Eat at Zoe's

October 13, 2005

Yesterday, someone handed me a menu for a new restaurant in town. Zoe's has a regular, sandwich-heavy menu, and it's located in a new strip mall that is close to work and home.

What jumped out at me was the egg sandwich on the menu. I've been on a quest to find a good egg sandwich in Baton Rouge for a couple of years.

My quest started two summers ago in Saratoga. We stayed with our friends Greg and Lisa. They have a house there that they rent to college students during the school year. The off season for college corresponds to the on season for horse racing, so it's home base for the short racing season up there.


The house is full of rules. There's a hand written sign taped by the thermostat legislating the particulars for changing the temperature. There are signs by light switches indicating the circumstances when they may and may not be used.

I got my first lecture from Greg about not using one particular ice chest of his on the phone the week before we arrived. We all heard that lecture about three more times over the course of a weekend. Needless to say, Greg doesn't take kindly to others' beer hogging the space in his ice.

A sign on the back door directed you to a particular pink house down the road as a good source of newspapers and sandwiches. We went there before the races one day.

I hadn't had egg salad in years. I don't know what possessed me to order it, but it isn't enough to call it a good egg salad sandwich. It was the best egg salad sandwich I ever had. It might be the best sandwich of any kind that I ever had. It had the perfect amount of onion, salt, and pepper. There were a few small pieces of diced tomato. And it was served on a small, sandwich size piece of french bread that was worthy of the best po-boy shops in Louisiana.

Zo�'s egg salad was good, but it doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same post as the sandwich from the pink house. I've talked to a few people who have eaten there, and my good but not great egg salad seems to be the best review you will get from my circle. The other two people say that their food was bad.

A photo of the interior of Zoe's. I don't know this lady who did me the favor of looking right into the camera. I wonder what she was thinking. I also wonder if she will ever find her picture here.

If you do (and I'm writing this caption just for you, ma'am), please email me and let me know. It would make my day.

It wasn't the food that turns me off from Zoe's; it was the atmosphere. The place is bright with contrasting shades of aqua green and turquoise blue, with some pink and yellow pinstripes to enhance the need for sunglasses inside. If vision was your only sense, and you found yourself in Zoe's dining room, you would think that you've been swallowed by an easter egg.

The ceiling is high and hard, and the floors are concrete. This is to make sure that every voice in the restaurant bounces around until the whole place sounds like a loud, unruly high school cafeteria.

The final flaw is the demographics of the patrons. We counted 52 women in the dining room on Tuesday at lunch time. They were roughly broken down into half tennis wives, and half well dressed, elderly ladies. By contrast, there were only 7 men who had stumbled into the restaurant, including the two of us at my table. The proportion was overwhelming enough that being a man in this place was uncomfortable.

We ate quickly, and mostly without talking. We left as soon as we could, and had to find something masculine to do before going back into the office.

Bottom line: Zoe's is a good place to go if you want to find out what it's like to eat mediocre food, or if you want to find out what it might be like to have no balls.