Slim Goodies Diner
3322 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70115-2411
I guess people stay out too late in New Orleans to get up and eat breakfast. Finding a good place for breakfast close to our hotel turned out to be a challenge. There was the Trolley Stop, that of the grumpy salad and turn of the century fryolator oil. There was the Please You just down the street on St. Charles which was very good, but we had already done that so we wandered over to Magazine Street to see what that was all about. The first place we came to only served breakfast on the weekends so we asked a kind of scruffy looking passerby if there was a breakfast joint close by. He said “There’s that Slim Pickens place down the street a few blocks, it’s a greasy spoon, yea, a greasy spoon kind of place.” Grease is good and I know how to use a spoon and besides, any place that is named after a guy who rode a bucking bronco atom bomb to glory in Dr. Strangelove is alright by me. We walked another 2 blocks and found Slim Goodies, not Slim Pickens and while it may take the basic shape of a greasy spoon the food bore as much resemblance to the kind of weak coffee, white toast, rubbery pancake fare of the classic greasy spoon as chopped liver has to pate de foie gras. Slim Goodies is a neighborhood diner in the best sense of the word. This part of Magazine Street is very hip and eclectic and this place is no exception. The walls of each booth are decorated with polaroid photos of happy patrons enjoying good food in that particular booth. The walls are adorned with framed screen prints in the Hatch Show Poster style and it has kind of a funky artsy feel. There is a lot of ink and metal adorning the staff and patrons alike but if you are a little uptight don’t worry. This is among the happiest bunch of people I have ever been around in public.
When we were handed menus I started to perk up even more. Sure, you can get your basic breakfast combo but it is called The Re-Population Combo. They have omelets such as The Fancy Pants, with roasted red and yellow peppers marinated in pesto and goat cheese, and the Bon Ton, which is filled with their home made Crawfish Etouffe, however my eye was immediately drawn to the Jewish Coonass. The Jewish Coonass is a sideways combination of Brooklyn, New Orleans, eggs florentine and Funk. It starts with a latke fried up nice and crisp, mounted with wilted fresh spinach, topped with eggs as you like them and smothered in Slim Goodies own Crawfish Etouffe. The Etouffe at Slim Goodies is not the thick gloopy concoction that passes for crawfish etouffe in most places. Real crawfish etouffe is made with a light roux and should be no thicker than a gravy and theirs is chock full of perfectly cooked mudbug tails and has that golden gravy to keep them covered just enough so that you don’t blush. Served with a good biscuit it is a breakfast that you will remember for the rest of the day and well beyond. When you get that perfect bite of a mudbug tail and some egg with the yolk dripping past the perfectly wilted spinach on its way to kiss the crispy latke that has taken on some of the etouffe it’s just magic. The twisted mind that thought up that combination has a menu full of interesting combos but it was the elegant simplicity that amazed us and the simplest thing in the world that made us come back on our way out of town.
Kim ordered a fruit parfait, with yogurt and granola and our high spirited waiter offered to put it in a big bowl so it would be easier to eat than digging into a parfait glass. What he brought was a huge bowl of absolutely dead ripe fruit dancing with good granola in a bath of cold yogurt. Why should getting ripe fruit be such a treat in a restaurant? Pink styrofoam tomatoes and crunchy avocados and sawdust oranges and wretched honeydew have adorned my breakfast plates in countless places. These culinary bummers are dished out by listless underpaid drones in dark dungeons with a cruel taskmaster screaming “Don’t think, just cut up the damn fruit you idiots! Food cost, we’ve got to think FOOD COST!” These are people who hate you. How else can you explain repeatedly and willfully conspiring to serve you BAD FOOD. From the commercial distributor who brought this inedible dreck over, to the inattentive person who checked it in, to the prep cook who mindlessly cut it up while texting his girlfriend through his pants pocket, to the line cook who flopped it onto a flabby piece of kale and then threw it at the waiter who slamed it down in front of you and expected a tip even though the meal sucked. Don’t feel like a pile of greasy hash browns to inject directly into your love handles? Just get the fruit, which will suck so badly that you will wind up only eating an egg and some dry toast and leave hungry but too shy to complain about the soon-to-be-compost that they made you pay for by telling you it was fruit. The next time you return to the same place expecting a different result you will wind up going back to the home fries and one step closer to an embolism.
These guys at Slim Goodies, maybe even Slim Goody himself, check each piece of foodstuff before it is leaves the kitchen. They actually give a rats ass. They will not serve you a flavorless grape. They just won’t do it. No dry ass oranges here baby. They don’t even let the crunchy avocado’s in the door. The distributor knows that they only get the good stuff or he doesn’t get paid. They buy local when they can, which is fairly often in New Orleans these days but wherever they get it it’s top quality ingredients that make their food so outstanding. They not only give a rats ass about what they are serving to their patrons but I get the feeling that they go home every day feeling pretty good about themselves even though they may not be making a ton of money. I’ll bet that they close their eyes every night with the sense of accomplishment that serving someone a great meal brings and selling useless crap to people who don’t need it or want it never will.
I envy them something awful sometimes.
Every thing we got at Slim Goodies was Killer Delicious.