What America Tastes Like

Healing Society with Florentine Sauce

Cafe Reconcile hires and trains young people in poverty so they can participate in our mainstream cultural tradition of not stealing stuff. There are pictures on the walls of people whose lives have been forever changed by this restaurant. Anthony Bourdain visited here on Season 4 Episode 5 of “No Reservations.” But don’t come here because of those things.

Come to Cafe Reconcile for the food.

The Fried Shrimp Po Boy w/ Florentine Sauce – I got here was like no other. I could have eaten another 1,000 po boys without ever knowing to ask for… spinach on top.

My mind would simply never have considered it as an option. But there it was staring at me from the Reconcile menu, wedged its way into my imagination like a wisp of spinach between front teeth.

I looked through the menu but there was no way to order anything else.

What was it like? The depth of flavor in the crisp spiced shrimp is brought forth and expressed more fully by the creaminess of the florentine sauce, and the spinach adds a mineral dimension that pairs with the freshwater flavors of shrimp meat, taking the whole thing to a next-level experience. Once you have graduated from the introductory po boy class, this is where you go next.

The seafood gumbo I chose as the side was made with excellent ingredients. It’s thick and satisfying with no okra sliminess and the seasoning is well-balanced. It beat everything but a $14 cup of gumbo I had at a fancypants place.

The Beignet Biscuits – are a perfect starter and a true hybrid, offering the fluff you want from beignets and the richness you want from biscuits.

I ate most of her sweet potato fries, too, because their outer shells were crisp and the inner rootiness was sweet and she allowed me to keep grabbing them without slapping my hand.

1631 Oretha C Haley Blvd
New Orleans, Louisiana

“What America Tastes Like” is an exploration of sub-cultures in the US by way of food. Eating is something all people do, and it also happens to be one of the few expressions of “difference and diversity” in culture that just about all people are ready to celebrate. Regardless of our politics and religion and ontologies, we all like to eat food with our mouths.

Food makes family happen.



One thought on “Healing Society with Florentine Sauce

  1. mary hoyt says:

    Enjoy your posts. I went to New Orleans One time. Food is fantastic. Best jambalaya was at the New Orleans Zoo (seriously) and bread pudding with bourbon sauce (to die for) at Pat O’briens. This was before the city flooded. Not sure if it’s the same. No one can duplicate beignets from that town. Enjoy yourself! Mary Hoyt


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