I was taking a weekend morning drive along ECB, checking things out when I noticed that Nhat Vy was gone and replaced with "Asian Noodle House"....talk about a generic name......
It was just past 8am and I was contemplating checking the place out when the car in front of the shop left....giving me a perfect parking spot. This must have been some kind of "sign" right? So I pulled a U-turn and parked.
The place looks totally Spartan and generic....
The older gentleman working here was very friendly. I was handed the menu and had that "deja vu" feeling. I knew I'd seen this menu somewhere before....... Yeah, strange, kind of weird. And then it came to me; it looked just like the menu from the now defunct Hao Vi. So of course the first thing I did when I got home take a look at my Hao Vi post. Take a look and tell me what you think.
If I had any doubt in my mind; that was erased when the Hu Tieu Nam Vang ("kho" - dry - $6.50) arrived.....
It was the soup that sold me...instead of a leg bone, it was a couple of ribs. The soup was just like Hao Vi's porky, with a slight sweetness from the MSG.
The Hu Tieu was a bit overcooked and mushy, though it was nicely seasoned....the rest was routine, shrimp tough, ditto the pork, though that chicken was nice. The portion size a on the smaller size, but perfect for breakfast. I think the version at Ly Heng while being on the salty side is better and cheaper.
I did decide to return the next morning since the Missus was sleeping. This time I got the Beef Sate Egg Noodle "dry" ($6.50).
Again the noodles were on the overcooked side. This was pretty spicy though. The sate sauce was quite strong, it obviously wasn't diluted down, but it had a powdery texture to it. The beef was nice and tender. It was fine, but it won't make me forget the version at Minh Ky.
In regards to Hao Vi; the nice woman working here seemed not to understand when I asked. That's ok, I'll find out one of these days. Really nice folks here..... I'll drop by again in a couple of months. I like that they open at 8am; it does give me another option for breakfast in the area.
Asian Noodle House 4595 El Cajon Boulevard San Diego, CA 92115
Well, well, here you are again, looking at mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog. Kirk is still overwhelmed with lists of things to do. Ed (from Yuma) has lists of places to see. Cathy is writing today, with a list of favorites.
It's about time for me to rotate locations and cuisine to Mira Mesa and Vietnamese. Bolsa has been located in this same mall that holds the storefronts of QT Pot and Tapioca Heaven at the SouthWest corner of Mira Mesa Boulevard at Black Mountain Road for more than ten years. Kirk wrote one post about Bolsa in 2008 and he didn't like the pho. Let me say that after 7 1/2 years, the pho here still is not the best. But so many other menu items are. The interior is always clean and we've always been seated immediately.The fried squid appetizer ($9.95) can be a meal or can be shared. Lightly seasoned and breaded and properly fried, the crispy batter combined with the tender squid is always a good choice.The version of cha gio ($6.50) are made with my favorite, rice paper skin. The deep fried egg rolls are filled solidly with a variety of vegetables and just bit of pork. Six are served with a good amount of fresh mint and lettuce; more than enough for wrapping. The nuoc cham dipping sauce here really has the sweet, sour, salty, savory and spicy hints of flavor that compliment the rolls.Then again the order of spring rolls ($4.25) are also multi vegetable filled, tightly wrapped in fresh rice paper with my preferred filling of pork ball and the accompanying peanut dipping sauce.Banh Xeo ($7.95) is ordered before opening the menu. The crispy sizzling rice batter, flavored (and colored by) turmeric needs some extra time to make. The filling of sliced pork, shrimp, bean sprouts and mung beans are all part of our 'ritual' of cutting up the savory pancake and placing a bit of everything on a piece of lettuce along with some mint and dipping the wrapped morsel into the nuoc cham sauce.
It's gotten to the point that one of the waiters merely tells us that they have begin preparing the Banh Xeo because they saw us in the parking lot...The version of chicken curry ($6.95) here is excellent. Savory with some sweet, the curry sauce is thick and always has such deep flavor. Served with a warm loaf of banh mi that is used to soak up the sauce after eating the (large amount of) chicken along with the onion, carrot and noodles that are in the bowl, this is a great meal, especially on a cooler day.The turmeric marinaded fish ($13.95) is so good. The accompaniments in the upper photo include lettuce, sesame leaf, cold noodles, peanuts and sesame studded rice cracker...but those are hardly necessary for the first bites of these fried thicker pieces of moist fish with a light turmeric seasoned crust and fresh cooked dill. The flavors of just those basic pieces could be enough, but I end up making small lettuce filled bites using all the other ingredients to continue the enjoyment of the flavors.Last summer, my obsession was lemon beef salad. The version here is called lemon sauce beef ($9.95) and is listed as an appetizer. The salad, with its lettuce, onion and mint along with some crushed peanuts and the lemon cooked thin slices of beef seems to be exactly what I crave on hot, humid days. However, I still seek out other versions, just to be sure I have found my favorites.There's also a 'Stir Fried Egg Noodle' section the menu. You can ask for the noodle to be deep fried instead of stir fried and sometimes (like rainy days) the crispy noodle, topped with a combination of everything ($9.95)...beef, pork, shrimp, squid and vegetables..along with the addictive flavorful gravy is just perfect here.
Bolsa 9225 Mira Mesa Boulevard San Diego 92126 (858) 693-3663 open 9-9 daily
Don't want to bring too much attention to it....just in case you hadn't noticed. But man, it's still some kind of humid isn't it? On the good side. Well, I've been getting a nice amount of recommendations recently. Here are two of them.
あまりにも多くの誇大宣伝の家 aka RakiRaki:
That would be "Amarini mo ōku no kodai senden no ie". You can kind of figure out what I'm referring to based on my previousposts. It just seems at times that RR's biggest fan is themselves. On a good note, I think the product, while still far from great has been getting better over the last couple of years. And I received an email by "one who wants to remain anonymous" with two rec's. The first telling me that the Rikimaru Miso Tonkotsu Tsukemen was the way to go. So it's the way I went.
First, some housekeeping items...I ordered my noodles cold, but I guess the kitchen didn't get the memo and over-cooked them instead. Maybe to teach me a lesson for being a pain and ordering them cold? That egg was tragically over cooked, dry, and quite bland to boot.
I usually avoid miso based ramen broth because it's either much too salty, or all you end up tasting is the miso base. In this case it worked out quite well. Not too salty, faint miso flavor, the broth's almost citrus like "bite" tempered a bit. Decent amount of pork in the soup. This might be the way to go for me in the future...... In spite of the $13 price tag.
I heard through the grapevine that RR had purchased the lease to the A Cafe space, so it will be interesting to see what happens here.
RakiRaki Ramen and Tsukemen 4646 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
Pho Ha Noi:
There was a second recommendation in the email. I was informed that the best item on the menu at Pho Ha Noi was not the Pho, but something called Spicy Beef Salad, which just sounded right on one sweaty day.
Pho might not be the way to go here; but it sure didn't seem that way since the other three folks in the place were all getting pho.
The young man serving me was very nice and friendly. He also asked me twice if I could eat "spicy" when I ordered the spicy beef salad.
This is an interesting riff utilizing the typical stir fry beef which has been flavored with soy and fish sauce; a little sweet of course, but a bit under flavored for me. It was adequately tender and there was a fairly generous portion of protein. The "salad" is basically cabbage (aka coleslaw) mix with some, a bit too little slices of herbs mixed in. The "spicy" wasn't very spicy at all, basically a watered down nuoc mam cham with chili paste mixed in.
As a pseudo fast food dish, this wasn't bad. And I got my veggies....... Still, I'm not sure I'd have this again.
Pho Ha Noi 6904 Miramar Rd San Diego, CA 92121
Our "FOY" (Friend of Yoso) really wanted my opinion on these two items. So there you go! Thanks so much for taking the time out to email me!
A decent version, not too salty, rice a bit more mushy than I like. If you don't like chunks of preserved fish in your fried rice; this version might do it for you as the salted fish is finely minced.
I was looking for something to have with my meal and the Whole Fried Fish was recommended. I must have had vapor lock since I just went ahead and got it without asking what kind of fish.....tilapia....sigh....
Fried to death and beyond.......dry flesh, but at least it didn't taste too muddy. I've got stories about tilapia and growing up in Hawaii....sometimes called "the mahimahi of the Ala Wai Canal".
Sang Deuan Thai & Lao Kitchen 3904 Convoy St. Suite 112 San Diego, CA 92111
Tim Ky Noodle:
Well, it had been over 6 months since my last visit, and in spite of the heat, I thought I'd get some Bun Suong. Which unfortunately is no longer on the menu, which look a bit abbreviated from what I recalled. So I went with the Won Ton and Dumpling Egg Noodle soup which I recalled was pretty decent compared to other versions in San Diego.
While I don't expect excellence in won tons and dumplings in "Mi shop" versions, these weren't quite as good as I'd previously had. They were still more tender than say Luong Hai Ky or Minh Ky. The real difference between what I'd had before was how bland the broth was; there was a shortage of flavor and richness in this bowl. Just compare it to what I had on my previous visit:
Quite a difference, eh?
It's hard to complain about a bowl of noodle soup that is cheaper than a sandwich (not of the banh mi species), but this was nowhere as good as what I'd had before. Disappointing and kind of sad....I'm hoping this is the exception and not the rule.
Tim Ky Noodle 9330 Mira Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92126
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.
It had been quite a while since we headed out of San Diego on a road trip. Things had gotten hectic between vacations and various trips we'd taken. And yet, we really weren't satisfying some of our cravings. One of which was the Cha Ca Thang Long from Song Long. So last weekend we headed out, for the first time this year!
I don't think Song Long has changed much since we first visited a couple of years ago. But it had been long enough that the old menu had been replaced with a newer version and the Cha Ca Thang Long had gone up a buck to $17.95.
It's still more than enough for the two of us.
From the caramelized shallots, to the nicely fired fish to what we call the "gift that keeps on giving", the mam nem, which you keep pouring over your bun and greens, only to have it keep "returning" for the rest of the day! It's just a lovely dish, one of our favorites.
It's also good that they open rather early, since we could hit up places before they got busy on this Sunday.
Song Long Restaurant 9361 Bolsa Ave Suite 108 Westminster, CA 92683
This was nice, not salty, could have used a but more bean paste perhaps, the skin is not the best, but the duck is meaty and it actually tastes better the next day.
It really hit the spot.
The place does put a lot of "jus" over the duck. In case you're wondering what to do with the last few pieces of duck and the sauce. Chop up the skin and what meat....little meat if you've done it right, and make fried rice. I actually made omurice with some of the fried rice I made......I was so hungry and the fragrance just took over, thus I forgot to take photos. Next time perhaps.
mmm-yoso!!! is a blog about food that's been around for a very long time. Kirk is usually here writing, but he's on vacation right now. Ed(from Yuma) is sometimes here, but he is planning his vacation as this is being written. Cathy is here and now.
Van Hoa has been in this corner location of the strip mall at the North West corner of University at 54th since at least 2007, when Kirk wrote a two-part post about it. I followed up about seven years later with my own post about this regular stop before shopping at the Vien Dong Supermarket (to the right in the photo below).You have most likely seen the Van Hoa label on spring rolls and desserts sold at 99Ranch Market, Thuan Phat and World Foods.Ordering at the restaurant means the rolls are even fresher than the ones delivered to those stores daily. I must say the rice paper wrap is never 'rubbery', because the rolls are just made. There is only one choice of flavors- shrimp with pork. ($3.25). The fresh vegetable fillings(lettuce, mint, cucumber, carrot, daikon) are refreshing and what I crave. The peanut butter based dipping sauce lends a good umami to it all. The egg rolls here are also above average ($5.95). Mostly meat with mushroom filling, the frying is proper and never too greasy.Now that the warmer weather is coming (and going), sometimes bun (it's pronounced 'boon') is an order. Chilled vermicelli on one side of the bowl, salad (lettuce, mint, cucumber, sprouts) on the other half and, in this case, topping of Tau Hu Ky (shrimp wrapped with tofu skin) and the usual pickled radish/cucumber and peanuts ($6.50) makes an exceptional meal.Then again, my most favorite version of Banh Xeo ($6.50) is at Van Hoa, so as we are being seated I place that order (it takes a while to make the rice flour/turmeric pancake) The crunchy light pancake is delightful, the shrimp and pork are plentiful along with the onion/bean sprout/mung bean filling. Eating bits of this wrapped in lettuce and mint is also refreshing.
Thanks for reading. I hope your week is going well.
Van Hoa 4016 54th San Diego, Ca 92105 (619)582-2642 Open Mon-Sat 6-8, Sun 7-7
I never knew you could get the intestine "fried first" to give a bit more texture. I was told on this visit. At $6.77, this is priced right. Good swiney, earthy intestine, the pickled vegetable is typical, but this is a good value and I have no complaints.
Nice folks....I still get a kick that they call me "sir"......
777 Noodle House 4686 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92105
Come Tuesday it was on the chilly side...so it was over to Yakyudori for some Shio Ramen. Hard to believe the place was empty when I arrived.
Went for the shio ramen. It was interesting; I still think they changed the salt they use for this a while back...it just doesn't have the same flavor. The broth was also a lot darker than I recalled. The chashu was better than what I've had before. At least it wasn't ice cold. The boiled egg was lovely....not the best, but decent. The noodles prepped well.
The service was a lot less surly than what I've recently experienced. As I left, the place was getting crowded.
Yakyudori Ramen and Yakitori 4898 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
They've done a bit of renovation since the last time I was here.
I really love the texture of the crisp and light kakiage. And though the broth and udon is nothing special; it's the sum of the parts that works for me. That onigiri still seems like overkill to me....but I'm not complaining.
Plus, it's still $8.95.
Izakaya Sakura 3904 Convoy St #121 San Diego, CA 92111
By Thursday, it was in the 80's. It was time to treat myself to a nice Hwe Dup Bop.
And Sam know just how I like it. Easy on the rice, a good amount of cho-jang...crisp, fresh, a little spicy. Just what I needed to refresh.
Sushi Yaro 7905 Engineer Road San Diego, CA 92111
The weekend came and it was a bit cooler again....so I guess it was back to the beginning.
If you're going to have one item here, it should be the fish sauce wings. Since I first tried them in 2008, it's been a beloved item. In my article in the Reader, I noted how Jay told me he was going through as much as a thousand pounds of wings in a month.
It's still a wonderful, sweet, salty, and sticky.......
The Jackfruit Salad is another standby.
Over the years, I've noticed that they've somewhat refined their dishes a bit. In this salad, I noticed that the whole, hard peppercorns were gone and on this visit the nuoc mam cham was more savory, heavier on the fish sauce than sweet and watered done, which was a welcomed change. Nice amount of veggies, the somewhat citrusy-pungent-cilantro tones of rau ram, shrimp, and pork.
This made for a very satisfying meal.
It's good to know that the food here was just as good when Jay wasn't on the premises. It's also good to see Que Huong last when so many haven't.
Que Huong Restaurant 4134 University Ave San Diego, CA 92105