The health-conscious staff at City Blends Smoothie Café blends sweet yet nutritious smoothies that serve as refreshing beverages or meal replacements. Their menu unveils a wide variety of flavors—including peach mango, chocolate peanut butter banana, and orange vanilla--amped up with such nutritional supplements as protein, energy, and a fat-loss blend. They also cast a healthy spin on frosty desserts in the form of creamy frozen yogurt and snowmen with Brussels sprouts for eyes.
It's no small feat to whip up one of The Olive Branch Café's gourmet pizzas. The painstaking process begins long before lunchtime, with chefs preparing dough fresh for the day each morning. There's barely a moment to rest before orders begin flying in and the pizza makers spring into action, showering crusts with housemade sauces and high-quality cheeses. Their brows furrowed in concentration, their hands blurs, they layer pizzas with fresh garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and fine spanish olives. Once the pies arrive triumphantly to the dining room, the chefs turn their attention to thick muffuletta subs, plump meatball calzones, and the jambalaya pastas that caught the attention of Gambit’s Best of New Orleans guide.
Out in the casual dining room, beneath warm red walls peppered with abstract art, guests clink glasses, feeling more content than a robot in a microchip factory. There, owner Russell "Rusty" Autry often strolls around the room, greeting newcomers and exchanging jokes with regulars.
"Owner Madison Curry's warm, smiling presence is underscored by baked goods that all but dare not to be ordered." This quote from a NOLA.com article hints at Il Posto's charm. But it only encapsulates a fraction of what makes the cafe so interesting. Italian cuisine forms the backbone of the menu, which features paninis such as the Bologna with mortadella, roasted red peppers, and balsamic dressing, as well as fontina grilled cheeses with inventive add-ins such as tuna, honey, and walnuts. Antipasti spreads can be built from a choice of meats or cheeses. In the mornings, on the other hand, the restaurant brews and serves its own house-blend coffee. Their java complements bagels, organic granola, and a rotating selection of pastries that can't stay long, as they have to get back to starring in peoples' dreams.
Chef David Gotter brings his mighty cache of culinary insight to the fresh, sophisticatedly simple menu at Gambit award-winning Gott Gourmet Café. House-cooked meats mingle with organic herbs, and produce schmoozes with artful interpretation in dishes such as the slow-braised pulled-pork wrap, a tortilla snuggler hugging ancho-honey slaw, roasted tomatoes, avocado, greens, and chili sour cream ($9.95). Salads and soups are also conjured by hand, evidenced by the blue-corn fried-oyster baby-spinach salad ($11.95) and the loaded gumbo, chocked with andouille, chicken, shrimp, crab, ham, okra, and a small wallop of potato salad ($6.50−$8.50). Members of the environment will be glad to know Gott Gourmet is committed to sustainability, with to-go containers derived from corn, sugar cane, and everlasting gobstoppers.
Beaucoup Juice blends local flavors with South and Central American flair in an array of sippable fruit concoctions, as well as breakfast and lunch fare. The bayou berry smoothie melds blueberries, bananas, strawberries, soy milk, and Brazilian superberry açaí ($5), allowing customers to ingest enough nutrients to achieve superhero status without the pesky side effects of radioactive spiders. Patrons seeking to cool their corpuses the natural way can gobble up a juice-drizzled snowball ($3 for a small; $4 for a large) in distinctive flavors such as pineapple-mint and local blueberry. To complete thirst-quenching quests, patrons can opt for fresh fruit juice ($5) that transforms watermelons, pineapples, and mangos into their 16-ounce liquid alter egos. Those seeking solid sustenance can inaugurate the morning with a New York bagel and cream cheese ($2.50) or launch lunches with the Treme wrap, which bundles hoisin grilled chicken with feta cheese and an array of vegetables ($6).
The only full-menu vegetarian restaurant in andouille-stuffed New Orleans, Café Bamboo features a playfully eclectic menu of Thai-, Latin-, and Cajun-inspired dishes. The gloriously alliterative caramelized cauliflower crustini ($5) tops crunchy french bread with a sweet browned-onion and cauliflower salad, which pairs wonderfully alongside a coconut-blended tomato-anise soup ($4 cup/$6 bowl) with assorted vegetables. The sampler rice bowl ($13) is a veritable United Nations of flavor, featuring Creole tofu in tomato and pepper sauce, peanuty West African mafe, green Thai curry, and vindaloo over a bowl of white or brown rice. Veggie and meat eaters alike can get a taste of southern soul food with the Sol Chik'n Dinner ($13), savory fried soy "chicken" served with Sol bell-pepper relish, cornbread, and mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, just like your alternate-universe vegetarian grandma used to make. Night owls will enjoy the late-night menu's selection of fingerfuls of fried favorites such as mozzarella sticks (4 for $5/6 for $6), Chik'n nuggets ($6), and mini egg rolls (4 for $5/6 for $6).