Since Chef Michael Gulotta opened MoPho almost 7 years ago, I have written an awful lot about it. How could I not? Located near City Park, the food offered is a creative mashup numerous influences including Vietnamese, Creole, Indian, and Thai cuisines. Though I can’t go as often as would like to (so many restaurants, so little time!), I’m always more than pleased when I do.
A few weeks ago, John took a few days off and I managed to drag him out of the house for lunch. Though we’re both still reluctant to dine-in at restaurants, I’m slowly trying to work it back into our routine. Otherwise, we’d be sitting at home building yet another world in Minecraft, and I would likely be cooking dinner. Let me tell you, I need a break, from looking at the same four walls of our apartment, from cooking, from Minecraft — all of it. Also, as handsome as John is, I’d love to see other people’s faces from time to time and, hey, I might even talk to them.
After running a couple of errands that Monday, we spontaneously decided to do lunch. We were considering where to go while driving down Canal Boulevard and I immediately thought MoPho. We were awfully hungry and it was just around the corner. We had hoped to sit outside on the patio, but when we arrived it was packed, while the interior of the restaurant was virtually empty. Since no tables were filled around us, we felt perfectly comfortable “dining in.”
It’s definitely not keto, but I had to have a cafe sua da. I adore Vietnamese coffee and decided to pay the price, even though it’s almost half sweetened condensed milk. Thanks to my friend Lorin, I now know a way to make a keto version of condensed milk and I can’t wait to try it! Anyhow, I was pretty good for the rest of the meal (and day) so the coffee didn’t bounce me out of ketosis.
We usually opt for the spring rolls or chicken wings (that sauce!), but this time we chose the queso and didn’t regret it for a minute. Made with coconut milk and topped with lao sausage — a Thai pork sausage seasoned with lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, and shallots — it was so creamy, sweet, savory and spicy, we could not stop eating it. Even our entrees didn’t deter us from finishing it off. The “queso” was served with radish sticks, shrimp chips, salted cucumber and triangles of roti, but even when we ran out of vehicles with which to shovel it into our mouths, we were eating it with a spoon.
John’s entrée was the Monday special, a “Vindaloo-Que” sandwich with smoked pork shoulder tossed in a Vindaloo BBQ sauce and topped with bread and butter pickles and slaw on a seeded bun. It was wonderfully smoky and earthy, but it required a knife and fork to actually get it into your maw. The sandwich came with a pile of crispy, fried potatoes instead of the ubiquitous fries. Trying to avoid any extra carbs, I got the Burmese Pork Bowl with fresh herbs and jalapenos, pickled veggie slaw (shredded carrots, cabbage, etc.) cucumbers, and collard greens topped with crisp, fried pork rinds. While I could’ve eaten it, I easily avoided the bed of coconut rice and gobbled the rest.
**Side note — Chef Gulotta also co-owns Maypop in the Warehouse District (more recently referred to as the South Market District) and it just re-opened for dine-in a couple of weeks ago. I cannot wait to go back!