New York Times travel section contributor Matt Gross’ description of country café veggies (“iceberg salads with toupees of flavorless yellow cheese” ” oh, yum!) might be what the rest of the world considers typical Okie options of the vegetable variety, but Gross dug deeper: In his July 4 “Frugal Traveler” NYT column, he road tripped into Oklahoma City and ate his way through Vietnam.
His first stop? Pho Hoa, on N.W. 23rd Street, for a steaming bowl of breakfast: Vietnamese noodle soup. “The first bite was heaven, as if my taste buds had been in suspended animation all these weeks,” he wrote. “The noodles were thin but firm, the broth redolent of star anise, topped with thin slices of rare flank steak and well-cooked brisket. I garnished it with bean sprouts, basil and ngo gai, “¦ then squeezed in some lime juice and mixed it all together.”
Excuse us while Bucky makes a lunch run.
Between $1.85 sandwiches from Bahn Mi Ba Le (the milk bottle building), a ravioli-like specialty with a fried sweet potato-shrimp cake at Banh Cuon Tay Ho, and braised fish and a cucumber salad at Golden Phoenix, Gross punctuated eating across the Asian District with a visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and a jog through Will Rogers Park.
Then, after three days of “crunching through fresh veggies, searing (his) mouth with chilies and drowning (himself) in fish sauce ” deliriously happy in the heartland of America,” he left for Texas.
Well ” all good things must come to an end.
Gross’ column rings kind of ironic, though, in the place reportedly the headquarters of the eat-fast-food-till-you-die and avoid-vegetables-at-all-cost universe.