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Vegetarian @ Jazz Fest

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Going to Jazz Fest this year - woohoo! Any restaurants that might cater to a vegetarian as well as a carnivore? I don't want to bring down the group! We would most likely be eating breakfast and dinner out, lunch at the fairgrounds.

Thanks!

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  1. A few questions for clarification: Where are you staying? Do you have transportation and any price/dining expectations? Are you a vegan (this makes a world of difference, especially for breakfast, because if you eat eggs and cheese, you can break the fast anywhere) Does your group want classic New Orleans cajun and creole, mostly? I am a local and a vegitarian, and I can tell you it IS a challenge, but take heart, it can be done with a little thought (and luck). I find the finer dining your best bet--most fine dining establishments either have a veg option or will happily prepare you something, always call and ask. But, hate to be the bearer of bad news, if you don't have reservations yet, you are gonna have a tough time getting in anywhere due to the Fest. And when returning from the fest, many are not in the mood for such locations anyway. There are some more casual options, (most everything is gonna be busy, be ready to wait) The Praline Connection (soul food) in the Marigny has good vegitarian options as well as plenty of meat, and i don't think they take reservations. Ditto the Gumbo Shop (cajun) in the FQ, but that is pretty crowded with Tourists on a regular weekend, so be prepared. You will have some options at Coop's on Decatur, though honestly they can be decidely hit and miss, and not a mecca for the vegitarian. Bennachin (African Restaurant in the Quarter) has great veg. food, and my meat eating friends love it too, but it's not that "classic new orleans experience." Jaques Imo's has a veg option, doesn't take reservations (meaning, if you are up for the wait, you can get in) is really well done on funky atmosphere, and right next to the Maple Leaf Bar, which will have great night music. Honestly, it's not my personal favorite for many reasons, but it really may be your best bet, and many many people love it. Once in the fest, definitely do not miss the "Jamma Jamma" from aforementioned Bennachin. Veg and Yum Yum Yum. And, you can always grab a beer and some cheese fries whilst your friends soak up their oysters and fried chicken wherever they are, and just enjoy the robust, abundant, enthusiastic food scene. good luck!!

    1. Oh, and if you are in the FQ, you might try Muriels on Jackson Square www.muriels.com for dinner. Think I read in a thread that they have a new chef, dunno about reservations, but nice ambience and at least one veg option.

      18 Replies
      1. re: swampsue

        We are staying at the Quality Inn Downtown. I think it was the last hotel available in the city! We will have a rental car, but don't plan on doing much driving. We will, however, travel for our food and drive or taxi it. Our group will want to eat as much authentic food as possible - 2 of our friends are seasoned jazz festers, but not vegetarians - so I just want to be prepared when they make their suggestions. I know "Mother's" is one of their favorites. I am not vegan, but am not too keen on eggs for breakfast. I love cheese! Budget is not tight, but not excessive. We would be down for trying to get a ressie at one of the finer dining restaurants for one night, cause your right, after a day at the fest you may not want to have to get dressed up and have such a formal affair every night.

        Thanks so much for the suggestions :)

        1. re: lavendula

          Just wanted to follow up here to help out any other vegetarians who are thinking about embarking on the Jazz Fest! We mainly ate at the fair, and the food was scrumptious, but heavy! There certainly was not as much food choice for me as there was for my BF, but I did not have a hard time at all. Some things I tried were:

          Grilled Veggie Pita - had an amazing sauce on it that turned cabbage and carrots into an amazing concoction!

          Falafel platter - nice and cooling with tabouli, hummus, pita, and salad

          Spinach & Artichoke Casserole - very filling & tasty

          Sweet Potato Pone - a little too sweet for me but a nice dessert

          Lemon Pound cake - this was the only thing that I thought was over priced at $3 for a tiny piece - but it was worth it!

          Veggie Red Beans and Rice - this looked kind of scary but was really tasty!

          Cous Cous in Yogurt sauce - kind of sweet, not my favorite

          Tons of refreshing Rose mint Iced Tea (Didn't like the orange as much).

          There must have been others, but just so you can get an idea!

          We would stay at the fest until late and by the time we would be ready to eat many restaurants were closed. Friday night we ate at the Bourbon Street Oyster Bar and the food was actually pretty good. The place was packed but we managed a seat at the bar. I had a delicious spinach salad and a broccoli & cheese gratin that was pretty good and filling. Oh yeah and fried eggplant sticks with tartar sauce as an appetizer - not bad, not great, but surely not offensive. The frozen bourbon milk shake there is a must try - sounds gross, I know, but just trust me and go get one!

          Friday night we went out late and just wanted a quick bite so that we could meet up with friends. After grabbing a slice of pizza on Bourbon street, taking a bite and throwing it out, we found a bar a few blocks off the main drag- I have no idea what it was called - but it offered veggie burgers so we just went with that. They do exist here! Don't eat the pizza on Bourbon Street!

          Saturday night we made a special point to try Bennachin - we got there right on time before the crowds came. The place was very charming, service was very slow (the one waiter was a 12 year old boy!), and the food, very wholesome, but very, very salty! We both felt like our blood pressure was going through the roof ! I started with the lentil soup which was piping hot and full of flavor - and salt. Then for my main I tried the Jamma Jamma platter with coconut rice and fried plantains and it was totally tasty, but the spinach was just so super salty. We could just be particularly sensitive to the salt, but I just wanted to throw that out there and, again, help out my fellow vege!

          The weekend was amazing and I can't wait for next year! If anyone comes up with anything that I should put on next year's "must try" list, let me know. We walked by so many cute restaurants but they didn't have one thing on the menu that I could eat. Next time we are gonna make some reservations!

          1. re: lavendula

            Thanks for the reviews of Bennachin- My wife is a selective Veg. and so we are always looking for good spots with multiple choices when we hit the Quarter

            1. re: lavendula

              I love Bennachin, and have never noticed an oversalination in the food. I sure hope it was an isolated incident! Sorry you had a not-so-good experience there.

              It looks from your descriptions that you don't eat seafood either, so it's easy to see how your choices would be limited. Reservations are a good idea, and (you probably already do this) but go ahead and ask about items that appear to be meat free. For example, gumbo z'herbes is a dish that seems to be vegetarian but is often made with a meat stock or even with a ham hock or something similar for flavor. And you might want to check what kind of fat is used to fry your fried foods.

              1. re: uptownlibrarian

                Hello again!

                We just booked our plane tickets and hotel reservation for this year's Jazz Fest! Starting much earlier this time, I'd love to make some reservations for a place that I can eat vegetarian and my husband can eat meat/seafood. We prefer the authentic food and don't miss experiences....budget is still the same - somewhere in the middle, willing to splurge when necessary. We will be staying at the Avenue Garden Hotel, but like always are willing to travel for our food. Any help and ideas are appreciated!!

                1. re: lavendula

                  Green Goddess is new since you last visited, and has great vegetarian AND great meat dishes. But they're tiny and don't take reservations, and might be busy during Jazz Fest. I'd give it a shot though, it's a pretty can't miss experience. It's in the Quarter.

                  -----
                  Green Goddess
                  307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

                  1. re: uptownlibrarian

                    Here is a link for Vegetarian Friendly suggestions:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/646629

                    Another link, Vegan Orleans many in the downtown FQ area:
                    http://www.veganorleans.com/

                  2. re: lavendula

                    Bennachins is always at Jazz Fest too, so you can save yourself a trip. Jama Jama and plaintains with lots of hot sauce is so good. Also, don't forget the mango freezes at the fest! If you can get into Lola's that's the place to be--right near the racetrack and delicious with veg and omni offerings, but they don't take reservations and it's cash only for out of towners.

                    1. re: kittee

                      Thanks for the reccs! I am also looking for the Best Jazz Brunch - food & music wise. I have a list of a few and want to pick one....

                      10 AM Jazz Brunch with the Gumbo Trio
                      Arnaud's Jazz Bistro
813 Bienville St.

                      ----------------------
                      Jazz Brunch with Chip Wilson 11am
                      Columns Hotel, The
3811 St. Charles Avenue

                      -------------------------
                      Jazz Brunch with Joe Krown 11:30am
                      Ralphs on the Park
900 City Park Ave.
                      ----------------
                      Jazz Brunch Tim Laughling 11am -2pm
                      Roosevelt Hotel - Blue Room
123 Baronne St 


                      Or if there is a different one that is better, I am all ears :)

                      1. re: lavendula

                        Commander's Palace, Muriel's and Antoine's also have a jazz brunch. (If you are looking for vegetarian items, I'd call the restaurant first to see what they have or check the online menu)

                        Check this link out:
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7006...

                        -----
                        Commander's Palace Restaurant
                        1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

                        Antoine's Restaurant
                        713 Saint Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                        Muriel's Jackson Square
                        801 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

                        1. re: Suzy Wong

                          Thanks! Yes, if anyone knows of a veggie-friendly Jazz Brunch, that would be super.

                          1. re: lavendula

                            Most of the restaurants have a web site with the brunch menu, that's one way of checking out what they have in re to vegetarian. I don't think there is one with mostly dishes of that kind.

                            1. re: Suzy Wong

                              I was able to get a reservation for the jazz brunch at commanders palace...any thoughts?

                              I tried for a ressie at Restaurant August but it was completely booked for the week I will be there. Any other, "don't miss" experiences that I should aim for?

                              Thanks!

                              -----
                              Restaurant August
                              301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                              1. re: lavendula

                                I've been reading up and have a few questions:

                                *I know there are vegetarian po boys and other sandwiches at 13 Monaghan (on Frenchmen). Are they any good? How are the meat po boys (for the hubby)?

                                *Cochon - Do you generally need to make a reservation for dinner here?

                                I've been having trouble getting dinner reservations, but have been booking pre-fest meals:

                                Lunch at Restaurant August
                                Jazz Brunch at Commanders Palace
                                Brunch at Patois

                                What are your best pics for 9pm - 10:30 pm dinners without reservations?

                                I'm thinking Green Goddess one night, one night something like Cochon or 13, and then one night maybe try Jacques Imos, Boucherie, or Herbsaint depending on who can accommodate me the best!

                                Thanks!!

                                :) :) :)

                                -----
                                Restaurant August
                                301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                Cochon
                                930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                                Herbsaint
                                701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                Green Goddess
                                307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                Boucherie
                                8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                                1. re: lavendula

                                  Okay, and 1 more question! I just looked and Emeril's Del Monico is located right across the street from our hotel. Any good???

                                  -----
                                  Emeril's Restaurant
                                  800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                  1. re: lavendula

                                    Have you tried looking into Domenica in the Roosevelt Hotel? Very! good food, Italian, but not what one would expect (+non meat choices, etc)
                                    http://www.domenicarestaurant.com/res...

                                    I believe they are open until 11 on Fri and Sat

                                    -----
                                    Domenica
                                    123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

                                    1. re: lavendula

                                      I don't think Cochon is a very good choice of restaurants if you are looking for vegetarian friendly options.

                                      -----
                                      Cochon
                                      930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                    2. re: lavendula

                      Bennachin is one of my maim go to places in the Quarter... but you have to know what you can take for heat. One time it took three white russians across the street to make me breathe normally again :)

                      -----
                      Bennachin Restaurant
                      1212 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116

                2. Satsuma Cafe‎
                  3218 Dauphine Street, New Orleans, LA 70117
                  (504) 304-5962‎

                  This cafe serves very fresh, delicious food and will happily cater to vegeterians and vegans alike. Check out their facebook page...Enjoy!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: chanterelle

                    What an intense eating weekend we had! I must say that with a little planning, a vegetarian should have no issues at all eating in this amazing foodie city.

                    Here is what we ended up doing:

                    Thursday:
                    lunch: fairgrounds
                    cocktails: Sazerac Bar
                    dinner: Domenica

                    Friday:
                    breakfast: next door to our hotel (St. Charles Tavern)
                    lunch: fairgrounds
                    dinner: Green Goddess

                    Saturday:
                    Brunch: Commanders Palace
                    Dinner: Restaurant August

                    Sunday:
                    Brunch: Patois
                    Dinner: Emerils

                    Needless to say, we ate well.

                    At the fairgrounds, I found the usual suspects to pick from: Jama Jama with plaintains, veggie red beans & rice, veggie pita pocket, etc. I tried the Vegetarian Ya Ka Mein and was totally disappointed. It was like soy sauce and water with stale noodles. Ick. The Jama Jama is my definite favorite. We also tried the mac & cheese from the kids tent this year! I have to say, for a kids mac and cheese, it was covered in oil and pepper - kinda weird. Hubby's fav. was the soft shell crab po boy. For beverages it was the Rosemint Ice Tea, lightly sweetened, and Pilsers. For dessert - the homemade pecan pie. Yum.

                    Sazerac Bar: Exactly what we needed after a long flight, little sleep, and a full day at the fairgrounds. The bar wasn't crowded, was quiet, cool, and the drinks were fantastic. Awesome.

                    Domenica: We choose to eat here more at of convenience being that we were already in the Roosevelt hotel. The maitre d was pretty uppity and suggested that without a reservation there would be a pretty slim chance of us grabbing a seat at the bar. Within minutes, I grabbed a bar table and we were all set. We started with the arugula salad with gorgonzola, picante, pistachios & tomatoes. We split a large size and it was still pretty small. The salad was really delicious but a bit overdressed. My hubby was over the moon with his dish, the linguine allo scoglio. He hadn't tasted seafood that fresh in quite awhile. He thought the pasta was a little bit greasy, but the flavor and seafood were so fantastic that he got over it real quick. I had the Goat cheese tortelloni with fava beans, tomatoes & asked them to hold the guanciale. The pasta was almost too al dente, but once you bit into it, the goat cheese was so fresh and moist that it all made sense. They have a really interesting Italian beer selection and the service was great. We were off to a great start. More reviews to come later.

                    -----
                    Restaurant August
                    301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                    Emeril's Restaurant
                    800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

                    Green Goddess
                    307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

                    Domenica
                    123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

                    1. re: lavendula

                      hi lavendula. thanks for your report, very useful! just out of interest, what did you eat at emeril's as a vegetarian? i want to go there on our trip, but my boyfriend is veggie and looking at the menu i cant't see anything that he could eat. did you call ahead?
                      also, what was restaurant august like for veggies? i'm considering that as well.
                      thanks!

                      1. re: belma79

                        Apologies I'm not lavendula, and I'm sure she can/will answer what you asked. But interesting interview with Emeril in this link below, where he talks about vegetarian dishes at Emeril's. Last question towards the bottom:
                        http://www.famousinterview.ca/intervi...

                        I believe August has/had a vgetarian tasting menu, you may want to call to be sure. Not to sound like a broken record, but as one who lives in New Orleans vacillates between pescetarian and vegetarian, don't close your options to a great New Orleans cuisine experience. Pretty much anywhere one goes will have non meat, dairy etc choice(s)....Have a great vacation!

                        1. re: Suzy Wong

                          thanks suzy! a bit of a vague answer from emeril, but it sounds as if he could accomodate my boyfriend, although i should probably call ahead. thanks again, i'm sure i'll have a great time in NOLA!

                          1. re: belma79

                            They actually made me a full on special vegetarian option @ Emeri's. It was tofu "scallops" and were quite tasty. That being said, Emeri's was our least favorite dinner as hubby didn't enjoy his chicken (dry) and the restaurant just seemed so commercial/fake. Restaurant August was hands down the best and created a full vegetarian feast for me :)

                            -----
                            Restaurant August
                            301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                  2. Heading back to Jazz Fest for the 3rd time! Wondering what the latest and greatest restaurants are to try, and advice would be appreciated :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lavendula

                      Should also mention that we are staying in the Warehouse District. Looking forward to some suggestions of anything new to try :)

                    2. Here are a couple of places that cater to mixed groups:

                      Carmo (vegan, vegetarian, seafood, meat)
                      13 (vegan, vegetarian, meat)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bembom

                        Thanks, I will check them out!

                        Also wondering if there are any other great Jazz Brunch's besides the one at Commanders Palace?

                        1. re: lavendula

                          Mr. B's has a nice jazz brunch (BBQ shrimp) - with a three piece band