Friday, February 6, 2009


Cochon, 930 Tchoupitoulas St., 588-2123
(New Orleans, DL)

I'm pleased to say that is a French porn site. It'd be cool if the restaurant, website, showed images from as you ate. Full disclosure: Stephen, one of the chef-owners, is our friend and neighbor. I lent him my copy of Omnivore's Dilemma about one or two years ago, and he's still reading it. Slow but thoughtful reader? Yes. Good cook? Quite. Sensitive to vegan needs? Very. Call him up about a week in advance and tell him you want to dine with three other vegans, and get him thinking all up in his mind about what he can make that's great and vegan. Or maybe he just slaps it together that same day with that same easy elegance that the late one-eyeballed Jew Sammy Davis, Jr., used to employ at the Sands when he was quietly threatened to whip fellow Jewish Hebrew and Sands co-owners Carl Cohen and Jakie Friedman if they didn't up his cut.


Cuvee, 322 Magazine Street 504-587-9001
(Fancy, D)

When the parents come to town, Dad likes to get into his very sexy khakis and Mom into only the most fashionable pantsuit and spend a million dollars for dinner. Of course, being the spoiled ethnically suburban (though now living in the cityish Irish Channel part of N.O.) rich bitches that we are, we're only too happy to play dress-up and condone this class warfare carried out with heavy silverware on pristine white tablecoths.

The problem is that while many fancy restaurants know how to make a special vegan dish, they often think this means a pile of grilled vegetables seasoned liberally with an utter lack of inspiration. To these "chefs," I say, "Feh!" But more and more, your woman or man in the high white hat and checked pants will actually give a fuck, especially if you call ahead. Wcait, at the next table . . . is that Bob Dylan with a pair of crotchless panties on his head blowing his Victoria's Secret royalty check while singing "The Times They Are A Changin'?"

Although I can't remember for the life of me what we had, I remember it was like the coldest day of the year or something, and the vegan surprises were good, so good we almost didn't mind that we were freezing our clits off.


Mona's, 3901 Banks St., 482-7743; 504 Frenchmen St., 949-4115; 4126 Magazine St., 894-9800; 1120 S Carrollton Ave, 861-8175

(Middle Eastern, LD)

You can't spit or throw a rock in New Orleans without hitting a Mona's. Or spout some sad cliche, apparently. So it's inevitable you'll end up here sometime or other. And while you should do everything in your power to get to Lebanon's instead, you'll probably be quite satisfied at Mona's. Go for the huge green salad or the grape leaves plate, and you'll have a good day.

Breaking news. Supervegan fields of garlic reports that Mona's now poops its grape leaves out of a can. When I had the leaves a couple days ago, they were way too tangy. I drowned them with salt, and that made them better.

FYI, I love salt, and salt loves me. I have low blood pressure (80 over 50), so bring on the sodium. I'm one of those eccentric and at times annoying diners who doesn't even taste for salt before dumping it on my food.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Lebanon's, 1500 S. Carrollton Ave., 504--6200
(Middle Eastern, LD)

Flash forward to the year 200999. The liberals have prevailed. Marriage is no longer defined as being between just one man and one woman or even one just between one person and another person. . . . Lebanon's, do you take dazee to be your lawfully-wedded husband? I do. Dazee, do you take Lebanon's to be your lawfully-wedded restaurant? I do. Yes, this is what America has come to. Yes, it's the year 200999. Restaurants are marrying people. Dogs are marrying their owners' crotches. See, I told you so.

Seriously, though. Can I be serious for just a minute? Lebanon's grape leaves make me do the hokey-pokey. They're made not with just rice, but some other kind of grain, maybe cous-cous or bulgar wheat. Hell, I would marry Lebanon's just for the grape leaves. The falafel, hummus, etc., etc., also make me feel so fine, I freakin' be losin' my goddamn mind. And you don't have to feel like you're some kind of weirdo for not using whitening strips on your teeth like you do at Byblos. All you alcoholics out there should listen up, too: Lebanon's lets you BYOB. Me and Ol' Dirty Bastard were gonna bring a bathtub full of Moet and Chandon down to Lebanon's, and then he died. He died, man. Why'd he have to die? Why? Why? Why'd you have to die, ODB?

Dixie Gyro

Dixie Gyro, 110 Carondelet St., 523-6614
(Middle Eastern, L)

So you were wondering which Middle Eastern restaurant is the worst in New Orleans? The falafel, hummus, etc., is either dry, off, or both. Of course, you can get away with serving slops like this when you're steps away from where the streetcar drops off loads of tourists who may not know any better and you can practically smell the piss on Bourbon Street from the front door.


Casablanca, 3030 Severn Ave., Metairie, 504-888-2209
(Kosher, Middle Eastern , LD)

My ancestors stopped being kosher about three or four generations after we climbed down out of the trees. When I grew up, the last vestiges of this quaint little ritual meant that we could pack in the sausage or bacon but not pork or ham. Yeah, we were really assimilating, man. I've never really understood why you could eat as much campylobacter-stuffed chicken as you want, but the noble pig is somehow off limits. Whatever. I will, say, though, that the anti-cheeseburger set really does me right sometimes. Like Casablanca. The bad news here is the meat. The good news is that this means dairy stops at the door. So you get tadziki and, rumor has it, chocolate mousse pie made with soy. Kittee liked the grape leaves, heavy on the dill, but I say the rice inside is too dry. The combo appetizer is bi-polar. I don't like overly lemon-juiced hummus, but Casablanca's left me crying for more. I thought the falafel and baba ghanoush were too bland and the tabouli too soggy. I was also annoyed by the fluffy moistness of the pita bread. Fluffiness doesn't seem like a bad thing when you think about it, but I wanted the traditional flatter, drier version. Maybe I'm just a whiner. The spinach pie was more of a solid, vaguely cheesy mass than the delicate flaky thing I'm used to, but I liked it just the same. I also kind of liked the spicy red eggplant dip, which was very non-wimpy. I will defend the fresh fries to the death, though--they might be the best in town. If you want something more down-homey, go for the couscous with mixed vegetables. And don't forget to slap the rabbi on the back if you see him.

Kittee informs me this isn't her favorite review. She wants me to say that the tadziki is made with Tofutti sour cream ("I can tell") and that the grape leaves are big doo-doo size fatties. There, happy, kittee?


Byblos, 3218 Magazine St., 504-894-1233; 1501 Metairie Road, Metairie, 504-834-9773
(Middle Easter, LD)

(This review refers to the Uptown restaurant, the Metairie location is more of a deli and is counter service only).

I've never been to a fancier Middle Eastern restaurant. The serving staff are prettier'n Barbie and Ken with a radical makeover. You also get to eat on glamorous white tablecloths and stab your falafel balls with forks so heavy you need a fucking crane to lift them.

My advice is too ignore all the rich bitches surrounding you and just dig into the mezze. You can pick from the standards like falafel, hummus, and baba ganoush or go cuh-cuh-cuh-crazy with grape leaves, mujadarah, foul, and brown rice. Stay away from the spinach, which seems to be sauteed in butter. And make sure you ask if the spinach pies are vegan because I've forgotten now, and I'm too damn lazy to call and confirm this.

Plus, on Thursdays, you get to pitch an R-rated tent over all the belly dancers shakin' and bakin' right past your table

Babylon Cafe

Any discussion of Middle Eastern restaurants has to start, of course, with Ralph Nader. Or maybe Nader's parents, who immigrated from Lebanon, opened a restaurant, and hatched the favorite whipping-boy of those Republicans in drag, the Democratic Party. I feel nothing but pity and the urge to giggle in your face if you dismissed Nader and voted for Obama. My warmest congratulations to you for voting for a man who thinks gays are second-class citizens, who voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act and for FISA, and to make class action lawsuits more difficult to file. And if you say to me now's not the right time to vote for your heart, I say, change the poopy diaper of your moderation because this was the same argument against ending slavery and Jim Crow. And Mr. Barack's shit stinks. And Mr. Barack himself smells like Hamburger Helper. But Mr. John is kind of like Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat, jinkle jinkle. That was real popular for a while -- Rice-a-Roni. They gotta bring that back. If they don't bring Rice-a-Roni back pretty soon, I'm moving to Canada. That would be the last sucking liquid out of the straw. The flavor can't be beat. You know, maybe this restaurant reviewing thing isn't working out. Maybe I'm just using it as an excuse to go on political tirades. All I know is that if I'm elected president, I promise a free extra falafel ball in every sandwich, and you will be pleased because I will have no trouble getting an excellent falafel ball as New Orleans has a fuckload of very tasty Middle Eastern restaurants.

Babylon Cafe,
7724 Maple St., 504-314-0010
(Middle Eastern, LD)

My friend Blair thinks this is the best Middle Eastern restaurant in town. Blair is nice, handsome, and witty, but he might be a little meshugana because, he's dead wrong. It's the second best. kittee thinks they have great homemade flatbread though. Even President Punny-Printer would like the grape leaves, I mean dolmas, I mean dolmas.

Nacho Mama's Mexican Grill

Nacho Mama's Mexican Grill, 3242 Magazine St., 504-899-0031
(Mexican, LD)

Stay away. Kittee had a cold black bean burrito, and I had some other kind of crap I only have bad semi-suppressed memories of. Of course, it's wildly popular here, proving yet again that we are all alone in this great void.

Taqueria Corona

Taqueria Corona II, 85932 Magazine St, 504-897-3974
(Mexican, LD)

We used to hate this place and dazee gave them a really mean and ugly review. I deleted it, since we love it now. I don't know what happened, but it's really good. Order the cebollitas, which are char-grilled green onions doused in lime juice, olive oil and salt and make sure you get the salsa cart brought to your table so you can drizzle some salsa negra on whatever you choose. Kittee likes the taco salad and dazee goes for the tiny petite bean burrito, it don't matter 'since their beans are vegan. The guacamole is just OK, but the margaritas are good with a nice taquila.

Juan's Flying Burrito

Juan's Flying Burrito, 2018 Magazine St., 504-569-000; 4724 South Carrollton Avenue
(Mexican, LD)

Juan's is so punk rock. Angry Caucasian caveman music blares from the hi-fi, and two to one, your pierced waiter might just have a titanium rod jammed through his anal wall and curling out the head of his cock. Of course, I brought my out-of-town friends here one day, and wouldn't you know, someone had just sucked down a tank of ironic gas and proceeded to torture us with the Footloose soundtrack. So if you want a nice peaceful dinner, fuck off. But if you want a decent, wholesome (and, unfortunately, about as Mexican as Nanook of the North) burrito, you'll need to party down at Juan's. I always go for the veggie punk on whole wheat with smoky pinto beans, taters, and guacamole subbed absolutely free for cheese. Of course, the bean tacos will show you a helluva good time, too. Then what you do is get fucked up on a pitcher of margaritas and pump some money into our economy by blowing your whole paycheck on overpriced tschotchkes in the delightful antique shops nearby.

Kosher Cajun Deli & Grocery

Kosher Cajun New York Deli & Grocery, 3520 N. Hullen St., Metairie, 504-888-2010
(Deli, LD)

Veganism and Zionism hook up and make some beautiful love in Kosher Cajun. I mean, they totally get it on. Shit. I haven't ordered anything from the deli, but who cares, because Kosher Cajun's store is stocked full of vegan treats. Put all of these on your shopping list: vegan white chocolate chips, confectioner's glaze-free jimmies, containers of Tofutti cream cheese and sour cream; a 48-piece assortment of Mon Cuisine Frozen Foods Vegetarian Vegan Party Favorites, including pigs in a blanket. And then you can celebrate the continued mass murder and oppression of Palestinians by moseying over to the clothing section and picking up your very own Israeli Defense Forces jacket. Fantasize about mowing down a rock-throwing Palestinian child with your Bazooka while chewing on the Israeli version of the namesake bubble-gum. Mazel tov!