new Things I Ate in Cambodia: MLK day, bennachin, parades!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK day, bennachin, parades!!!

Martin Luther King's birthday was today. We were reminded over and over again on Friday NOT TO COME TO SCHOOL ON MONDAY. I guess more people forget then one might think.

Amanda and I decided to head down to the French Quarter to enjoy the lovely (if windy) weather and try out Bennachin, a Gambian restaurant on Royal Street that I'd regarded with curiosity in the past.

No one had alerted us about the MLK Day Parade, but we found out about it quickly enough when the streetcar came to a screeching halt at Lee's Circle and the driver (apologetically) told us he couldn't go any further - parade a coming. Except for a couple pissed off old men, most of us shrugged and got off and ambled down to Canal, enjoying the sun and the near 70 degree temperatures. I was wearing shorts. It was good.

Herein we ran smack dab into the parade. I haven't seen many parades in my lifetime due to a deprived background or some crap like that, so I rather enjoyed this one. New Orleans has a profusion of peppy and sparkly marching bands and baton twirlers and step dancers, primed to get out and Parade at any opportunity. These kids practice their butts off: there's a middle school near my apartment I pass on the way home from the grocery, and those poor little girls are out there in leotards spinning batons even when it's cold. They should be saluted.

There were some seriously awesome costumes on display.

I want this hat. Hell, I need this hat.

This group of Free Palestine supporters walked.

Parade done, we wandered down Royal Street, enjoying the cool air and the relative morning peace. There were considerably less drunk people then one normally encounters in the Quarter. We made it to Bennachin and were pleased to find they were open.

Bennachin is a very small, family-style restaurant - tiny open kitchen you walk through to hit the bathroom, slow and un touchy feely service, you know the deal. It's probably a lot like you'd get if you were eating at a relatives house in Gambia. Not something that comes up much in my life.

I had the Numa, which is broccoli and cauliflower and carrot cooked in a ginger sauce and served over couscous. Pretty "eh" tasting - could have used more flavor. As it was, tasted pretty much like steamed vegetables with a hint of ginger.

Amanda tried the eggplant curry. Tasted like what it was: homemade eggplant curry, a little heavy on the curry powder. A pretty dense dish, but not bad. Again, only an "eh".

I'll come back and try Bennachin's meat dishes and see if they're better then the veg ones. I know exactly zilch about African food and should probably devote a little more attention and study to, you know, an entire continent.

Walk back sure was nice. Here's the Monteleone.

This magnificent rag time band was playing out in the Quarter all weekend far as I can tell. Great, super old school stuff and they absolutely look the part as well.

This gent was playing "Come Look Me Over" in the street, rather nonchalantly.

Just another day in the Big Easy, another day I'm lucky to be living here.

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