Author: Syeda Saira Ijaz
To say that New Orleans is a very unique place is an understatement. It’s rich in history, a melting pot of several cultures, the birthplace of Jazz, with beautiful architecture and delicious Creole & Cajun food but it can also be, how should I put it? A very non-Zabiha place. On our way to Florida, we made a pit stop in the Crescent city. Our hotel was in the historic French Quarter.
I was very excited to explore this eccentric place. I had heard so much about it for its Mardi Gras season & of course for hurricane Katrina. We decided to explore the French Quarter by foot. It was almost dusk when we stepped into the streets. The gas lamps were on, the occasional horse drawn carriages made it look as if we were in another time. We made it all the way to the Mississippi River, stopping occasionally for a photo, or a street performance.
By the time we headed back, the night was young & the rowdy crowd was filling the streets. My eight year old was a bit overwhelmed & asked us to go back to our place. Now the problem was, we were mad hungry. Being the capital of Cajun & Creole cuisine, finding seafood dishes was no problem but the restaurants had long lines & the chilly December night made it hard for us to wait with two kids. Things were getting tense. The lack of any of the usual fast foods chains made things even harder. We decided to take the kids back to hotel & think about what to do next. Dragging our sore legs, we literally stumbled upon “Dreamy Weenies”.
We were passing through a quiet street & came across a glass door with a menu on it. We started looking at it matter -of- factly when we came across the magic word “halal”. We desperately looked inside & saw a smiling face waving us to come in. I think all of us ran inside.
The menu offered Halal, Kosher & Vegan food. Since they didn’t sell alcohol, it kept the “partying” crowd away. The owners were African American Muslims who were educators before they started this business. The menu was simple fast food with a New Orleans twist. It had hot dogs, rice & beans, falafel, succotash and chili among many other things. Although we did confirm with the server which items were halal, at that point we were ready for anything.
My husband & I ordered Kebab sandwiches, which had a spicy sausage in a hoagie & my kids ordered regular hot dog sandwiches. For sides we ordered waffle fries & sweet potato fries. Our sandwiches were deliciously huge which made us very happy. We hungrily took our first bite & savored the spicy meat with all sorts of toppings & the great quality bread. Eating a loaded hot dog sandwich is no easy task but we gobbled the plate clean.
My belly singing a happy tune, I looked around the place. It had nice clean modern décor. The spirit of New Orleans showed in the statue of a Jazz musician & the painting on the wall. It was very clean & the service was amazing. For the rest of our trip, my sons refused to eat any place else, which was fine with us.
My experience is that if you find something good when you least expect it, you treasure it for a long time. Dreamy Weenies was one of those treasures. Who could have thought that in the center of French Quarter there is a restaurant selling halal food? We had a good time in NOLA but Dreamy Weenies made it extra special.
French Quarter- 740 North Rampart St.
New Orleans, LA
504 872 0157
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