I work in the French Quarter. Though a lot of French Quarter service industry workers also party there, for me getting out of work means hightailing it out of tourist-hell. But what about when my friends are visiting from out of town and want the Full New Orleans Experience(TM)? Or when its Carnival and you find yourself in the Quarter a few days into your bender and you realize food is important? I’ve already written about Smallmart as a good food option for the Quarter, but the other affordable spot is Moon Wok.
Moon Wok is famous in my friend group for having the best cheap banh mi and good cheap pho. The fried tofu banh mi is delicious and only $3 + tax. Let’s face it, most people don’t know how to make tofu not suck. Moon Wok does more than make it not suck – its totally scrumptious. Because we always get the tofu, we tried out the pork banh mi this time. It’s only a little more expensive and it’s so good! Its got more mayonnaise than I’m used to on a banh mi, but it worked surprisingly well. The jalapenos weren’t overwhelmingly spicy, the vegetables were fresh, and the meat was a small step above than
Lots of people get pho at Moon Wok. I think the pho is decent and affordable at Moon Wok, but now that Pho Tau Bay moved from the West Bank to the Central Business District, its not really worth getting pho anywhere else. The atmosphere in Moon Wok is really cute and I like to dine in there.
But it was such a beautiful day that we wanted to eat two blocks away in Armstrong Park. Getting pho to go always seems not worth it, so we went for a grilled pork over vermicelli noodles.
It ruled. I think the orange-sauce it came with could’ve used more fish sauce mixed into it, but apart from that I had no complaints. The pork was perfect, and it had enough bean sprouts and vegetables to allow us to fool ourselves into believing we were being healthy and good to ourselves as we sipped beers and feasted in the sun of a warm New Orleans winter day. The world is crumbling around us, New Orleans is being commodified and gentrified and Disneyfied a little more every day, but for an hour or so, in the park bullshitting with my friend, everything felt sweet and good. We need moments like that, if we’re going to survive the next four years of authoritarian insanity. Good luck out there.