Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Xmas Day




Two days a year, Robert and Elizabeth of Fair Grinds Coffeehouse give their staff the day off and pour free coffee on behalf of a non-profit, and that non-profit's volunteers or staff help with making more coffee and maybe bringing treats for folks to eat.
This year, New Orleans Food and Farm Network is the helper and the beneficiary. Marilyn Yank (and visiting friend Miriam) were on hand to grind beans, hit the start button on the coffeemaker and keep the cups and tops available.
The looks on peoples faces as they come in and see food, coffee and calm faces with no consumer transactions (unless you feel like donating) is wonderful and worthwhile on any day, but especially on this day.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Lunch on wheels



Musa, Veda and I biked to the French Quarter this week (me on my amazing 1970 folding bike bought last week from Recycle Bicycles at the Festivus Market), Musa on his recumbent, and Veda on her favored pink cruiser. Rolled past the silent and shuttered Lafitte Projects (a federal crime to see them closed for over 2 years while low-income housing needs rise), then did the Yooey (Uturn to peds) from Basin to get to Toulouse to enter the Quarter.


We stopped at Matassa's grocery, and let Veda go in to check the hot food counter out; She will find out if the food was made by the woman who has worked there 25 years or if it was pre-made, I guarantee you. Musa and I sit outside chatting with the regulars who hang out, discuss a new cell phone tower disguised as a round thing, and look at the rooftops, discussing the pitch of each, and whether dormer windows are a good or bad idea.


Veda finally comes out with a wrapped plate of black-eye peas with ham and 4 pieces of sausage, 3 pieces of French Bread and 3 beers. We ride to the river, find a bench and open the beers and the container, marveling at the taste and the amount of food that we got for 5.95. Really, 3 meals easily.
The beer is the new Abita IPA; quite excellent.
Veda reports details of the conversation that she had had with the Matassa's staff while we eat and drink; she asked them about each and every dish, ferreting out what was freshest and localest. There is a openness in New Orleans on these matters; food staff understand why we ask when the food was made (and who made it), if the seafood is local, or for a taste of everything before we buy it.
Because we care.
The local palate is sophisticated and sure of itself, so best to be upfront about the information brother, or they will come back to see ya after they eat...

After we ate and drank as much as we could (and packed the rest up), we got back on the bikes and rolled a bit more and then headed home, pleased with the choices we had made, and glad that we stopped at the smallest yet best food counter in the Quarter on that day.