The Tenderloin, for all its raw nerve on the streets, is a hot bed for food lovers.
On Larkin Street near Eddy, a Gulf Coast-inspired Vietnamese joint is jumpin', called Red Crawfish. The tables have butcher paper changed between sittings. Groups get bags of boiled crustaceans in piping Cajun broth. A single diner like me gets a deep, stylish plate of mixed crustaceans and a great trough for shells. Bibs are tied around diners necks to keep the splatter off clothes as much as possible. Some dirty rice, corn-on-the-cob, and a coke and soon a Southern comfort washes away care.
The Vietnamese who settled Louisiana's Gulf Coast in the 1980s added their own grace to the menu. Everyone seems to be holding their breaths to await the real damage report from the Deep Water Horizon Spill but now I'm thankful for the continuing, ultra-vibrant culinary export.