MN “party” that many of the NCA schools host in the conference hotel. We decided to stop in the Japanese restaurant in our hotel. Not very New Orleans-y, but I knew they would have something I could eat. It was even better than I expected! A huge delicious bowl of veggie soup cooked in sake and soy sauce and a fresh seaweed salad!
Later in the evening I proceeded to consume copious amounts of this:
NOT RECOMMENDED, HEALTHY READERS! But once in very blue moon, I do indulge in some hard liquor fun, and that night was certainly fun, slash absurdly ridiculous. ;) Highlights of my drunken stooper: singing Katy Perry’s “firework” but replacing it with “hurricane” anytime someone would order the drink that’s called a hurricane; lots of singing and dancing in general, whether there was music or not; talking to a guy at a gay bar about love, social class, tattoos and playing music; taking “sexy business card photos” with Dana (ridic!); apologizing profusely to the cab driver for being an awful drunk person, thanking him for his labor/telling him how much I respect what he does, and finally, as I stumbled out of the cab, shouting “LABOR CREATES ALL WEALTH!”
I am a fool.
Anyway, to bounce back from that, the next morning I drank tons of water, slept in and found oatmeal and a smoothie to eat. I managed to run in the gym for a bit, and although I still didn’t feel amazing, I think doing as much healthy routine stuff as you can after a night of drinking is the best bet.
After a great panel on Sunday morning, we stopped for an early lunch before heading to the airport. I got a disappointing cup of black bean soup and was pretty famished the rest of the day at the airport. The only edible things for a gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, salt-avoiding gal like me were: an apple, a Cliff bar, and my own homemade trail mix with the only bag of salt-free almonds and sugar-free dried fruit because all the pre-made trail mixes had tons of salt and sugar. AND EVERY SINGLE SALAD IN THE WHOLE EFFING AIRPORT HAD CHEESE OR MEAT! Are you kidding me with that?!??! It’s a SALAD, why why why must you make even that off limits for me? Blergh. (also, #veganwhitegirlproblems, i know i know). I learned a LOT from this and, as noted above, am planning a pretty epic “Wellness Tips for Traveling” post. Stay tuned for that.
Overall, I have to admit New Orleans is not a city for me. Because I visited there in such different circumstances last time, I didn’t really get a sense of the city as much as I did this time around. Full of life and color and culture, most definitely, but I’ll take snow over humidity, subways over trolleys, and the fast-paced hustle and bustle of the north over the leisurely slow paced life of the south any day. It was certainly fun, and the conference was fulfilling, but I’m glad to be home. Drinking my green juice this morning was HEAVENLY!
What’s your favorite city to visit for good eats?