One of the biggest political issues sweeping the nation these days is the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. It began in 1996 when California voters passed Proposition 215, which allowed for the medical use of marijuana. Today, 23 states, the District of Columbia and Guam all have enacted legislation that range from allowing local universities to study it all the way to legalizing recreational use among adults 21 and over. Slowly but surely, Americans are changing their minds about the “wacky tobacky,” denying the lies spouted by refer madness and seeking reform.
Unfortunately, it seems Louisiana just might be the last state to realize marijuana’s awesome potential, regardless of some startling facts. A February 2014 LSU State Survey found that 79% of Louisianans support medical marijuana, 56% favor citations as opposed to arrest for simple possession and 53% believe marijuana should be regulated and taxed like alcohol. In what seems like complete opposition to what the people want, Louisiana has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the entire country. A first-offense possession of even a minute amount can land the offender in prison for up to six months!
Although none of us here in Louisiana can legally celebrate April 20th in a fragrant blaze of glory, perhaps we can simply pretend like we are. After writing our legislators a note to let them know where we stand on marijuana legalization, we should revel what we have at our very fingertips. New Orleans is home to some of the finest cuisine in the country (if not the world), and one can only imagine what some of these delicious dishes would taste like after a short spliff for an aperitif.
For example, conjure up a trip to Mid-City for lunch at Brown Butter Southern Kitchen & Bar. Though anything on the menu is bound to be tasty, you should leap straight for the Warm Pork Rinds served in a grease-spotted, brown paper bag. It’s something else to bite into these crispy, crackling pieces of pork heaven, but it is something yet again to dip them in smoked corn buttermilk dressing before-hand.
If you’ve still got the munchies (and we know you do!), head to Bywater and land at Kebab on St. Claude Avenue. We all know that salty French fries with a bit of ketchup are enough to sate any stoner, but at Kebab they take it to a whole new level with crispy, brown Belgian fries slathered in aioli and their own spicy ketchup. You could easily pick up a falafel sandwich, too and stay under budget, but those fries make it more-than-worth the journey.
Right after you wake (and bake), cruise on over to Biscuits & Buns on Banks Street in Mid-City. Feel free to pick your favorite dish from a menu that includes things like fried andouille hash cakes with Creole cheese sauce, French toast with caramelized bananas and pancetta, or a 12-hour “NOLA-seasoned” brisket on a biscuit, but what you’re really drooling for are their complimentary mini-biscuits served with a dangerously decadent butter that’s been whipped with Steen’s Cane Syrup and pecans.
Like passing the dutchie on the left hand side, dining can be a joyous and social experience. Since dutchies can’t be passed here, why not head over to Shaya and play pass the pita? For $15 you can get five delicious dishes to dip from using the phenomenal, wood-fired oven pita that arrives hot at your table. Try the creamy Baba Ganoush with eggplant and roasted garlic, Labneh made with Progress Farm yogurt, cardamom-roasted beets with dill, and Ikra or paddle fish caviar with shallots and basil.
Finally, this munchie list wouldn’t be complete without a little something sweet and since Hubig’s, one of the finest, and inexpensive, desserts to be found in town hasn’t returned for a second act, we’re forced to find out pies elsewhere. Thank goodness for District Hand Pie & Coffee who have been providing us with buttery-crust covered delights like Banana Cream Pie, Strawberry and Avocado, Apple Strudel and the hand pie version of a Brookie. Sure, they offer savory pies as well, but that my friends is for a whole other “Harold & Kumar” kind of adventure.
*Article originally published in the April 2015 issue of Where Y’at Magazine
**District Hand Pie & Coffee is closed.