Local eating habits, never a paragon of restraint under normal circumstances, tend to bottom out at Mardi Gras, when cold fried chicken, mangled finger sandwiches and bloody Mary garnishes can make up a shockingly high percentage of nutritional intake for some people, myself included.
But this year I've spotted a small measure of gastronomical salvation along the parade route, in the form of the World's Healthiest Pizza. This is the local company formed in 2006 by health and nutrition writer Jeff Leach and his business partners with a serious mission to make the nation's most popular take-out food something that is actually good for you. The fiber-loaded crust is the heart of the matter, and the center of the boast implied in the company's name.
The company has done well enough to expand with two shops now open in the Uptown universities area, and this carnival season World's Healthiest Pizza vendors can be found hawking their pies from a wagon they drag along the St. Charles Avenue parade route. If you've been curious about this pizza but perhaps reluctant to try it, the parade route is actually the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.
After all, you're not exactly devoting an entire meal to the experiment but rather getting your food fix between parades. And if you find, like me, that you prefer the flavor of World's Healthiest Pizza over the garbage slung out by the national chain pizza shops stalking the route, then you've done yourself two favors at once.
- Ian McNulty