Monday, May 13, 2013

From Jackson, Mississippi to New Orleans

I spent the weekend in New Orleans for the annual NOLA Veggie Fest, where I gave two cooking demos and signed books alongside Eat Vegan on $4 a Day author Ellen Jaffe Jones. I'll tell y'all all about Veggie Fest in posts tomorrow and Wednesday. But tonight, I want to share pics of what I found to eat before the festival began.

Paul and I left Memphis in my trusty old Nissan on Friday morning. And though we didn't plan it this way, we arrived in Jackson, Mississippi just in time for lunch at the High Noon Cafe. High Noon Cafe is a vegetarian (mostly vegan) cafe in Jackson that's only open during the lunch hour on week days. My parents and I always stop there for lunch on road trips to New Orleans, but it's been a few years since we've been. I didn't even know if High Noon was still open for business. But when I realized we'd be entering Jackson at lunch, I googled. Sure enough, High Noon is still open!

High Noon is located inside the Rainbow Co-op Grocery in Jackson, and since we got there a few minutes before lunch service was to begin, Paul and I wandered around the co-op for a bit. I found all sorts of vegan awesomeness that I can't buy in Memphis! Kelp noodles! Savi seeds! Irish cream agave! Ricemallow Cream! So needless to say, I did a little shopping.

When 11:30 a.m. struck, High Noon opened its doors. I had the Good Burger (a black-eyed pea patty) on whole wheat toast with Daiya cheddar, roasted peppers, and High Noon's special sauce. On the side is a delicious and creamy Vegan Potato Salad:

High Noon does serve dairy cheese on request, so Paul had a grilled cheese with pepperjack. I'll spare y'all the non-vegan pic.

After lunch, we hit the road again and finished the last 3-hour leg of our 6-hour drive into New Orleans. Once we were settled into out hotel room, Bob from Book Publishing Company (my publisher), who was already in town for the fest, told me about dinner plans for Carmo, a very vegan-friendly restaurant on Julie Avenue in New Orleans.

Dinner was planned for 7:30 p.m., but Paul and I wanted to kill some time about an hour before dinner. But it was pouring rain! So we parked the car near Carmo, pulled out our umbrellas, and set out on foot in search of any little place to tuck into (a store, a bar, we didn't care).

After walking a few blocks past closed sign after closed sign on store windows, I spotted this sign! We knew a bar would be open at 6:30 p.m.

Inside, the place just adorable. Divey as can be with one long bar filled with what appeared to be regulars. This definitely wasn't a tourist bar. Perfect. Oh, and the drink special for Friday night was buy one, get one free bottled beer. Score. I ordered a local brew — LA-31 Bierre Pale. Tasty!

After our beers were empty, the rain had let up. So we walked without umbrellas back to Carmo. New Orleans is currently without a totally vegan restaurant (which seems crazy considering that Memphis has four now!). But places like Carmo are keeping vegans happy by offering lots of amazing cruelty-free options. I'd read great reviews online of Carmo's signature dish, The Rico, which can be ordered with pulled pork and cheese or vegan pulled pork and Daiya.

Of course, I had mine with the vegan pulled pork. These are two grilled plantain patties topped with vegan cheese, vegan meat, and avocado. It was unlike anything I'd had before, and it was just delightful.

There was so much on the menu that sounded fantastic. The special for the evening was a curry dish made with seitan. Carmo will be added to my must-do's for New Orleans trips!

Come back tomorrow for a Veggie Fest day one recap!


JL Goes Vegan said...

I've been waiting for your posts! I haven't been back to NOLA as a vegan and really want to go! Can't wait for the VegFest recap...

Dana said...

Wow! That place looks amazing! I'm in New Orleans a lot, so it's great to hear of veg friendly restaurants. When I'm there, I end up eating a lot of french bread and fries. haha.

Babette said...

After a few weeks of research, I finally found kelp noodles in Montreal. They are really good.

I didn't know Irish cream agave even existed though.

I find the pulled pork dish looks kind of funny with the lettuce leaves on the side, but I believe you when you said it was good. I went to New Orleans once some ten years ago and I had a hard time finding something to eat. I should definitely go back, because I loved that city. I spent 3 days there I think and all I can remember is some sort of restaurant with veggie options (but what?) and other restaurants with no veggie options. I had a regular film camera back then (not vegan, I know), and since each picture was precious, I wasn't obsessed with taking pics of my food... not I have regrets and little memory! =)

Babette said...

* I meant NOW I have regrets

Michelle said...

Wow looks so yummy! It's great to see so many veg options popping up down south. People always think I'm crazy when I say I don't have a hard time finding vegan food out.