Pub date February 8, 2011
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap Eats

CHEAP EATS The things that New Orleans throws at you! Example: a wall of doors, so metaphoric it hurts. My goal is, for the length of this column, to not let it mean anything, just … a wall of doors. Yep.

So this wall of doors separates our yard here from the neighbor’s, which isn’t a yard so much as a couple of feet between houses, a walkway. And, instead of a picket fence, door door door door door. All wooden, all weathered to varying degrees and in different ways. A few still have their knobs on, and these sparkle in the sunshine — albeit meaninglessly. One has no knob, but yes hardware, which is rusty and does not sparkle.

Shine or no, each door is beautiful in its own way; some are bare, others getting there but with swaths of prehistoric primer still, or paint. One had been covered so thickly, so many times, in a now-yellowing white, that the cracks in it resemble giraffe skin. Another has window panes, four quarters: two still have glass, and two are blank space. I could pass a cold beer through to the workers working on the dilapidated house next door.

New Orleans is a ragged and broken city, which is of course part of its charm. The streets have potholes the size of swimming pools. The sidewalks end, drop off, bend and crack. I’m afraid to ride my bike. Walking is an extreme sport. The zoo is just across the street, and I take the Doughboy there because it is safe and smooth. We are becoming friends with the zookeepers, and already they have let us pet a snake.

End of the day, when I told his mummy about this snake-petting business, she wondered what my own personal “spirit animal” was.

“Giraffe,” I said, without even thinking about it. Before, as you know, it was chickens. Why — since I am famous for eating me my meat — do I always identify with the vegetarian, and the prey?

My new New Orleans friends, the human ones, are meat meat meat eaters, and music music music lovers, which makes perfect sense because food and tunes are what this town is all about. You can imagine my giddiness. Hedgehog, the one I am kissing, works on a TV show I’ve never seen, because I don’t have a TV, let alone HBO, so I feel especially qualified to give it an especially objective review. I mean, how much more objective can you be than to never have even seen a thing? So: not enough plot. Or character. Oodles of fantastic music.

I base this impression solely on comments made by my TV-having friends back home when I’ve mentioned that, yo, I’m hanging with someone from Treme. Then when I tell them that she does sound, then they are impressed.

On Monday, Hedgehog and me walked along the Mississippi River, drank vodka in a gay man bar, and ate at a place called Green Goddess, which (hee hee hee) is all about meat — pulled pork flapjack for me, and a bacon meatloaf samwich for her.

Mind you, that’s at the Green Goddess. So you can imagine what goes down at the restaurants called Butcher, and Pig — but in French, which here doesn’t mean pretentious. I’m in heaven!

Next evening, four of us gathered after work for $2 taco night and $2 Red Stripes at the Caribbean-influenced Rum House. Just some of the stuff my own personal tacos featured: lamb vindaloo, barbecued ribs, roasted duck, and goose cracklin. Um, that’s four different animals crammed into only three $2 tacos.

You know how after-work gatherings go: the televisionistas are unwindingly griping, their shitty day this, their shitty day that, and I’m just serenely sipping my Red Stripe because I’d had an awesome day, changing diapers.

Tomorrow we’re eating at Patois, and Sunday we’re having a little Super Bowl party. I’m making my patented barbecued eggs, and Hedgehog is bringing her patented gumbo tacos, and what the fuck? I can’t get me no lesbian love in queer central, San Francisco, where I’m popular. Or in Boston, where I rock. Whereas one week into New Orleans, where my most ardent admirers are a nine-month-old boy and a handful of zookeepers, and I’m squeezing me a hot hot hottie who’s won a goddamn Emma.

Or whatever that’s called. Bragging? Not really. I’m just looking out my window at a wall made of doors.


The only place in this country that’s cooler than San Francisco.