After hearing several students at Grub Street read their work (tip: check out the essay class) I went off with A for some grub of the other kind.  We ended up at Chinatown’s Pho Pasteur.

We started off with the classic fresh rolls, mostly lettuce and tofu in a rice noodle skin, but served with that chunky peanut sauce that makes everything better.

For mains, A ordered Phở, or at least a vegetarian version thereof, and I picked item 103 – sauteed tofu, pineapple, tomatoes, and rice – off the menu more or less at random because for some reason I didn’t want soup.  As Kenny Bania has noted, soup’s not a meal.

Newsflash folks, the place isn’t called “Tofu Pasteur” and that’s for a reason.  The tofu was ok, but in large not quite silken chunks with not that much flavor.  The tomatoes were stewed within an inch of their lives, and the onions were sweet and still a little crunchy.  The pineapple chunks were probably canned.  I’m not sure why I expected them not to be.  (Whole Foods has whole pineapple on sale for a few bucks each!)  The whole thing was tossed with a sweet sauce that I think was a colloidal mixture of corn syrup and indifference.  The rice, dry and packed into a low cylinder.

If you go to Pho Pasteur, here’s what you should get.  Phở, Phở, or if you really want to branch out, Phở.  Phởcus.  Does’ that look good?  It is.

To be fair, I’ve also had good pad thai there, and the vietnamese coffee with chicory is not to be missed, especially iced on a hot summer day when you want to stay awake all night.