Banh Mi and Vietnamese Iced Coffee in New Orleans

“Banh mi” is the Vietnamese term for bread, and Dong Phuong Bakery in eastern New Orleans is known to have the best French bread in the city.  When I saw people leaving with shopping bags full of bread, it was clear that this place is no secret.  They’re also known for banh mi sandwiches (readers of Eat NOLA named it the best bahn mi in New Orleans last year).  These start with their house-made bread, which is filled with lightly pickled carrots, cucumber, jalapeño slices, homemade aioli, and your choice of meat (I get the #4, which is Chinese barbecue pork).  The bread is soft and crusty on the outside, and the fillings are fresh, crunchy, and flavorful.  My cravings for these sandwiches is to the point that I take a 20-minute detour home from New Orleans to pick up a few of these to go (it’s located along Chef Menteur Highway).  Another bonus:  at under $4 a sandwich, this is probably the best lunch deal in the city.

Banh Mi and Vietnamese Iced Coffee in New Orleans| southernbeets

Banh Mi and Vietnamese Iced Coffee at Dong Phuong Bakery

Dong Phuong consists of both a bakery and a restaurant.  The banh mi and sandwiches are served up on the bakery side.  I also go crazy for their Vietnamese iced coffee, which is sweetened and strong, and you can buy at the counter on the north side of the restaurant (if you’re in the bakery, walk though the doorway into the restaurant, then continue walking straight along the front of the restaurant).  You won’t see a menu, but they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about when you order it.

There are lots of other goodies, both savory and sweet, and they make their own King Cake during carnival season.  I usually get some cinnamon rolls to warm up the next morning, or coconut rolls to make into French toast.  I wish there were more gems like this, or at least Vietnamese coffee stands that sell banh mi sandwiches.

 

Banh Mi and Vietnamese Iced Coffee in New Orleans| southernbeets

Dong Phuong Bakery in New Orleans

Banh Mi and Vietnamese Iced Coffee in New Orleans| southernbeets

Hours and other bakery items at Dong Phuong Bakery in New Orleans.

Advertisements

Running Through the French Quarter with 26,000 People

Why would I and 25,999 others race through this beautiful historic neighborhood instead of soaking in The Big Easy?  It was for the Crescent City Classic, one of the largest 10k races in the country.

The crowd ranged from world record holders to walkers that made the 6.2 mile trek solely for the free beer at the after party.  The route started in the Central Business District, passed through the French Quarter, then traveled up Esplanade to City Park.

The weather was gorgeous (and not too hot) and the route was flat and wide enough that I didn’t feel like I was going to trip over people when passing.  This was a fabulous way to take a tour by foot around New Orleans, and the funnest run I’ve done to date.

There was a party afterwards in City Park with live music, food trucks, snacks, and of course, unlimited free beer.  The only downside to the race:  thousands of people trying to get back to their parked cars at the start, which was over 3 miles away.  There was a free shuttle service, which was a 2+ hour wait when I checked in on it.  We thought it’d be brilliant to catch a cab, but everyone else seemed to have the same idea.  It became comical to watch medal-adorned runners lining streets of Mid City flagging down cabs that were already full of runners.  We decided to take advantage of the beautiful day, rest our soles, and sip on a delicious iced mocha at The Bean Gallery before heading back to the start.

 

The Starting Line by the Superdome

The Starting Line by the Superdome

The Finish Line in City Park

The Finish Line in City Park