Actually, I flew back. A couple weeks ago. Sorry, Fats Domino. I'm really sorry, Fats Domino. Don't hate me for flying back to New Orleans. Just don't. And if you don't hate me, I will forgive you for not playing at JazzFest that one year and Lionel Richie came on in your place. Although maybe you were telling the truth that you had some medical condition that prevented you from playing. Actually, Fats Domino, it would be cooler in a way if you just blew it off. I would've admired that "I'm Fats Domino, and I don't give two fucks" attitude.
Since all my restaurant reviews are from the year Zero B.C. and also because we are in Vegan MoFo right now, I thought I'd share my opinions on where to eat in New Orleans if you're a vegan, 2010. The best part about these reviews, though, is they will show you how much I've grown since I left there a year ago. Fascinating.
Tandoori Chicken -- My first stop, in Metairie, where David Duke used to -- and for all I know still does -- iron his robe and hood. Ignore the name Tandoori Chicken, vegans, and get out your fork. Still my favorite restaurant in the New Orleans area. Owner Singh dude cooked me a custom order of saag without paneer. No cream in the dish either, just in my jeans, 'cause it was so goddamned good. What? If you can't cream in your jeans when someone cooks you some tasty Indian greens, then why don't we all just go fuck ourselves in the 1950s or something?
Parkway Bakery & Tavern -- Had two french fry po boys. Now that is some starch. Tell 'em to hold the gravy. And bring your own vegenaise. Which reminds me . . .
I will now take a break to congratulate myself on my unique contribution to veganness -- my commitment to vegan condiments. Because I like po boys so much, and because a po boy isn't shit without a mayonnaise-like substance, I bring my own jar of vegenaise wherever I go. I also bring salt (vegan!) and non-white sugar. I've faced a lot of ridicule, been spit on, etc., for being so vegenaise-centric, but there's nothing like feeling the heft and cool glass of the vegenaise jar in your coat pocket when you're headed to the po boy shop. My only dilemma is whether to put all these great condiments in a holster, a man-purse or a fanny-pack-like dispenser that creepy people used to wear to make change.
Bennachin -- From Gambia and Cameroon -- two of the best African countries; no, two of the best countries, period, motherfucker, I will beat your ass! -- come a combo dish you will want to have heterosexual sex with. I'm talking about jama jama ni makondo, which consists of some pretty dang fine down-homey Spinach, fried plantains, coconut rice and a white roll. I got a ginger drink, too. And it's in the French Quarter -- a block away from Bourbon Street, in fact. So you can digest while exploring one of the world's most sophisticated titty-watchin' scenes.
Surrey's -- And now for Part I of the brunch segment of our program. They have some genius in the kitchen cooking the potatoes. Good enough to make up for the hot water they pass off as coffee -- weak, man. On the other hand, the word "vegan" is still on the menu.
Satsuma -- A perfect place to bring a vegan-hatin' friend, like I did. I gave her the sugary, crackly top of my muffin, and she briefly shut up 'cause it was so dang good.
Fair Grinds -- More savory and sweet vegan snacks than a New Orleans coffee house in its right mind should have. Also the best coffee in town. And it's got such a groovy hippie vibe, I had a massive LSD flashback that I am still on right now -- the screen is melting, man, Microsoft Windows 7 and Facebook are growing genitals, and they just jumped in a pile with Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg . . . Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!
Pho Tau Bay -- While I'm on this LSD flashback, I'd just like to say that this is a very fine Vietnamese establishment. Indeed, I had a perfectly good order of vegetarian soft spring rolls and pan-fried noodles with vegetables and tofu and washed it down with a splendid sugary lime drink.
Kim Son -- So China and Vietnam were sitting around one day, drunk as usual, when China said, Hey, Vietnam, let's start a restaurant called Kim Son. Let's, said Vietnam. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see if you can still flush the urinals by stepping on a wooden board, but I did have me some nice lemongrass tofu and brown rice and grease-bomb (in a good way) fried egg rolls. If the beautiful magic that is Kim Son is any indication, China and Vietnam should join hands more often in restaurant land.
Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House -- After an exhausting day on Bourbon Street -- getting chafed from marathon lap dances, puking chunky blood and bribing a cop with a wallet full of crisp hundreds only to have him violate 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983 by tasering my balls off -- all I wanted was a restorative bowl of soup. And boy did this place do me. They have a creamy cauliflower number that'll make you feel fresh as a field of daisies. With fabric softener.
Lebanon's -- If everyone in Beirut had been eating the vegetarian grape leaves at Lebanon's back in the '80s, they would've been too satiated to pull the pins on all those grenades. While we were there, personal injury lawyer extraordinaire Morris Bart rolled up. I screamed, "Hey, Buddy!" That's his nickname. He immediately scampered over to our table to pay tribute to me. "Dazee," he said, "you are one hell of an attorney at law." "Well, I do declare, Buddy," I said, "you are one hell of a human being."
Beaucoup Nola -- The snowball I had was so weak in flavor, I wanted to punch it in the nuts.