new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Cafe Granada Round Two: Crimes Against Vegetarians

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cafe Granada Round Two: Crimes Against Vegetarians

Cafe Granada
1506 S Carrollton Ave
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 865-1612

Cafe Granada is a Spanish restaurant on South Carrollton in Uptown New Orleans, a small cafe specializing in Spanish food, tapas, and large quantities of sangria. I've eaten there before and thought it was okay - the menu isn't half bad but the kitchen is really down with the oil and garlic - but my latest visit soured me on the place. Well, more soured my friend. I'll explain! (Is to sour a legit verb? I can't figure this out).

It's been hot as hell here in New Orleans this week, and on the whole, I've been loving it. I'm one of those people who shut down and beg for mercy when the mercury dips below 60 degrees, and the return of sticky sun-burn inducing weather has filled me with joy and gladness. However, it was really hot on Sunday, so I decided to stick with Granada's Ceviche of the Day. This turned out to be a combination of salmon, octopus, calamari, and mussels in a tomato and lemon based sauce, served in a martini glass with some plantain chips for regular dipping purposes. Pretty fresh and not half-bad, though they told me there would be avocado in this sucker, and friends and countrymen, avocado there was not. Should call the Better Business Bureau. The ceviche here also made me profoundly nostalgic for the gigantic ceviche goblets big as my damn head I enjoy eating in Sacramento's hot summer. Which is coming up. Joy!

We also tried the olives, capers, and artichoke hearts. Pretty simple stuff here: how the hell do I review a plate of olives and marinated artichoke hearts, Internet? I'm certain there are olive and marinated artichoke heart experts who will sneer derisively at my inability to write glittering critical prose about these things, but I cannot bring myself to care. Certainly they were edible. I like artichoke hearts and go through about a jar a week, working them into everything I eat. It's probably a pathology. (Artichoke heart muffins? Yes? No...?)

Here's where the problem lay. My friend ordered the vegetarian paella. Strike one: the paella took roughly a million years to come out, by which time I had devoured my ceviche, she had finished her (warm) mimosa. Thus we were reduced to eyeing the kitchen to see when the damn thing would come out which just isn't my idea of exciting viewing material. Second, when it did come out, it wasn't that great. It was just Spanish fried rice with way too much oil, a dose of somewhat incongrous truffle oil, and some vegetables that had pretty obviously been pre-frozen. Resounding meh, my friend didn't eat much of it. We paid up, and my friend boxed up the paella and headed on home. No big deal, right? Right?

Well, she texted me today: apparently she had heated up the supposed vegetarian paella and had found meat in it. She was mightily displeased.

If you are a vegetarian, you are probably going into conniptions of terror as we speak. I am, uh, not a vegetarian (just scroll down a little and you will understand) but I am certainly sympathetic to the plight of the herbivores among us. I can understand that those committed to a meat free existence become a teeny bit miffed when some carne finds its way into their lunch. No vegetarian should be subjected to meat where Meat Was Not Supposed to Be, and I am willing to censure any restaurant that would do such a generally lame-ass thing.

So: I censure you, Cafe Granada! I censure you to the depths of hell for putting a meaty product in my innocent vegetarian friend's mediocre paella!

Let that be a warning, restaurant proprietors. If you put meat in vegetarian stuff, I'm gonna censure you so hard you gonna feel it next week. Uh-huuuhh.

I am going to Spain this summer (yeah, should tell y'all about that) and have heard tell that the Spanish like to put ham in everything, including presumably chocolate bars and coffee. This actually fills me with joy and anticipation, and may explain Cafe Granada's failure here. But doesn't excuse them. We in America, yo. Ham does not go with everything here.

Til next time!


K. Bella said...

I always check meals at Chinese restaurants to make sure there is no meat. I had a bad experience once. Sorry things went so poorly for your friend.

Passionate Eater said...

Oh no! Meat in a meatless dish is a huge faux pas in the greatest sense. Lackluster paella is one thing, but meat in a veggie dish is an abomination.