Uncle Ho, of course, or at least the people’s humble noodle soup that has emerged as the unofficial national dish of Vietnam. Pho, the beef broth rich with spices, the bowl chock-a-block full of thin-sliced rare beef, meatballs, rice noodles, mung bean sprouts, fresh basil and cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a nice hit of hot hot hot chili sauce is the answer to both winter and a killer hangover that lasts as long as the four-day debauchery it took to get it. The pho, (pronounced ph-ua) at the Driftwood Diner, way down there on Johnston, will make you so happy and well you’ll go back to work with love in your heart for all people, even your boss.
Owner Dao Bui, a native of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) moved to Lafayette in 1983, but didn’t open her small restaurant until 2006. Urged on by a cousin who had a restaurant and who taught her the ropes, as well as her three daughters, Bui created a menu that’s half Viet, half Louisiana. Meaning you can go for your pho, and bring a reluctant colleague along who would rather chow down on a catfish poboy. There’s lots of seafood on the menu for Lenten fish dishes, a daily special, eggs and bacon breakfasts, and what I consider the mother lode — hefty springrolls loaded with fresh greens, pork, shrimp and rice noodles with a peanut sauce for dipping, Oriental-flavored grilled pork over rice and a newly added Vietnamese poboy.
Bui has gotten such a positive response she says she’s getting ready to add some new Vietnamese dishes to her repertoire. Bun cha and bun thit are both noodle dishes less brothy than pho. They come with grilled meat, and the bun thit has a bottom layer of crunchy cucumber seasoned with nuoc cham, a sweet and spicy sauce made of rice vinegar, fish sauce, chilies, lime, garlic and sugar. She may also be persuaded to make green papaya salad, dressed with the bright flavors of nuoc cham, that will ruin you for all other salads.
Vietnamese cooking is one of the finest cuisines in the world and exactly right for south Louisiana. Based on the freshest seafood, lots and lots of leafy greens and fragrant herbs, grilled pork and of course rice, it is at once familiar and totally different and surprising, with the flavor of nuoc cham keeping you coming back for more. Three common elements of Vietnamese and Louisiana cuisine, French bread, beignets and cafe au lait come thanks to the French colonial period in each semi-tropical part of the world.
Another reason to thank Uncle Ho. The people’s food comes at the people’s prices. There’s nothing more than $8 on the menu, and most dishes weigh in at under $5. Now if only we could get rid of the traffic.
The Driftwood is located at 6699 Johnston St., between Carson’s Vet Clinic and Fire Station #13. Call 981-4544 to place take-out orders and for more info.
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
Due to the chaos of Mardi Gras and the weather, the entry deadline for this year's INDesign Awards has been extended by one week.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
Queen Evangline and King Gabriel ruled Tuesday night
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
IND Style does Gabriel
Newsy bits for the fam
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.