The moment I shuffled around the merry go round entrance to 909 Poydras, I was delighted to see the sophisticated green interior of City Greens (909 Poydras / inside the First American Bank & Trust Tower / New Orleans, LA 70112 / 504.524.2822). Being seriously directionally dysfunctional, I could tell instantly where to go.
I’ve got to be honest, when it comes to new year’s resolutions I think here in New Orleans we don’t actually start eating, sleeping, and jumping on the diet roller coaster until Lent! Life in NOLA is a marathon and not a sprint, and when lent hits, I always kick it into high gear, at least until Thanksgiving.
When I first heard about the concept, I was intrigued but not totally sold. How exciting could salads be right? Could I really be blown away, or just feel like a bunny trying to fill my stomach? Au contraire, mon frère, was I severely wrong.
The interior was fresh, functional, and inviting, with walls and accents in a calming green palette. The scandinavian inspired counter was lined with the perfect amount of specialty drinks and equally be good to you desserts. Everything is prepared to order in their open kitchen and whipped up on the spot. Do not fear, hater of the Subway two-step, the line moves briskly and without halt even with that one person who counts toppings like rainman.
My friend and I decided to order a couple salads and split. Perfect, I thought, just what people do! Little did I know when they arrived that I would not want to split any longer. The duo we ordered included the Spinach Club + Greek Farm Salad topped with ultra fresh tuna.
As the salads arrived, Ben sat down with us for a bit to give a little background into the tech side of the business and their efforts to truly make everything they offer earth friendly. The passion for the business and the progress towards a greener planet gleams off of his face like a new penny. Our conversation started at the base of their business, the lettuce. Folks, the lettuce is not your everyday organic greens, it’s hydroponic lettuce grown in Florida at a farm owned and operated by Ben. Yes, ‘ya heard me, hydroponic! Before you begin to get wise with me, their process and use it’s best described directly from their menu…
“What does hydroponics even mean??! Simply put, it’s a method of growing plants without soil. Our lettuce is grown in recycled water combined with natural plant food nutrients – no pesticides. They are free of environmental toxins often found in soil while retaining most of their nutrients and minerals.”
Ben continues to delve deep into the logistics and the technology, and honestly all I can think of is the tuna planking on top of the salad sitting inches from my mouth. I can multitask, so as Ben continues to inspire me to do something great, I dig into the tuna salad first. The tuna was cooked just right drizzled perfectly with the oregano vinaigrette. Bite number one went quickly, and I dug my fork deeper into the depths of the salad. Not only was the lettuce better than any lettuce I’ve ever had, it remained, bite after bite, crisp, and not at all tasting like the “bagged” organic greens.
I decided it was about time to switch hit and grab a bit of the Club Salad sitting to the left. I never really understood the use of “club” as a name of a salad, but I was rolling with it. The spinach was super fresh and the dressing was a great compliment to the texture of the egg and spinach. I have to be honest, once my fork hit that first slab of bacon, I was hooked like the alligators on “Swamp People”. Thankfully, it wasn’t Friday, but my love for bacon does sometime call for confession.
I took a 1/2 dozen generous bites between the 2 salads and had totally forgotten about their homemade lemonade sitting at my fingertips. I took a few sips and carried on.
We continue our chat as I’m devouring the salads, and Michael walks over to introduce himself and join in for a bit. Both gentlemen smile from ear to ear when discusses their latest venture and can’t help but to gush over it’s endless possibilities. They talked about how important it was to bring on Exec. Chef Tim Bordes and his dedication to exploring and using truly exciting ingredients.
As we finished our salads, our utensils began to scrape the bottom of the bowls. Ben anticipated the extinction of our meal, and proceeded to tell us that not only were the bowls completely and utterly bio-degradable, as were the forks, cups and just about everything that ends up in the waste bins. Frankly, the idea of all the items residing on the table would just disintegrate over time was unreal. All their plastics aren’t actually made of petroleum grade plastic, but of corn. Folks, the envelope has been pushed, and with that everything comes full circle.
NOLA’s CBD is booming with life and growth. People are moving back into the city at a feverish pace, and City Greens is poised to be at the forefront of the resurgence. Look for City Greens to continue experimenting and serving inspired, and truly organic good for the heart and soul meals.