I always struggle whenever I come to the US to find what I consider to be healthy, tasty food. I say this because of course this provides an immediate bias to my experiences here.
So last night as I was wandering around I was also looking for somewhere to eat, hoping to get a normal portion of food that was reasonably light and healthy. Your first and most immediate offerings are all the well-known chains such as MacDonald’s, Subway, Arby’s etc, but then there is also the chain sit down restaurants. The menu’s are largely consistent between them all, the variation being the naming of the dish. New Orleans is of course famous for its seafood, but not being a big seafood eater that line of fare is somewhat irrelevant.
In the end I went into the Harah Casino opposite the hotel to see what was there. My first foray was to the buffet restaurant where (wisely) I asked to have a look at the selection prior to deciding. There is only really one descriptive “appalling”. You also have to understand the context. it was a large restaurant, full of a lot of very obese people, each working their way through a mountain of food. The food buffet itself was large (as you would expect), but the food was atrocious. Without exception it was overcooked, the colour had been steamed out of the vegetables, a lot of deep-fried things, and cholesterol loaded desserts. Eating here was out of the question. I then found out that there was an Asian themed restaurant which I ended up going to as I prefer Asian food to western food any time. Well, what do I say. You could loosely describe it as ‘Asian themed’ because of the name “Bambu” and 90% of the menu was actually stock standard western food with an Asian name i.e. ‘Saigon Chicken’. There was a small handful of Asian ‘inspired’ dishes and I settled on a Vietnamese Pork & Rice platter. Initially I was quite excited because as the plate was delivered I saw a bowl of steamed rice and then lettuce, tomato, cucumber and grated carrot on the plate along with my Vietnamese pork.
Here it goes; the cucumber, tomato and lettuce had zero, and I mean zero flavour. I have no idea how that was achieved, but achieve it they did. The grated carrot had a vaguely chemical taste and the steamed rice was actually a fairly solid ball, which resisted all initial attempts to separate it into individual grains. The pork was grossly overcooked. It was without a doubt one of these meals that would have benefited by throwing it directly into the toilet, cutting out the middle man.
Beside me at the next table were 2 afro american ladies who were both GROSSLY overweight. Their first course arrived which was a large plate of deep-fried something. What got my attention was that they joined hands over the table, closed their eyes, bowed their heads and proceeded to thank God for delivering them an early coronary.
I asked at the hotel if there is a China Town in NOLA, but apparently not. I can see that I am going to be seriously ‘food challenged’ this week.
The one bright note is even though I really need to lose 5 kgs myself, I am positively anorexic compared to most of the people here.