Out and About on the Gulf: A Weekend Recap

by Gena on August 26, 2012

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Hope everyone had a good weekend. I’m wrapping up my time here in New Orleans, which has been lovely. Fingers crossed, I’ll be getting out right before Isaac arrives.

The last time I was here, I featured a bunch of new, vegan (or vegan friendly) dining spots here in Crescent City (recaps here, here, and here). On this trip, we laid low and did a lot of cooking at home. Case in point: Friday night’s beautiful heirloom tomato and pumpkinseed basil napoleon:

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On Thursday, though, Chloe and I made a trip to Maurepas Foods in Bywater, which is one of the more hip (and one of my favorite) neighborhoods in NOLA. The tagline of this cheerful, bustling establishment is “purveyors of robust cuisine.” I happen to love robust cuisine myself, so I was excited for this menu!

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Maurepas is not a vegan restaurant by any stretch, but the menu has a big, impressive, and innovative selection of small plate vegetable dishes, all of which are either vegan or easy to veganize. I was struck by the interesting pairings of flavor and texture! In the end, I went with a green and apple salad (hold the cheese, please) with fennel that was very delicately roasted:

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The snap beans with charred tomato puree and seared tofu (it’s “shrimp crusted tofu” on the menu, so I asked if they might please simply prepare the tofu plain; they were totally fine with that!):

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And a raw zucchini salad with blueberry vinaigrette dressing.

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Chloe got the cucumbers with mustard seeds, which I ended up stealing from sharing with her (thanks, Chlo).

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I also got some fascinating sounding peach and pepper drink that was waaaaaaaay too spicy for this girl. My bad: our server warned me, and I didn’t listen. Cool color, though:

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I was truly impressed with the veggie dishes at Maurepas! The preparation was minimalist and thoughtful, and the combinations of flavors were spot-on. The cucumbers and the beans may have been the two highlights, but the zucchini dish actually inspired the quick, easy lunch you’ll see here on the blog tomorrow. I love it when omni restaurants highlight, emphasize, and put passion and creativity into the produce on their menus. At Maurepas, vegetables feature just as prominently on the menu as some of the non-vegetarian plates. It’s a great message to be sending, and the restaurant’s high quality, fresh produce ensures that diners will be impressed with how great veggies can taste!

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I also appreciated some of the restaurant’s funky touches, like this tabletop candle:

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Yesterday, we all visited a local Vietnamese restaurant on the west bank (Tan Dinh) for lunch. NOLA has a vibrant Vietnamese restaurant scene, and this spot was authentic, delicious, and affordable. The portion sizes were also incredibly generous, as the following anecdote makes clear! I had ordered the summer rolls (rice noodles, mixed veggies, peanut sauce), and asked for a double order. Our waitress raised her eyebrows and told me I’d have a LOT of food on my hands. I’m used to being told this by servers (exhibit A: the three plates I ordered at lunch on Thursday, above…), and replied “I can handle it, don’t worry.” When the rolls came, though, they were absolutely giant!

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Chloe and Knud and I had a good laugh over it. No matter: I had leftovers, which came in very handy for my beach expedition today!

Speaking of which, this morning, Chloe and Knud and I decided to venture out from New Orleans and Louisiana, and explore the beaches of Alabama! We drove to Dauphin Island, which is a tiny, scenic island on the gulf coast. The scenery was beautiful, and the water was warm. I could have spent all day hopping over waves and getting caught in the surf. Not to mention soaking in a lot of sunlight.

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Sun kissed face:

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The coming semester promises to be incredibly hectic on many fronts (school, MCAT, volunteering, new professional work, blogging as usual), and I’m more than a little scared to be returning to DC tomorrow morning and facing it all again. That said, I’m really grateful to have had a short chance to recharge my batteries, soak up fresh air, and see my oldest and dearest friend this week, and I do feel refreshed and grateful.

Tomorrow, a quick, simple, easy raw lunch dish!

xo

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Averie Cooks August 26, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Glad you two were able to spend time together – I know you’re two peas in a pod and happy you had this time with your bestie!

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Ela August 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Great to see your cute face! Glad you had this trip, and I’ll be journeying with you thought-wise as we dive in again.
love
Ela

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Rachel August 27, 2012 at 12:29 am

Your recaps from your previous trip to New Orleans aren’t coming up…just thought I’m let you know. :D

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Lisa @ The Raw Serenity August 27, 2012 at 4:10 am

You looked like you had an awesome time.
It’s a shame that you were sick at the start of your holiday!
Love the food porn of your eats x

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Jane August 27, 2012 at 7:56 am

Hey Gena:)
I’ve recently decided to become vegan, I’m not 100% vegan yet but i omitted meat and milk from my diet and trying to eat more veggies, YAY (:
Can you please do a post on raw\vegan school lunch recipes? Preferably quick and those you can eat cold so i could prepare them the day before.. like maybe sandwiches ? The problem about sandwiches is that its calorie value is always to low to be a meal.. really loved your post about meal sized salads maybe you can do one about sandwiches? I’d really love that.
Thanks, love you,
Jane

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Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy August 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

what a gorgeous looking meal! That asparagus looks amazing!! glad you had fun!

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jess August 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm

sounds like a lovely little getaway :)

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Vegyogini August 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Good luck with school, MCAT, volunteering, etc.! Remember to take time for yourself and, if you’re still together, take time for M!

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elizabeth August 27, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Maurepas is my kind of restaurant. Hip and upscale, beautifully presented food, signature cocktails, impeccable where it matters (ingredients!), a bit of grunge where it doesn’t (decor). Ironic how one finds better vegan fare in such places. Maybe that’s not so true in NYC, but it’s true every where else I’ve travelled.

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Hoshigaki August 27, 2012 at 6:57 pm

You looks stunning in the last pic!
My raw friend and I were just discussing how we need to go on a treasure hunt for all of the best non-vegan-restaurant big salads in the city…
I think it’s really fun to find vegan gems at non vegan establishments!

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Kait @ yogabeautylife August 27, 2012 at 7:05 pm

It seems like you had an amazing time! I’m in between terms for my accelerated grad program and I TOTALLY hear you about needing to lay low and recharge with the people in my life I love the most. I’m so glad you had a chance to do the same!

And as you head into the fall semester, remember: WE GOT THIS!!!!

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Ali August 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Glad you made it to NOLA and Chloe! Sorry you missed PDX this time but we’ve got some great Gena-friendly new spots for you out here when you do make it.
I have to ask though: where did you find the vegan-friendly nail polish? Its one cosmetic I never seem to see in vegan lineups.
A frivolous question, I know, but my toenails would love a little paint occasionally.
XO

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elise August 27, 2012 at 10:34 pm

holy crap that tomato stack looks amazing! how did i miss that post??

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Janet August 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I miss the vietnamese food in NOLA…so good!

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Hannah August 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm

How funny! Look at what Angela at ohsheglows just posted :) http://ohsheglows.com/2012/08/27/how-to-spiralize-vegetables-without-a-spiralizer-2-veggie-pasta-dishes/#comments (Pssst I’m a long time reader of both your blogs).

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Hannah August 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Oops I’m commenting about your next post, of course!

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Gena August 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I know! Great minds…

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