new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Cafe Rani: Non-Bacon Based Food in NOLA?!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cafe Rani: Non-Bacon Based Food in NOLA?!

Cafe Rani
(504) 895-2500 ·

This pleasant little cafe on Magazine has some great vegetarian and light options in a city that is extremely dependent on lard. For that alone, it's gonna see some repeat business from me. Shall we elaborate? (Oh yes!)

The menu relies on slightly foofoo salads, sandwiches, quesadillas, and pastas, with a few interesting appetizers thrown in - I want to try the stuffed artichoke ($7.95) like wow. Prices are wonderfully, magically low - music to the ears of this poverty-ridden college student.

I decided to opt for the Grilled Salmon Salad, primarily because I have never met a slab of pink fish meat that I didn't like. (Not that I am often formally introduced to dead fish.) I was able to substitute sun dried tomatoes for walnuts, and yes, I know I am trapped in an 80's time warp, whatever. The salad was very large indeed and came with delicious, quickly boiled haricorts verts on top - yummy. The salmon filet was less huge then the rest of the salad, but cooked to my specifications and quite tasty. For $8.95, it's a total deal, and it also took me more then five minutes to eat. If you know me, that's impressive. (I come from the inhalation school of eating. I am a delicate fleur.)

My buddy Amanda is a vegetarian, which is not exactly easy to deal with this in this town, where bacon is considered a viable condiment. She was happy to find the Mediterranean Sandwich, containing roasted red pepper, spinach, cucumber, tomato, pesto sauce, avocado, sprouts, red onion, cheese and god knows what else on a nice hunk of ciabatta, complete with a side salad. For $6.95, it was one big ol' sandwich, and she was able to take half home for lunch tomorrow. Definite thumbs up.

Rani boasts a whole bunch of house-made salad dressings, all of which looked tasty: I liked the honey-lemon vinaigrette very much indeed. I'll definitely try out the Pepper-Jelly vinaigrette next time for comparison purposes. Rani also has a full espresso and coffee bar, which could be a nice option if one is inclined to linger over dinner.

The dining area is homey and rather upscale inside, and pleasant and open outside: I liked the large and illuminated tree in the center of the courtyard. We've had pleasant and warm weather here in NOLA of late, and it was a real treat to eat a tasty, healthy meal outside in some nice weather. Rani isn't cutting edge cuisine, but it does scratch the healthy Wednesday-night supper itch I am prone to, and that is a good thing.

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