This is a visual representation of me dancing with my old dead blog, much like Lestat dancing with the plague-ridden corpse of Claudia’s mother. There’s life in the old girl yet! etc. If you’re wondering why this is an appropriate analogy and accompanying image for a food blog, you would be right to ask: naturally, we are going to delve into my neglected stash of New Orleans tofu porn and get our vicarious travel on.
Before my trip, my pal Nisha sent me the menu for a veggie-friendly place called Green Goddess. On one of my last days, our senses were dulled with NOLA-style hangovers (clue: they hit hard, they hit fast, they hit you right in the nuts of your soul). We needed sustenance of the virtuous kind, so we headed to Green Goddess in the French Quarter and were devastated to discover it was closed. I fucking ask you.
So it was heavy hearts and throbbing heads that we headed across the Quarter to Bennachin, an African eaterie on Royal. Don’t be fooled by those empty seats: I snapped this picture before a larger party took the middle table. The warm saffron walls, chilled African music and large glass of unsweetened iced tea did the trick and by the end of our meal, we were ready to get our drink on.
The menu features dishes from Cameroon and Gambia, and as you can see, is gloriously vegetable-heavy. I ordered Kone ni Makondo – a fragrantly spiced tomato stew thick with black-eyed peas, served with a pile of coconut rice, fried plantain and a bread roll.
The portions were absolutely enormous – I couldn’t eat even half of my plate, but we packed our leftovers into take out boxes and enjoyed them later on, when we were hungry after an evening of drinking. Yes, we were hungover but need I remind you, we were still in New Orleans. Although a little spicy for this tender-tongued Brit, the stew was simple but richly flavoured.
The plantain rocked my world, though. Fried crisp, naturally sweet with a hint of caramel on the darkest edges, I could have eaten a whole plate of that. Perhaps next time, I will.
There are a number of vegan options on the menu, and rumour has it Bennachin is a BYOB restaurant, although we were happy to nurse our hangovers with glasses of iced tea and cold water.
I dismayed to see a few negative reviews on Happy Cow – I’ll be totally honest, I would have been happier with a smaller portion for a slightly more reasonable price, but the service was great, the food was delicious and none of it went to waste.