Vintage Garden Kitchen

Writers say “this place is a hidden gem!” so often, I immediately make my hipster face and often move on to read something else… But you guys! Vintage Garden Kitchen is actually a gem of a café and it’s actually hidden!

Hidden Gem huhh
Did she literally just say “Hidden Gem?” OMG how trite/moot/banal. Whatever, I’VE been there at least 7 times already. Look, I just took a selfie there today! Pff, who deos this poser think she is?

I found VGK* online last December, searching for a salad near my new apartment on the first day I moved in (i.e., no food in the house yet and who knows where the plates are, anyway?). I told Ben, the café guy, that I was new in the neighborhood but not to the city, and he has been very neighborly ever since. So is the owner/chef and the one café girl (Melanin! Beautiful, delicious melanin, yay!) whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting twice. I don’t usually stay for hours on end because there’s only one electrical outlet for my baby* to feed on, but I’m glad I stayed today. Even the music is good; chill-but-not-sleepy with very few words, if any.

I’ve been here about 7 or 8 times this year and I really like the menu; imagine the “World Music” CD they sell at the botanical gardens, only the songs are in salad, wrap, and sandwich form. I’m trying to say it’s diverse, people! Lots of fresh veggies on everything with boucoup homemade sauces and dressings. There are meaty options, but the concept is plant-based without being in-your-face about it. Vintage Garden also features a good smoothie menu (watch out for yogurt if your diet is dairy-free) and great soups you can have to stay, or to-go with a ‘complimentary’ (as in, ‘included with the price of soup’) mason jar!

Vintage also does daily lunch specials, which is great for the folks who work or stay long-term at Touro who want some variety that’s still relatively health-conscious. If you visit on Friday you should skip the menu get the Thai curry special. Trust me, just do it. Unless you’re afraid of gentle coconut-milky spiciness… or maybe you don’t want to eat something hot when it’s in the 90os outside, that’s fair. Luckily, everything I’ve had is good, so just pick what feels right. So far my faves from the regular menu are the Soup + Bread + Build-your-own-side-salad Combo, with ginger miso dressing; After ‘Shroom Delight Sandwich; & Chocolate Malta (chocolate, peanut butter, banana, yogurt) Smoothie.**

One would expect there to be healthy breakfast and lunch places close to a hospital, but… you know…

thisisamerica Enhanced
Oh! Haven’t you heard about the Standard American Diet (SAD)???

#thisISamerica AND the #deepsouth where #deepfried is considered “healthy enough” by many… yeah I’ll go ahead and say “most.” Healthy eating isn’t as stigmatized as it was 5 or 10 years ago, but it’s still considered an “alternative lifestyle” if you eat more veggies than meat and starches. In that regard, I appreciate Vintage Garden Kitchen for giving people a choice that isn’t a SAD (Standard American Diet) one, especially being so close to a hospital.

If you prefer your food more conventional and less medicinal, there is a corner store next door (technically, it’s in the middle of the block, so does that make it a bodega instead? Please comment below!) and a pub/grill on the corner, and a not-sit-down-coffee shop, all on the same block. Interestingly, these establishments pop up on google maps much sooner than VGK if you’re just zooming in, so search for Vintage Garden Kitchen at 1514 Delachaise near Prytania.

Even with all the competition (I didn’t even mention the hospital food they have to compete with!), Vintage Garden Kitchen does good business. The first lunch rush was largely take-out for hospital workers, followed by a full house of diners during the second and third pops of activity after noon. It’s worth noting that the people working never seemed flustered or rushed; they worked quickly and quietly together, which is how a kitchen should work. They probably get a good rush for breakfast too, but that ends at 10 and I got here at 11, when it was just another couple and me.

Since then I’ve been fed and relaxed and productive, with endless refills of tea. I’ll definitely do this again. Thanks for joining me. Let’s chat about corner stores, bodegas and eating habits in the comments, why not? Namaste, y’all.

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*Notes:

*By “baby” I of course mean my healthy, handsome new laptop, Nikodemus II. Fortunately for us, he only eats electricity.

**I’m not sure if anybody really calls it VGK, so let’s assume only people cool enough to let you know that “only the cool people call it that” call it that. Damn. I might be actually be a hipster! Can we start making “you might be a hipster” jokes the way Jeff Foxworthy makes redneck jokes, yet? Please?? Give it your best shot in the comments, the target is bigger than my own inflated sense of entitlement ; )

*** I might even get that smoothie for the road because I’m secretly a hedonist ~ I mean.. I because want to reward myself for posting something today… yeah, we’ll go with that.

Cafe Envie ~ Upriver

July 12th, 2018: Changed title of Homepage post from “What is this?” to “Where am I?” I think it goes better leading in to the disco ball metaphor.

On my 2nd or 3rd steep of tea, Café Girl,* L., asked me what I was working on and I told her about my blog, half-jokingly. To me “I’m working on my blog” sounds pretentious AF no matter how you say it, so I might as well say it pretentiously. I also fear that I come across as pretentious whenever I talk about what I do ~ can’t say I do it for a living yet, but here we are: putting one foot in front of the other. What do I do? I’m a Yoga Therapist/Life-Coach.

 

 

7.12 UpperEnvvie Tea
“Life Coach?”… Really?… ::sips tea::

L and I talked about whether Life-Coach still sounds as fake and pretentious as it did the last time I heard it discussed… in a psychology class… 10 years ago… it does. I said “it sounds like I’m full of shit, right?” L said “it sounds like something rich people pay a lot of money for.” To which I replied “hey, I’m not opposed to that.” L agreed.

When I say I’m a Yoga Therapist, people (L included) don’t usually know what I mean, but no preconceived notion is definitely better than a negative one. People who are immediately attracted to my “job title” make the most compatible clients. People who are immediately repulsed by the words “yoga” &/or “therapy” could probably benefit the most from working with me, but I’ve never talked someone from that end of the spectrum into giving it a try. Hopefully I at least plant the idea-seeds that yoga is therapeutic, that people in America who look like me practice yoga and therapy; that yoga and therapy may look different than what most people expect…

Oh yeah, the review:

If you didn’t know, there are two locations of Envie Espresso Bar and Café in the French Quarter. I like the one on UPPER Decatur (308 @Conti versus 1241 @Barracks) because it’s closer to bike to and generally smells a lot better. I was there from roughly 9-11 pm on a Thursday. Totally clean, no line/crowd, as you’d expect. Absolutely Zero cracktivity in all this time, which could be attributed to the New Moon (opposite of full, so no crazys?), how BRIGHT the lights were on, or just really good luck. L’s partner came in and cuddled a bit at an empty table when she wasn’t busy, now he’s helping her with the trash ~ ALL of which I think only makes this experience cuter. Never did his presence interfere with her work & like I said, the place was spotless (Don’t come for her!).

It’s about time for me to leave to catch the last streetcar, but now I want to stay! At first it was difficult to think of what to write about, but once I started editing my first post ever, I was thoroughly engaged, despite how baggy my eyelids feel.

7.12 UpperEnvie Meh
It’s bright, okay! This is why you keep sunglasses on you at all times, people.

Okay, problem solved: the song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” is playing, and I want to pack up because I know it won’t get better than this ^_^ The only downside is now I’m thinking of Tingyo.. at least I have a cute text to send him. Thank you, The Shirelles ❤

 

 

*Usually I detest calling women “girls,” but I call myself and others Café Girl sometimes because I think it’s cute 🙂 What do you think? Comment below, if you wish.

The Journey Begins

 

The best place to start is where you are now.

7.11 cafe thoughtful
Where to begin…?

Right now I’m in a café that years ago someone told me was a good place to “meet women.” Yes, like as in “pick up girls.” So far, no good. I’ve clocked a few folks who my Gaydar reads as possibly~family (“family” is Queerspeak for “Also Queer”), but it’s my 2nd time here this year and the aggregate score for the Count the PoC Game* has been under 5… including myself and staff members.

Heheh… “staff members….”

7.11 cafe lip
Pretty sure he’s gay, but… hola!

Not that I won’t date a whyte-passing person, I’m just limiting their opportunities to make up for my dating history, which was sorely lacking in diversity for many years. More on that later. I’m not even out here fishing for women *or* men today. I’m here to put some ink on the ole web~page.

The café is called HiVolt, located in the Garden District, a pleasant stroll away from where Magazine, Camp and a street called Happiness (Felicity) make a lovely pocket-park.

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If you’re biking here, BEWARE THE COBBLESTONES ON FELICITY STREET! The music has alternated between “damn I gotta invest in some noise-canceling headphones” and “ooh, chill grungey 90s alt-rock radio, this is nice!” Everything Else about HiVolt is great: food & drink options are Omnivore and Vegan-friendly. Art, decor, lighting, self-serve water, environmental consciousness, kind staff, clean restrooms… it’s all legit. I’ll be back.

Thanks for joining me!

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This image came with the template… Enjoy!

*Count the PoC (People of Color) Game is the game you play when there aren’t enough Blaq people to win the Count the Blaq People Game**

**Start with yourself, that’s 0-1 point and almost always a losing score. A score of 2-5 is only problematic in large groups. More than 5 is where I feel like I can relax. In a crowd, I look for “at least 5%.” I think I got this number from the racial ratios of the educational institutions I attended growing up.

How do you play “Count the PoC?” Have you n/ever heard of this game? If you like, leave a comment below. Namaste, y’all

7.11 cafe updo

The best place to start is where you are now. ~ Ashley Jemini