After spending several days in New Orleans, and eating at several restaurants that I liked very much, I have finally found one that I would eat at all the time if I actually lived here.
Several friends, including one New Orleans native, had recommended 13 Monaghan’s, so I figure it was worth a visit. Everything that they said about this small bar and restaurant was absolutely true. It’s not hard to find, but it is nondescript, obviously not feeling the need to call much attention to itself. You walk in from a neighborhood filled with street musicians. You can’t get away from the blues and jazz in this town, and Frenchmen St is hardly an exception. When I stepped in, I was a little unsure of whether I had found the right place. I’d expected a full-blown restaurant. This place was most obviously a bar with a few tables.
The waitress/bartender managed to take our order quickly without coming across as rude. In fact, she was very pleasant. Most of the people I’ve encountered in New Orleans are. If there is a good reason to live here, it’s the natives (and naturalized natives). We ordered grilled vegetables with goat cheese as an appetizer. It came served with toasty pita squares. The combination of pita, onions, black olives, red peppers, and goat cheese balanced all of the flavors that you want in an appetizer. Slightly sweet yet savory.
Our entrees (a barbecue sandwich on po-boy bread and an herbed tofu sandwich, both with chips) were equally delicious. Despite my better judgment, I ate the whole plate of food and washed it down with a local NOLA beer.
During dinner, there was one table of five young college students have a very collegiate conversation. One was wearing a shirt that red “Reading: This is some crazy shit!” I immediately liked them, and eavesdropped throughout the conversation. 13 must be a place that attracts people I like.
The cook also struck me as an exceptional person for some reason. Before speaking with her, I thought she was a bit off putting. She had tattoos on her face and walked with a strong limp. She looked like she’d live a tough life. When I said “thank you” to her for the goat cheese appetizer, though, she said “your welcome” so sweetly that I immediately liked her. She seemed shy and private, yet very awesome. Much like 13 itself. The next time I’m in New Orleans, 13 is the first place I’m eating.
On our way out, my girlfriend and I saw a sign stating that all of the restaurant’s proceeds from the evening were going to help stop HIV and AIDS. Even more awesome. I love that place.