I don’t spend a lot of time in Lakeview because, er…Lakeview. But we just so happened to be there last night and there just so happened to not be a wait at Susan Spicer’s Mondo at 6pm (because we’re 80). And as such, Alex (Mr. TWMVO) and I went.
I’ve been a couple times to Spicer’s newest restaurant, Rosedale. Great cocktails, but expect the dreaded “salad, no cheese.” (And the last time we went, the cheese still made it on there.) Or guac or sides, but nothing substantial awaits you there. So while I enjoy the ambience and down-home feel…and the booze if I’m honest, of Rosedale, it’s nowhere I’d be sending all my folx.
BUT. MONDO. Holy vegan catering, um, Batman. They clearly label all the vegan food VEGAN (it’s so helpful!) and our server went to the kitchen to ask if things were vegan or could be made vegan a minimum of three times. That’s service.
(Also service: the hostess gave me her motherlovin’ shawl because I was freezing and dressed inappropriately for an inside New Orleanian venue.)
The drinks were outstanding and completely unique. Because we had drinks and because I have a shite memory sober, the exact names of the cocktails are escaping me. But we shared a jalapeño/ginger beer combo and a fresh tomato/cilantro drink that really didn’t resemble a Bloody Mary at all because those things are gross. (Don’t come at me.) They have a full wine and beer list, but why do that when you can gulp down drinks you won’t find elsewhere?
Alex and I shared the roasted beet salad with homemade skordalia (which yes, is going to be the name of our first dog) and a lemon-dill vinaigrette. I sort of remembered to take a shot of it when we were half way through. That’s on me. Soz.
Our server made sure all components were vegan with the chefs and when we asked if the brussel sprouts could be made vegan, he checked on that, too. When he confirmed that they could be made sans bacon we then asked if they could throw the bacon in a side dish for Mr. Alex because he does adore his bacon. And because we thought maybe the server need a few more steps for his Fitbit. Also, we’re just the worst; try not to serve us if you can. Anyway – they totally did that shit and Alex was happy with his bacon and I was happy shoving fistfuls of garlicky-goodness brussel sprouts into my mouth. Because, again, garlic is life.
The vegan special was pho. The broth had depth which is hard to capture in vegan-form so that was enjoyable, but honestly, the rest of the dishes really wowed me and I think the pho just took a backseat to it all. I was also probably bitter (read: entirely friggin’ bitter) because about a few weeks beforehand we’d called Mondo to see if they had a vegan options and they told us the special was a spicy vegan curry. And I’d say about 67% of my bodyweight is made up of spicy curry so yea, I was annoyed that that wasn’t going into my belly.
Now, Mr. TWMVO and I don’t really have sweet teeth; unless it’s super intriguing (or we’re pretty drunk), we’ll walk away from the desserts. The special though was a coconut sorbet and I thought “yea, coconut. Let me see that menu, please.” BUT THEN, Y’ALL. THERE WAS A VEGAN MINCE MEAT PIE ON THE DESSERT MENU AND MY LIFE WAS OVER.
(As an aside: I lived in London for seven years and my favourite time of year is Christmas in the UK because you can find mince pies round every shopping corner. Now that I don’t live in that country anymore, I totally try to plan trips in November/December so I can stock up on Caffè Nero mince pies. Yes, I did fly three of suckers home with me last year. Shhhh, don’t tell Customs.)
Alex, being the supportive enabler that he is, suggested I take a picture of the menu because THIS IS NOT A DRILL. So, here.
Okay. I’m ready to go back for this. I’m ready to go back for this right meow. Full of flavor, great port wine syrup, delicious “ice cream” – full nine yards. This was divine. Our server kept asking if we were done and I finally told him we weren’t going to be done until the plate was clean. I also had to exercise some adultness and let Alex get a few bites in.
So NOLA vegans: come here. Eat Mondo’s food. You can bring your omnivore friends because they can eat pork shoulder that cooked for like, 36 hours or some meaningless number (à la Mr. TWMVO) or fish and you can get actual, well-prepared dishes that aren’t afterthoughts. Just please know that they are already sold out of the mince pies and they are all now living at our house.