We flew in on a Saturday and just wanted a simple inexpensive meal. The cool weather and light rain made soup inviting. So after taking the wrong freeway exit and driving around a bit, we arrived at Pho Oregon:
In a previous life, it had probably been a large Chinese restaurant and still had a lot of space and tables:
Tina suggested that we start with Tau hu ky:
It was really good. Crunchy fried tofu skin, mild dipping sauce, and seafoody interior:
And we both liked our soups. I had Pho Dac Biet:
The broth was mildly beefy, slightly sweet, and pleasant. But not great. The noodles, however, were plentiful and not all clumped up, and the meats were quite good:
The rare steak was flavorful, the fatty brisket and flank fall apart tender and rich, the soft chewy tendon abundant, and the meatballs nicely seasoned and not rubbery. Just a tiny amount of tripe, but I couldn't complain.
Tina is fond of Hu Tieu Dac Biet, here served with a pleasant light and porky broth and plenty of perfect noodles:
While the shrimp were slightly overcooked, the fish balls were very tasty. I don't recall the pork liver (Tina wolfed it down), but the sliced pork was chewy and dry.
What made both of the soups even better were the abundant herbs and vegetables: Look at all of the sawtooth and cilantro. Jalapeño and basil hiding somewhere on the plate but not in the picture.
So a week later, on another rainy evening, we returned. First, Banh Xeo – which certainly looked good flanked by all those herbs:
Opened up, however, not as impressive:
Yeh, plenty of bean sprouts, but few shrimp and they were sliced in half lengthwise. The two half slices of pork chewy and flavorless. Not great.
Tina decided to play safe and have the Pho Dac Biet. It was as good as previously. I decided to test the kitchen by ordering Bun Mam:
The bowl looked pretty good, but it lacked the strong pungent fragrance of good Bun Mam. I could imagine Kirk taking one whiff, looking sad, and shaking his head. The broth tasted mostly of fish sauce, somewhat thin and slightly acrid, and there was no shrimp paste among the condiments to funkify it.
On the positive side, look at the abundant rau thom; that's a huge portion of herbs and vegetables, all fresh and tasty:
And the soup was packed with good noodles, vegetables, and proteins. Everything, except for the pork, was really first rate. The shrimp were not overcooked, the catfish had no hint of muddiness and tasted especially fresh, and the eggplant couldn't have been better. All stirred together, the Bun Mam looked like this:
Many years ago, a freeway ran along the western bank of the Willamette River in Portland. Unbelievably, they tore down that freeway and replaced it with a long green park that stretches for over a mile, separating and uniting downtown Portland and the river:
Called the Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park to honor the visionary environmentalist who helped convert the Willamette from polluted sewer into the beautiful river that it is today (picture looking upstream from Willamette Falls):
McCall Park is a great place for sitting on benches, walking around,
or racing Segways:
Speaking of segues, at the north end of the park, adjacent to the Burnside Bridge,
on Saturdays (and Sundays too) for most of the year, you can find the Saturday Market:
and all sorts of handcrafts and art. For some reason or another I didn't photograph any of the beautiful and interesting artworks, but I did take some pictures of a few locally made T-shirts. Some of the shirts have typical funny slogans,
others are unique to Portland,
and some are perfect for a foodblog:
All this looking around and walking made us hungry, so we went to the food court area:
Numerous choices of all kinds of cuisines, but the Beirut Catering booth seemed to be doing a good business, and Tina and I were in the mood:
I ordered a shawarma and Tina the falafel sandwich. The pita bread for each of the sandwiches was warmed separately on a flat top:
The shawarma showed up first:
It was really good. The lamb had some gamy flavor, a bit of char, and just enough tenderness.
As we were tasting it, the man (it was a one-man show) scooped out two greenish balls of chickpea mush, and dropped them into bubbling hot oil:
When the falafel sandwich showed up, it looked magnificent:
And it tasted great. The exterior was dark and crunchy, the interior nicely balanced between smooth and coarse. The pita, falafel, tahini, tabouli, and veggies made memorable food music together. Outstanding!
We found a table nearby, sat down, had some conversations with other folks (people still talk to strangers in Portland), and watched the procession of beautiful well-trained dogs that strolled through and alongside the market. It was like a dog show. Of course, Tina and I forgot to take any pictures of the dogs. So, to make up for that, here is a picture of a local out walking his goat:
My first experience of Ethiopian food took place well over 30 years ago in Portland at Jarra’s, which I believe was the first Ethiopian restaurant in the area. All I remember was a warm and gracious owner/manager/waiter who served us a fall apart tender and fiery hot lamb shank. OMG good.
Anyway, Tina and I were in the mood for Ethiopian, and our friend Joanie told us that her family has been enjoying the Queen of Sheba for years. As you can see, the restaurant is in the fuzzy part of Portland:
The menu offered a page of vegetarian choices,
and a page of meat options:
I really wish that we had been able to visit this restaurant several times and try some entrées that I don't recall seeing in San Diego Ethiopian restaurants, like fish stew, chickpea cracker stew, lentils and okra, etc.
Especially interesting to us were the numerous mushroom options, so we ordered chicken and mushrooms in the milder alicha sauce and a combination of vegetarian sides.
As expected, the meal arrived covering a large thin injera pancake, which had a pleasant touch of sour tang.
We loved the chicken and mushrooms; a nice balance of textures, and the sauce was complex and interesting, giving the mushrooms, which soaked it up, an extra boost of flavor:
The yellow split peas were earthy and creamy:
The mustard greens, perfectly stewed, had a slight vegetal bitterness:
The golden brown shiro was a little soupy, but otherwise smooth and tasty.
The rather ordinary looking combination vegetables were well seasoned and presented a combination of textures and colors:
And the ordinary lettuce salad was fresh and lightly dressed
We left the Queen of Sheba full and happy, wishing we could return.
So I guess that's just one more reason why Tina and I have to get back to Oregon again (and again?).
For some reason, it seems to be much colder this year....if it's old age, moisture, or what, I'm not sure, but this year feels different. Could be this nagging cold that I just can't seem to shake as well. Of course that still doesn't stop having to run errands during the weekend. Good thing pho shop usually open around 8am. So here's a couple of nice steaming bowls....
Pho Hung Cali:
Since I last visited back in April, I'd been thinking of returning. I thought the pho was decent and worth the revisit.
Man this place is huge. I wonder if they ever fill it up since the parking lot is rather small. The service here was nice; especially the guy who goes around refilling the H2O....he's so friendly. Also, they still don't charge for hot tea.
Having not enjoyed the rare steak the last time through I went with #19, all the meat except the tai. It came out bellowing steam.
Meanwhile, the lime was yellowing, the basil had starting developing spots and the bean sprouts were turning brown. Granted, not the perfect weather for produce; but this was going south.
The broth was nice and hot; it was also clear, meaning that it was kept at that nice temperature; lightly bubbling, without a roiling boil, and the impurities were removed.
It was a bit too defatted for my taste; I appreciate a bit of richness in my both. The flavor was onion/shallot forward, with a good measure of sweetness. It was also a tad too heavy in terms of MSG as well. But not terrible and I'd easily say, it's better than anything in Kearny Mesa.
As for the proteins; thing were much more tasty this time around; especially the pieces of brisket, which were nice and beefy. The tendon was decent, it looked really nice, but was still a bit too hard for my tastes...not bad though. There was one tiny strand of tripe.
The noodles were perfectly prepared. And on a nice note, weren't in a tight clump on the bottom of the bowl. Yes, this does matter to me.
I thought this was a decent bowl. I think I'll even try the Pho Filet next time.
Pho Hung Cali 1060 Broadway Chula Vista Chula Vista, CA 91911
It was haircut time and Pho Lucky is across the street. Last time it was Cow Cali, so Pho Lucky get equal time.
Strangely not quite as good as on previous visits. The broth was nicely flavored; anise and onion forward, but was on the cloudy side. The noodles were perfect, but the meats all tasted a bit off. The flank was really, really tough...like eating rubber, the tendon; usually a favorite of mine was MIA. So, I've been here many, many, times and I'll allow it an off day.....or perhaps I should have just gone Banh Mi Bo Kho.
Pho Lucky 9326 Mira Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92126
It seems like our trip was sort of bookended by pho.
Pho Cow Cali:
My director always kids me about my habit of getting a haircut the week before any trip. "I see you're ready for your vacation now......" As I noted in my previous post on the place, the guy who cuts my hair is close by in Mira Mesa, so why not stop in for breakfast before my pre-trip ritual?
I was surprised how busy the place was at 8am on Sunday.
I went with the usual.
Pretty much the same bowl as previous visits. Well flavored proteins. A couple of things did get my attention; while the broth was a bit more rich than before, with some mild beef flavor, it was also several steps below hot. Also, they're really starting to get stingy with the herbs and sprouts here.
Service was as before. All business.
Overall, still better than almost everything else in San Diego.
Pho Cow Cali 9170 Mira Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92126
It had been ages since my last pho visit here, so I decided on trying the rare beef.......which was cut too thick, was overdone by the time it hit the table, and was tough. I ordered the #2, which I thought should have had tendon and tripe, but both were MIA. The flank was really bad, tasteless rubber, though the brisket was tender and had a decent beefiness. There was quite a bit of nicely prepped noodles; considering this was a small bowl. The broth was interesting, too sweet and too much msg for my taste. The broth was a bit more cloudy than I prefer as well. There was quite a generous portion of herbs and sprouts, something I hadn't seen in a while.
Barely passable pho. It also shut me back down for another day or so........
Pho Hiep & Grill 6947 Linda Vista Road San Diego, CA 92111
mmm-yoso!!! is the name of this food blog. Kirk is out and about, in a different time zone. Ed (from Yuma) is also in a different time zone and Cathy is in the here and now, blogging.
When I started to write this post, checking on whether or not I had written a prior post (to link) was a bit tedious. Of this location, I saw that Kirk had blogged about it twice now, calling it Pho Hoa-Huong', but the signage now has ..."I eat Pho!"...
Then there is Pho Hoa Hiep, located on the other end of this same parking lot as "I Eat Pho", which is anchored by Thuan Phat supermarket. Anyhow, this pho shop has been here a long time, the interior hasn't changed, the food is consistent and gets to the table extremely fast once you order.Delivery from the kitchen this visit was so fast that the Pho Tai ($6.30, small) raw beef still wasn't cooked in the hot broth when it was placed on the table. We like the pho broth (herbal-meaty) and noodles (not in a clump) here. You can order Cha Gio as a full or half order ($3.50), which is nice. The rice paper fried wrapper is my favorite. The fresh fried spring rolls have a good meat to veggie filling ratio. For years, I've been trying Bo Kho (beef stew) ($6.65) at various Vietnamese restaurants, even though I know the best is at Pho Lucky. The stew here is my second favorite in the County; it's rich and satisfying, with tender meat and a multi flavored broth.
Hot foods on a cool day, what a nice feeling. Hope all of you are enjoying this weather.
Pho Hoa 6921 Linda Vista Road San Diego 92111 (858) 492-9108 open daily 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
After having the hottest October on record, we've kind of settled into milder weather. Which means pho and ramen can be shoe horned back into lunch.
When Pho Paradise first opened, I thought it had some potential, even thinking that we'd finally get some decent Pho on Convoy. Even though my follow-up visit wasn't quite as good, I still believed they might have been the best pho in the area. So now, over six months later, I was wondering how things would be.
I started with the chicken wings, which looked very pale.
This wasn't too bad, the wings were fairly light and crisp, though sogginess set in rather quickly. A bit too much MSG for my taste, with that strange very salty edging on sweet taste and tongue sensation.
The pho was a disappointing.
This reminded me of the stuff Pho T Cali puts out. Barely any flavors other than being very salty with a very mild hint in the background. It was much too low in fat, the noodles, of which there was a healthy amount of, were over cooked, the proteins had no flavor and the tendon was too hard.
Well, at least the basil and bean sprouts were fresh, right?
In case you have doubts. Here's a bowl from Pho Paradise back in February.
Pho Paradise 3904 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
Yakyudori Ramen and Yakitori:
I needed a break from the office one Friday and ran over to Yakyudori for an early lunch before the place got too crowded and the Servers too surly. It had been a while since I'd had lunch here and I went with the Friday combo. Chashu Gohan with a Shoyu Ramen.
The pork and rice came in a medium sized miso soup bowl....lots of rice in this though the chashu was good in comparison to what I'd had recently at Okan during lunch. It was tender, had some flavor, and was lukewarm rather than cold. The corn and bean sprouts added texture....but this was mostly a whole lot of rice.
I hadn't had lunch here in a while so I was surprised at the size of the "mini-ramen"....it was more mini that I recalled.
Not that I needed more carbs, but there were maybe three bites of noodles and I really wanted more soup. Overall, this was a decent bowl, just edging on too salty, but quite satisfying and the noodles were prepped well. I should have just gotten the ramen instead of the lunch special.
Since I did it with Pho Paradise, it's only right I do this here too. Here's what the mini ramen used to look like.
No wonder they give you so much rice now. They need to fill you up somehow.
At least they were a bit nicer here than on my previous visits.
Yakyudori Ramen and Yakitori 4898 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
Noodle soup when it's 88 with 80% humidity? Yeah, I guess so. At least that's what I had this past weekend.
Da Nang Food to Go:
My first choice was for some Beef Sate Noodle from Minh Ky, which was standing room only....at like 9 in the morning. My second choice was for some Bum Mam from Nhu Y, but all those guys having coffee and the parking lot was full. It had been a while since I last visited Da Nang and the parking lot was empty....
While not in the league of, say Huong Giang, this wasn't bad at all. Mi Quang isn't supposed to have a ton of soup, so this filled the bill. The broth was a little too light for my taste. There was a ton of turmeric colored noodles. The shrimp, which looked kind of dubious at first was nicely cooked, still moist, the pork had good flavor, though it was on the tough side. I wish there were more "herbs"
Hard to complain for $5.95 though.
Da Nang Food to Go (aka Quan an Da Nang) 4745 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, CA 92115
Pho Sao Bien:
Sunday was a crazy day, wasn't it? Things looked bright and sunny early on; but by 3pm.....well, the clouds moved in as did the record rainfall. The temps stayed high....and it became a sweatbox at home.
It had been a while since I'd been to Pho Sao Bien so I decided to check them out again.
The place had been freshened up a bit over the years, but looked pretty much the same.
The guys working here have, for the lack of a better description, sort of a laid-back, stoic kind of thing going on.
Let's call this set of photos the "Cha Gio go on a diet"?
Unevenly fried so that portions of the wrapper was hard and gummy, the rest of it just plain hard instead of crisp. The filling is now almost all filler. The nuoc mam cham watered down. How sad. I could only manage to try to eat two.
I hadn't had the pho here in almost 9 years, so it was time for a repeat, right?
In keeping with my previous pho encounter here; the garnishes were quite skimpy.
Lordy, lordy, where to start? How about the good news? The tendon, tripe, and flank were pretty darn good. No off tastes, the tendon gelatinous and tender.
The rest just wasn't to my taste. Other than being on the salty side; the broth was really, really, weak and bland. It was also cloudy and there seemed to be an abnormal amount of scum in it. The noodles were also over cooked and mushy. I tried all kinds of stuff to bump up the flavor. But nothing really helped. Finally, I did something I haven't done in 25 years........gasp....I added Sriracha and Hoisin..... I never thought I'd have to resort to this.
"What's this thing with you having pho for breakfast every Saturday?" Asked the Missus. My reply; "well, some of these errands I have to run for you mean a bit of a drive and pho is always easy, plus these places open rather early, 8 or 9 am, and aren't crowded at that time."
Which is how I came to have two bowls at almost opposite ends of the map the last two Saturdays.
Pho Hung Cali:
I'd heard some good things about this place from folks who live in the South Bay. "Buddha" who often comments also mentioned the place to me in an email. So since I was in the area, I thought why not?
the place was very easy to find; basically katty-corner from Aqui es Texcoco. Strange, I'd never even noticed the place before.
The interior is much larger than it looks from the outside....though a lot of the space is empty.
The service is typical pho shop...perhaps a bit more friendly, but mostly all business.
I went with the #18 - Rare Steak, Flank, Brisket, Tendon, and Tripe ($5.95).
I think I've had too many bowls of pho...I recognized the pattern on the bowl; it's the same as the bowls at Pho Cow Cali and Pho Hiep and Grill. Sheesh. The broth though, being on the "sweeter" side reminded me of Pho Fifth Avenue. It wasn't quite as beefy, though it had some anise tones. A decent broth, a bit too light, but not overly salty. It was also a bit on the cloudy side.
I appreciate the generous amount of nicely prepared tripe; though the rare steak was totally cooked by the time the bowl reached me and rigor mortis had set in. The rest of the meats were meh......tasteless, much of it falling apart, the tendon tougher than I prefer.
The noodles were overdone and mushy.
Overall, not a bad bowl, possibly the best I've had in the area. If I were in the area, I'd stop by again. The broth wasn't bad, the prices decent, and one other thing....the hot tea was free....I know, it's usually only a buck.....but for some reason I appreciated an ok pot of tea gratis.
Pho Hung Cali 1060 Broadway Chula Vista Chula Vista, CA 91911 Hours: Mon - Sun 8am - 9pm
Pho Saigon and Grill:
This place is located right across from 24 Hour Fitness on Carmel Mountain Road. The place I needed to be at wasn't open until 10 am so I decided to grab some breakfast here.
The folks here were really nice.
I got the Pho Dac Biet (small - $6.95), which arrived super piping hot. The presentation reminded me of Pho Paradise.
The herbs and sprouts portion was on the small side.
The broth was highly defatted, but had a nice dark hue. It didn't quite deliver on it's color being very light in flavor and quite salty.
The tendon, as you can tell was good, as was the brisket, which had kept a nice beefy goodness. The flank was too tough, the rare steak cut too thick, and the tripe MIA.
The noodles were dead on perfect. Not sure why all places can't do it this way?
Overall a nice experience with regards to the staff. The pho was decent, but nothing worth going out of my way for.
Pho Saigon & Grill 9975 Carmel Mountain Rd San Diego, CA 92129 Hours Mon - Sun 9am - 9pm
Of course, the underlying question is; which of these two bowls did I enjoy more? I've got to say Pho Hung Cali, based on the broth, which was more complex and had more flavor.
I've gotten into a habit of having noodle soup for breakfast. Check that; I crave noodle soup for breakfast on weekends. It's something that happened over time, but has become a bit of a habit. I'm not the only one with a weekend routine. When I rise and leave for work during the week, while it's still dark out, Da' Boyz won't even budge. They go outside, do their thing, and then it's back to sleep. During the weekend however, it's light and bright, they have a routine of their own. Most weekend mornings, I'll go for some of the quick errands; gas up the car, the ATM, Catalina Offshore, etc......and I'll take them with me. It's gotten to the point of them knowing and expecting this to take place. Sammy will sometimes stick his nose in the shower, with Frankie running around in the bathroom whining demanding their weekend "car ride". After that's done, I go for more of the errands, the "honey doo" things farther afield while the Missus is working or still sleeping. My reward? Some noodle soup. So here's a few recent bowls....I've posted on these places already, but thought it was time for another. No Mien Trung, even though they open at 9. I'm getting old, Bun Bo Hue is a bit too much for breakfast these days.
777 Noodle House:
My favorite $5.77 bowl - either Hieu Tieu Nam Vang or in this case Mi Trieu Chau. Basically the same dish, except one is with egg noodles.
777 Noodle House 4686 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92105
Pho Lucky 9326 Mira Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92126
Open at 9 am
When you have a place in your regular rotation you sometimes notice things. Like the pair of pooches in the photo to the right. I've seen them at Nijiya a good half dozen times now. I have no idea who they belong to, but they sure are "regulars".
And then there are the odd things. Like the colander/strainer I saw in the men's urinal at Zion Market one morning. I'm sure it was doing a "similar job". I just hope it wasn't doing double duty.
Needless to say; I wasn't feeling like having anything to eat in the food court that morning. I also waited until I got home to use the restroom.....
We just got back from an overdue visit to Portland over the last couple of days. The very busy Cathy was kind enough to cover (as usual) for us. The somewhat ironic thing being, the weather when we returned from Portland, was more like Portland than Portland was....or something like that! Anyway, after feasting on foie gras and bone marrow (posts to come) having some soup was quite nice. So here's where I've been since we got back.
Something I've noticed over the last couple of years. As "Mom" gets older, the broth for the Bun Bo Hue sometimes is rather heavy handed with regards to MSG, or even spiciness. Such was the case on this day....not to say I didn't finish every lemongrass tinged drop of soup.
The Hen Xuc Banh Trang however, was a spicy-peppery-savory joy to devour.
Mien Trung Restaurant 7530 Mesa College Dr San Diego, CA 92111
I know, they've just opened and I'm doing a revisit post already.
Call me cynical, but I've been kind of down on pho in Kearny Mesa for a while so when I actually had what I thought was a decent bowl here, I had a hard time believing it wasn't a fluke.
So, on my return, I didn't order the rare steak, which was cut to thick, making it quite dry the last time, and just went with the brisket, flank, etc..... the brisket and flank were dry and tough; but the tendon was quite nice as was the tripe.
Of course, there was the broth.....for me broth is the key. This time it was a bit different; not quite as rich and still a touch too salty. The flavor however was pretty much the same mildly beefy, faint anise, strong shallot-onion. Not bad at all. The noodles were even prepared better this time and there was a more generous (and better quality) amount of herbs and sprouts.
So maybe there's decent pho to be had on Convoy after all.....
Pho Paradise 3904 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
Pho Nhu Y:
The weather had got me craving Bun Mam for some reason. I really didn't feel like heading to City Heights. So I headed over to Pho Nhu Y on Clairemont Mesa, which is run by the original owner of Nhu Y. I even went after the 3pm Bun Mam hour. They had declared Bun Mam off limits until after 3pm as to not offend their gringo lunch crowd. Anyway, I found, much to my disappointment that Bun Mam is no longer offered. Bummer....... So what to order? Heck, wanting some noodle soup, I went with the Bun Rieu ($8.75).
The bowl arrived scalding hot....and the positives stopped there. The soup was tasted like pho broth with a touch of tomato and a tiny bit of seafood flavor, but not enough to make it proper bun rieu. There were little crumbs of a meat paste which had no flavor...this was mainly cha lua and fried tofu. I call this "shadow soup"...where a noodle soup; like Bun Bo Hue/Bun Rieu/Bun Mang Vit is made to barely reference the true flavors.
Well....at least I wouldn't be "offending customers" right? I know this place can do better....
Pho Nhu Y Vietnamese Grill 5375 Kearny Villa Rd San Diego, CA 92123
So I've got a kind of new reader....I think. At least the person has been emailing me.....very entertaining emails......telling me I really don't "represent" what true San Diegans eat, or want to eat. Which perhaps is the point of the blog, right? Anyway, I got sent some photos of what, according to this reader, "real San Diegans" eat. And was asked why I don't post on stuff like that....... Great thing is, I can just use the photo sent to me:
Hot Dog....mmmmm. I actually enjoy hot dogs. Heck, I have a whole category devoted to them. Still, perhaps not this one; though it's a good bargain (much better when it was Hebrew National)....maybe one day, never say never, after all, I've had worse at Costco. Still, this makes me chuckle because it reminds me of my good FOY's (Friend of Yoso) "Xiang Jiao" (you can see her here taking a cleaver to a whole roasted pig we snuck into a karaoke room - as if you could really sneak a whole pig into one) road trip with "friends"....very frugal friends, who insisted on eating at every Costco they could find (they had it mapped out) along the way. Personally "XJ" is too sweet and patient....I would have mutinied....friendships would have been ended and blood (perhaps mine) would have been shed. But that's just me.......
As I said before; that logo looks a bit familiar, but I just can't place it.
In addition to the décor; the menu is typical of your neighborhood pho shop...pho, bun, rice......
I went with #3, rare steak, brisket, tendon, and tripe ($6.75). Man, when did pho hit the seven dollar mark? The Dac Biet here is like $7.75. Regardless, I liked the look of my bowl when it arrived.
Kind of sparse on the sprouts and herbs....but is that Ngo Gai I see? A rarity on the Mesa.....
The broth looked dark and rich, flecks of oil dotted the surface....the fragrance was quite "onion-ny". Nice first impression. The broth was mildly beefy, faint anise, onion-forward, though, as is the norm in San Diego, a bit heavy handed on the MSG. It was also super scalding hot.
The noodles were over-done and on the mushy side.
As for the proteins; the tendon was good, decent texture; the rare steak was cut too thick and dried out quickly in the broth. This was the most tripe I've seen in a bowl on the Mesa since forever.
The flank and brisket were unremarkable, both flavorless and on the dry side.
Still, it seems that these folks aren't just going thru the motions and are really trying to put out a good product.
A few days later I returned and tried the Banh Mi Bo Kho ($6.75). Man was this super dark.
This was too salty for my taste, it was also very thin, lacking in anise tones and any vestige of tomato flavor. The meat was on the tough and dry side.
I'd probably stick with the pho.
The young man and young lady who served me were very nice. I know I've been around a long time when I recognized Her from Van Hoa and K Sandwich...sheesh. The service here seemed a level above your typical pho shop. I like the hours, since my schedule often calls for an early lunch. This location seems to have some bad juju; in the course of two years it has been Viet Bakery and Pho, then V Bakery. I hope the place can break that spell. I also hope the pho is just as good, or heck, let's shoot for the moon, maybe even better next time around. You see, I'm not looking for a "pho paradise" here; just a decent bowl.
Pho Paradise 3904 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111 Hours: Mon - Sat 9am - 10pm Sunday 10am - 9pm