The Power of Plants: Sometimes, being bitter is a good thing.
Sharon Floyd, owner of Bartanica, began bartending after she moved to New Orleans in 2008. “I had the great fortune of being trained in mixology, which really means I was given the opportunity to taste a great variety of spirits, so the education was more sensory than simply rote memorization,” she says. “Already a student and teacher of yoga, I’m constantly deepening my exploration of plants and their healing capabilities by studying Ayurveda with renowned herbalists in the States and abroad.”
Inspired by her experience behind the bar, Floyd created Bartanica to translate her knowledge into products that capitalize on plants’ medicinal qualities. “My focus for product development is in two categories: smellables and edibles,” she says. One smellable is an aromatic vetiver room spray; another is a yoga-mat cleaner. “I aim to highlight the qualities of the raw materials themselves — plants — in brilliant combinations of flavor, aroma and uses,” she says.
Floyd bases her creations on doshas, or the three bodily humors of Ayurveda. “All of the formulations, with the exception of the mat cleaner, are root-y and earthy — perfect for soothing Vata dosha, the Ayurvedic body type that typically needs the most attention this time of year,” she says. “Next year, I will continue developing formulas for Pitta and Kapha doshas.”
Bartanica’s edible products currently include bitters made with turmeric and black pepper; a tamarind root-beer syrup is coming this month. “There’s still a pesky negative connotation to the word ‘bitter’ that persists in our society,” she says. “We are on the verge of realizing how beneficial this taste is to our diet, and the science is finally emerging to support that. Ayurveda has recognized this for centuries, and I’m happy to help renew the bitter taste’s reputation.” Stop by holiday markets at Reyn Studios on Dec. 4 from 6-8 pm and Balance Yoga Wellness on Dec. 13 to try Bartanica products. bartanica.com
A New Way to Eat Local: Good Eggs NOLA makes supporting local producers a snap.
Since the advent of the modern grocery store, there’s arguably been a lot of work involved in eating local — visiting farmers, and farmers markets, to buy fresh produce; dropping by several different shops for meat, dairy, eggs and other products; and investigating where, exactly, your food comes from. Good Eggs NOLA, an online grocery service, is simplifying the process.
“Our mission is to grow and sustain local food systems,” says Caroline Gray, marketing lead for Good Eggs NOLA. “We’re working with over 150 local farmers.” Since Gray joined Good Eggs in October 2013, the organization has grown from a skeleton staff of five to more than 50 employees. “We’re growing quickly, because there’s a demand for delicious, local food,” she says.
Along with local produce, Good Eggs NOLA supplies a huge range of other foods far surpassing the basics. “A lot of people assume we’re a CSA, but you don’t have to subscribe,” says Gray, referring to the community-supported agriculture model that provides subscribers with boxes of seasonal produce. “At Good Eggs, we are actually like an online farmers market meets grocery store,” she says. “It’s really customized. You can build your own basket. We have grass-fed beef, Gulf seafood, prepared foods, specialty baked goods, snacks, coffee, tea.”
Another great thing about Good Eggs NOLA is getting groceries delivered — for free, if your order comes to more than $30. The service’s delivery range spans metro New Orleans and a large swath of the North Shore. Just need a carton of eggs or a head of lettuce? No problem. “We have pick-up spots around town with no delivery minimum,” Gray says. Plus, you can gift an order to be delivered to someone else — including cake or flowers.
Good Eggs NOLA is adding more pantry staples to its offerings and working on accepting food stamps. In the meantime, why not consider letting the organization take care of your holiday meals? goodeggs.com/nola
Maria’s Pick: Singha Thai Cafe: Our publisher loves this fresh Thai spot.
Fans of Singha Thai Cafe were horrified last year when the wall of a neighboring building fell onto the roof of their favorite CBD lunchtime spot. Luckily, no one was injured in the crash — and in even better news, Singha is back in business at a new location on Gravier Street. Earlier this year, the restaurant re-opened in a larger space formerly occupied by Isis Restaurant.
New Orleans Living publisher Maria Muro often stops by Singha for lunch. “I love the lemongrass soup,” she says. “The beef satay is also great, but go easy on the dipping sauce. Or try the summer rolls — soft rice paper wrapped around steamed shrimp, tofu or chicken.” Other healthy, delicious selections include a range of curries, soups and salads, plus specialty dishes like trout over mango salad.
The restaurant bills itself as “New Orleans’ Best Authentic Thai Cuisine,” and Maria agrees. Owner Chalin Rungruang founded Singha Thai Cafe nearly 15 years ago —here’s looking forward to 15 more! singhathaicafe.com