When you go to New Orleans there are things that you just do.
Visit Bourbon Street, check.
Walk the French Quarter, double check.
Get beignets at Café du Monde, well, no because I was on a vegan diet to lower my cholesterol, but I smelled them and they were nearly irresistible, if it weren’t for the fact that I’d spent the 2 weeks prior making vegan beignets at home and thusly gorging myself on them so I was pretty much ok not having any at that point.
Eat a veggie burger at a bar off Bourbon Street at 1am. NOooooooooo.
Matt had a client in New Orleans that invited me to come down and they’d cover the airfare. I hadn’t been away from our kids, well ever (that’s 11 ½ years if your counting), and my family offered graciously to help out, so I was all like “It’ll be just like the MTV Spring Break I never got to participate in!” and jumped at the chance. It was going to be a quick trip; we worked most of the time, Matt doing his thing, me photographing the city, the church and their services, and a couple families and in general just being my awesome/awkward self.
We did go out on the town the night we flew in, which btw, I did fine on the plane despite instructing my sister on who to call to raise the kids when our plan when down. I’m really fun when my
psychosis paranoia responsible side kicks in. Anyway, once in New Orleans, we hit our beautiful boutique hotel’s bar, and walked the town at night; through the CBD, the French Quarter, down Bourbon street, and eventually around 1 am, to some place off Bourbon Street known for it’s salty, sticky, cholesterol raising, peanut butter, bacon burger, sure to send your heart into palpitations the moment your teeth sink into it’s bun.
Except being on a strict vegan diet, I went with the guacamole veggie burger without cheese or mayo.
Now, first of all, the person who escorted us to this, uh, well quite frankly hole in the wall, was completely unfamiliar with the fact this place even had something that wasn’t flavored, infused, stuffed, or possibly even sautéed in meat. This was the first sign I should have just stuck to french fries and eaten something later.
The second sign should have come when in response to my order of said veggie burger; the bartender said “What? I didn’t even know we had that.”
Ok, so, the menu contained like 5 sandwiches, including the veggie burger. It wasn’t some buried treasure some where on the menu; it was like the third item down.
Do I listen to that tiny nagging voice that says, “SLOW THE FUCK DOWN, something’s not right.”? No, because it is 1am and I haven’t had dinner, and I’m about to eat the freaking coasters under our drinks.
Nor did I pause when the burger actually came to me and I swear to all things, it looked like a guacamole smeared, crusty, brillo pad. I’m pretty sure I was the first person to ever order one in the history of the establishment, and it had been sitting in the back of some freezer, probably defrosted and refrozen a multitude of times.
And yet, I put that thing in my mouth, and chewed it up and swallowed. It wasn’t good. It wasn’t even ok. I don’t even know where to begin with it. Actually I do, but I’d prefer not to get into it, least it’s ghost begin rising from the pit of my stomach to revisit me. Haunting by vegan burger is not the way I want to spend any part of my life.
Eventually we made our way back to the hotel, tipsy, exhausted, and generally reeking of eau de New Orleans, a mixture of pee, sewer, stranger sex, and cheep booze. Despite this being the first time we’d had a night away from the kids, AND being in a lovely hotel, there was sadly no hanky panky to be had. Because by 3 am, I was quivering in front of the porcelain god, cold sweating, delirious, and seeing that awful veggie burger once again. and again, and again. Until about 7am, when I fell into bed, exhausted, having dry heaved my way into oblivion.
I’m used to having a sensitive stomach, and if there is contamination to be ingested, I will undoubtedly be the one to do it. I know what food poisoning feels like from meals from such places as; the bbq place out of a trailer, the steamy, slightly ghetto, Chinese place by my moms, the nouveau American place we ate for my birthday (there was no indication this was going to give me the pukes), the thai place that has since been torn down, the pizza place that was in a gas station, actually I’m thinking maybe it’s my choice of venues. Either way, this was a very mild case. I only felt that queasy, I’ve been impregnated less than 12 weeks and should subsist on saltines and ginger ale and wear an airplane barf bag around my neck, for the rest of the day.
And yet, despite this experience, I have come to realize I’m apparently a glutton for punishment from food. Because by lunchtime, I was ordering a veggie dog, from a place that specialized in a dish called the “Garbage Pail.”
I make poor food decisions.