Every January I write about healthful habits that will carry me into the new year and ready me for my childish practice of out jumping teenagers for Mardi Gras beads.
I started last year off as a teetotaling vegan in anticipation of the string of parades that roll just steps from my door. On the first night of parades an off-duty police officer started banging on our front door before Andrew and I could make it out to the route. He informed us that someone had been attempting to cut through the parade line at the end of our block in an SUV.
“I told her to turn around and leave,” he said. “Instead she backed down the street … she’s over there.”
As she careened down the block in a Hummer H3 the driver nicked one car, dented another, really nailed my car, hit Andrew’s truck and swiped a minivan before the officer stopped her.
I went over to talk to her. She appeared to be in her late 70s and was a dead ringer for Chrissie Hyde of The Pretenders, but with none of the swagger. She was scared, confused. I gave her a hug. She clutched at me as though for dear life until her husband arrived. He was Elvis Costello’s Doppelganger.
Perhaps this strange encounter was a harbinger of things to come?
The following days brought the death of a woman after being hit by a float on Wednesday and the death of a man after being hit by a float on Saturday. Two people fell from a second-story balcony on the Uptown parade route on Sunday evening. Earlier that day two riders fell from floats in separate incidents along the same route.
I took myself out of the game after I tripped on some beads and face planted in the street resulting in a mild concussion, two black eyes and no desire to investigate what else the season might bring.
Two weeks later the ’Rona came to call on New Orleans.
As a preventative measure I’m starting this year off seeking comfort and, by extension, joy. Here are a few of my favorite things, none of them healthy, none of them vegan, all of them delicious and worthy of indulgence.
1. Pork Tonkotsu ramen from kin. Kin is on my regular “route” around town and a tug of longing hits every time I’ve passed the sweet little restaurant that has sported boards over the door and windows since ever since this effing pandemic took hold last March and shattered our lives and livelihoods.
Kin has been hosting pop-ups around town, and their limited menu usually includes a pork Tonkotsu ramen kit to be prepared at home. The kit includes house-made ramen noodles, braised pork belly, confit ground pork shoulder, a marinated soft egg, scallions and caramelized onions. They will reopen soon on Washington Avenue, no firm date yet.
2. Crab Croquettes with green onion remoulade; Lobster Daddy (fried lobster tail on a biscuit with Cajun gravy) and crispy potatoes. This goodness comes from Bearcat Café.
3. My daughter and I recently sat in the sunshine outside of La Boulangerie and shared a Croque Monsieur and Le Parisienne (Butcher ham, butter, Comté and cornichons on baguette). We sighed with joy and contentment and could’ve melted into the sidewalk. We would’ve scarfed down some King Cake, but that doesn’t arrive until January 6.
4. Pretty much anything from Juan’s Flying Burrito. Right now I’m digging the Luau quesadilla (grilled shrimp, bacon, pineapple salsa and Cheddar-Jack) and the Bacon Azul quesadilla (beef, bacon, blue cheese, Cheddar-Jack, roasted mushrooms, grilled onions and salsa, served with a side of chipotle ranch).
Whatever your choice at Juan’s when eschewing virtue, it’s always a good idea to wash it all down with a Margarita the size of your head.
➺ Try This:
It is always “island time” at The Rum House. The popular Caribbean taco joint recently reopened after a renovation and introduced a new brunch menu with an emphasis on
Bearcat Café, 2521 Jena St., 309-9011; 845 Carondelet St., 766-7399; BearcatCafe.com
La Boulangerie, 4600 Magazine St., 269-3777, BoulangerieNola.com
Juan’s Flying Burrito, 2018 Magazine St., 569-0000; 5538 Magazine St., 897-4800; 4724 S. Carrollton Ave., 486-9950; 515 Baronne St., 529-5825; JuansFlyingBurrito.com
kin, 4600 Washington Ave, 304-8557, follow them on Instagram
@kinfordin for pop-up locations
The Rum House, 3128 Magazine St., 941-7560, TheRumHouse.com