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My sis and I got a chance to check out a thai restaurant that we’ve passed numerous times.  We always thought it was a greasy spoon hole in the wall take out thai place but we were pleasantly surprised when we walked in.    It looked mighty spiffy like it had been on one of those restaurant make over shows.   In addition to a regular menu, they offered lunch specials which we decided to try.

Each lunch special came with the soup of the day and a spring roll in addition to your entree.

20130523-153802.jpgHot and sour soup with a spring roll

20130523-153833.jpgChicken & egg fresh rolls

20130523-153849.jpgGreen curry chicken w/steamed rice. Love the lil heart they cut out!

20130523-153914.jpgBeef pad thai

The prices were reasonable and the food was pleasantly tasty! Nothing toned down for the locals AND it didn’t taste like fast food, if that makes any sense. I’ve never been to Thailand but the food here tasted pretty authentic.  I even noticed the ‘essence of wok’ in the pad thai vs the usual ketchup one expects.  Definitely plan on going back and taking the hubster 🙂

Ever been pleasantly surprised by a restaurant which you thought would be a hole in the wall?

More info here: Taste of Thailand Cuisine

Got a chance to meet up with a girlfriend for lunch the other week.  Since the weather has gotten cooler  we decided on Vietnamese – Pho.  For those of you that don’t know what ‘pho’ is – its basically rice noodles in a flavourful broth/soup.  There are several variations available – beef, chicken, seafood, beef balls, fish balls, beef tendon, tripe etc.  One must study the menu carefully to ensure they order what they want.  😉

Read more about pho here.

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To start, we had fresh rolls with shrimp. It’s a very soft rice paper noodle wrap and inside is rice vermecelli, basil, mint, cilantro and cold boiled shrimp.  There are other options available but we chose shrimp. It comes with a peanut dipping sauce – shown on the right.

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To help enhance or boost the broth’s flavours they offer a dish of bean sprouts, lime wedges and basil to mix in.  I guess the big thing about pho is the entire experience. The taste – hence the lime, the texture – hence the raw bean sprouts and the fresh basil – to enhance the aromas already tempting your nose.   Some people add some or all of it in, some totally opt to leave it out.  I’m an ‘all in’ type gal especially after learning to love basil this summer 😉

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And here it is, a big bowl of pho.  This was their ‘Pho Mi 99 Special’ which has a bit of everything in it:  well done beef, brisket, rare beef (which cooks in the broth – no worries!), beef balls and tripe.  All served scalding hot.  The magic (and skill if you ask me) is trying to eat it while its giving you a piping hot pho steam facial.

Luckily for us, we ordered the same pho. I traded off my tripe for her beef balls – both things we weren’t a fan of so it all worked out in the end. BTW: things taste better with sriracha hot sauce 😉

The only thing that isn’t shown here was my avocado shake.  I first developed a love for it from a pho restaurant. I saw it on the menu and was curious and then I was hooked.  I have since learned to make them at home for a fraction of the cost and healthier but for nostalgic reasons, I thought I’d try it again in its original form.  Just as awesomely tasty as I remembered but then the more I sipped…the more I began to realize how much I loved my homemade recipe more.

The service is always speedy and the price is always right at Pho Mi 99.  Small bowls start in the $5 range and the jumbo bucket/wash basin sized bow  goes for just under $10 approx.   Again, pricing will vary depending on the type of pho you order.

I. LOVE. PHO. 🙂

So tell me, have you tried pho before? How’d you find it? Do you make your own at home?

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