Unknown Food Critic
Today we wrap up a series to help connect some of your New Year's resolutions to the New Orleans dining world. For the final edition, we've saved what some will surely consider the most challenging: eating healthier. That has been a tall order at New Orleans restaurants for a long time, but times and tastes have been changing. New eateries have emerged to answer the call for lighter, healthier fare. When you're on the go and looking for a meal that won't slow you down, here are four new options:
Fresh Bar NOLA:6101 Magazine St. 504-309-9513
Fresh Bar is part of a growing trend around the country the custom, build-your-own bar for salads and wraps. Step right up and the crew here assembles a fresh salad to your specifications from some 40 or so ingredients, or pick one of their specialty combinations. Quinoa, tofu, edamame, goat cheese and hearts of palm are all part of the mix, along with meats and shrimp, and there's a long list of dressings. The setting is bright, modern and upbeat and they get you in and out quick.
Carmo Cafe:527 Julia St., New Orleans, 504-875-4132
We usually think steak when we think Brazilian food. But Carmo is a tiny spot in the Warehouse District that serves a Brazilian dining experience of a whole different order. This place specializes in fresh, different, often complex tropical cooking with traditional Brazilian dishes and many other influences from Africa to Asia. While it is not a vegetarian restaurant per se, vegan substitutions are available for many of the dishes, providing an intriguing meatless option. The dinner menu expands things even further with more complex entrees and cocktails made with tropical juices.
Super Food Bar:4113 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504-891-7733
It's easy to whiz right past this tiny storefront on Magazine Street, but its devotees know this is the spot to find 'superfoods,' an array of fixings like avocados, cashews and coconuts that are densely packed with nutrients. Walk in and you're already right at the counter of this very small space, which is strictly take-out. You'll find smoothies, wraps, salads, granola and more snacks. The menu is entirely vegan, and much of it is made with raw foods. A recent salad, for instance, was made with arugula, broccoli and onion sprouts tossed in Jerusalem artichoke/goji berry vinaigrette, with an avocado filled with a green 'superfood' ranch-style dressing and crunchy, dehydrated coconut 'bacon.'
Satsuma Cafe:3218 Dauphine St., New Orleans, 504-304-5962; 7901 Maple St New Orleans, 504-309-5557
It's increasingly common to hear fine-dining chefs all over town crowing about their local ingredients and relationship with farmers, but few places at the casual, inexpensive end of the restaurant scene embrace this revived farm-to-table approach as tightly as Satsuma Cafe. They've recently expanded, with a new Uptown location near the universities in addition to the original in the Bywater. Both look like coffee shops, and they can function that way too. But the allure isn't the coffee so much as the crops. Satsuma Cafe spins locally-sourced, organically-grown raw ingredients into affordable breakfast and lunch dishes that feel healthy and taste delicious.