Saturday, April 7, 2012

You Had to Know…

when you saw the photo of a sign (March 24th) with a sunny-side up egg sprouting wings that it wouldn’t be too long until we ate at Slim Goodies Diner. We debated about going to a slightly funky restaurant in Bywater or an ultra-funky diner on Magazine Street. Ultra funky prevailed.

“We were already partial to this place, but when they busted out some heroic culinary moves practically days after Katrina, they won our hearts forever. (They dodged anxious health inspectors by serving only fried eggs and other easy-cleanup items on plastic dinnerware.) The comeback pioneers quickly became a meeting place for stressed-out locals....Come for classic diner food with clever modern-diner names like ‘Low Carbonator’…The menu features large salads, omelets, and even sweet-potato pancakes and a biscuit topped with étouffée. It's a fine, fun stop for breakfast while you're shopping Uptown” (

Slim Goodies is a hot spot for breakfast. When we arrived, a line had formed and we had to place our names on the sign-in sheet.

Then we waited. And waited.

And while we were waiting we had time to read the numerous posters and flyers taped to the front windows most of which were for some form of alternative entertainment.

“Outside Slim Goodies doesn’t look like much, just another shop along Magazine St. On the inside it’s pretty ‘funky’. The wait staff are all pretty alternative and the decor matches that bohemian vibe. The walls (are) peppered with pictures of people who have sat in your seats before you…” (dining in Does anyone under sixty still use the word “vibe?”

Not only were the wait staff “alternative,” so were most of the clientele. Until an older quartet arrived, I think that Chuck and I were the only ones not sporting tats. And the “vibe” is pretty loose. The women in the booth across from us ordered one glass of orange juice and an extra glass. They proceeded to pop the cork on a bottle of champagne and indulge in “do it yourself” mimosas.

In addition to the photos of past customers, the walls were decorated with crayon drawings and unusual posters. One featured a sketch of Johnny Cash with the words “He wore black to stand up for justice” and “He quit pills and whisky to marry June Carter.”

There were also large posters which appeared to be the covers of an alternative or indie journal or literary magazine. A “Google” search failed to find any such publication entitled “Storetry” so they must have sprung from the fertile imagination of the artist. But should such a publication existed, you could have read an article entitled “Excuse me, I’ve got to lie to a banker. Good luck with that.”

The extensive breakfast menu includes diner staples like French toast, pancakes, and eggs/meat/potato combos. But it also got creative with
“Slammer Town” options like Creole Slammer which is described as “out of the swamps comes this dish of hash browns, slim’s own crawfish étouffée with two eggs, and a biscuit to soak up the good juices that flow—swamp power.”

Chuck ordered the Tex Mex Slammer—“a little bit of Mexican influence for ya--hash browns topped with slim-made black beans, melted cheddar, two eggs, slimsalsa, sour cream, avocado, plantains…” What! He’s eating avocado and plantains at the same meal? Well, yes he did and enjoyed them. And I must admit that I have never been fond of plantains. But these were cooked until soft and were not at all starchy. He especially liked the black beans, which were seasoned with something that didn’t seem to be cumin.

I chose the Jewish Coonass, which was two potato latkes topped with fresh spinach, two eggs, and crawfish étouffée and served with a side biscuit. Given recent events in the news, I do feel an obligation to explain the derivation of the name. “Coonass is a controversial term in the Cajun lexicon: to some Cajuns it is regarded as the supreme ethnic slur, meaning ‘ignorant, backwards Cajun’; to others the term is a badge of pride,…In South Louisiana, for example, one can often see bumper stickers reading ‘Warning--Coonass on Board!’ or ‘Registered Coonass’…The word’s origin is unclear…folklorist Barry Jean Ancelet…has suggested that the word originated in South Louisiana, and that it derived from the belief that Cajuns frequently ate raccoons….” ( So whether you consider the name to be clever or not, it represents the merger of traditional Jewish deli fare—latkas—with the famous Cajun dish—étouffée.

You could consider this to be a twisted version of eggs benedict with latkas substituting for English muffins and shrimp étouffée replacing the hollandaise. I dug through the plate of food and must report that the latkas really didn’t resemble the latkas I knew and loved in Philadelphia. To me they appeared to be shredded frozen hash browns formed into patties. But the spinach was barely cooked, so it retained its slightly green and mineral flavor. The étouffée contained a hint of red pepper, but not so much as to be mouth-searing. The only downside was that some of the shrimp were soft as though they had absorbed too much of the étouffée liquid. They weren’t chewy, but mushy.

My one reservation aside, this was a very good breakfast in a decidedly different atmosphere and earns 4.0 Addies.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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