Well, fall in San Diego, which means temps for us in the 60's....cool enough for me to go grab some soup. So here's a little round-up.
Hoai Hue Vietnamese Restaurant:
Geez Louise, it wasn't even 11 and the place was packed...mostly older folks....a category I probably qualify for now.
I went with the Bun Tam Hoai Hue ($8.45), their special version of Bun Bo Hue, that's even more special than their Dac Biet ("special") which is also on the menu. I guess it's their special, that's more special than their special....or something like that.
As with previous visits; this has been quite consistent; not very spicy, not enough lemongrass, lack of any kind of dark savory tones. On the other hand, the proteins are done better than Mien Trung and the crab cake, a staple of Bun Rieu is a nice addition. This was a decent bowl of soup; though as Bun Bo Hue.....well, I'm not so certain, it's much too tame.
Hoai Hue Vietnamese Restaurant
4660 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115
I'd had a bowl recently that was too salty, but this one hit the spot. Rich, beefy-anise tones, not watered down like most places. Tons of tendon.....it just hit the spot. The baguette looked kind of weird, but was nice and warm if a bit too crumbly....almost like something from K Sandwich.
I just noticed something....over the years, I've never mentioned the nice supporting role the pungency of the onions, the cilantro, and how a tiny squeeze of lime just lifts the flavor of the beef stew.
As an added bonus, a refugee from Tan Ky Mi Gia now works here. Folks who used to go there know who I'm referring to. It was nice seeing him.......all was right in the world at that moment!
9326 Mira Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92126
Pho Cow Cali:
Well, the guy who has been cutting my hair for 12 years sure does get around; from Mission Valley to Serra Mesa to El Cajon to College to his uncles house (during a bad spell he was pretty much homeless) to Rolando, to Oceanside, and now (though I'm sure I've missed as couple of locations) to Mira Mesa. He is the one person with whom I can trust cutting my hair.....not a big deal I guess, but I have a very loyal streak in me. He is also a great guy....... A nice bonus is that he's now located in Mira Mesa, which gives me another reason to head up there.
Since I'd already had something from Pho Lucky earlier in the week, I decided to drop by Pho Cow Cali since it had been a while.
In terms of pho I think this way; Lucky for the broth, "Da Cow" for the beef......
And I wasn't disappointed. I'm not a big fan of "Tai" (rare steak) in San Diego. It's usually (well always) really low quality top round with no fat which ends up being quite tough even with the slightest sunk into the hot broth. The proteins on this day; though tripe and tendon seemed to be at premium, was fine as always. Now Ralph Waldo Emerson might have said "consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" but he was referring to a "foolish consistency", of which PCC usually does not participate....at least in terms of meat.
The broth, on the other hand can sometimes be MSG overload....though that was not the case on this day. I will say, that it was a bit more defatted than I would have preferred. Maybe I should be like my fellow blogger Dennis and just automatically do the Nuoc Beo thing (BTW, we miss your posts Dennis - hope you are doing well).
The noodles were also a bit softer than I prefer, but overall, not a bad bowl....better than almost everything else in San Diego.
One thing I never noticed before....the, umm, well, is it the logo, which for some reason I found kind of strange since it looked more like a goat than a cow......and for some reason found strangely familiar....like "do I know you? Have we met before?" I can't put my finger on it right now......
Pho Cow Cali
9170 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126