Been on a phở rampage lately and can’t seem to get enough. Here’s a number 3 from Pho Hoa Lao. The difference between this and number 2? No beef balls. Of course, I must always pair this bowl with an iced Vietnamese drip coffee. Such pure pleasure.
Lately time seems to fly by, and it’s been a while since the last recent meals post, so here’s a gallery of some of the meals we’ve had so far this month to help me remember.
May 2, Monday – first meal of the day is at Thanh Ky in Oakland, my second time there. This House Special Rice Noodle Soup is essentially the same as VH’s Chow Jew Rice Noodle (潮州米粉), with the addition of some fried pork fat sprinkled on top. Sadly, I find Thanh Ky to be less enjoyable than VH and will not go there again of my own volition.
Black Bear Diner
May 2, Monday – second meal of the day is Black Bear Diner in Emeryville, our first time there. We were there slightly early on a Monday and had a nice, quiet dinner. Food was great and we will definitely be going there again.
May 6, Friday – we bought some canned tomatoes from Costco and on the back of the box was a recipe for Mexican Rice. We didn’t have a couple of staple Mexican ingredients but I tried making it anyway and the result was more like a tomato and black bean rice than a Mexican rice. JC rounded it off with a sauteed beef and mushrooms.
Deep Dish Pizza
May 7, Saturday – we were looking at photos from Adventure 2012 – Chicago and trying to figure out where in SF we could go to get deep dish pizza. Not liking our options, JC went to Lucca Ravioli, bought some pizza dough and ingredients, and made her own. It was amazingly good.
May 9, Monday – the night before JC and I had watched this episode of Begin Japanology, and the next day she wanted to get some udon, but where? She tried looking at reviews online but in the end could not find anything definitive. We decided to go to Japantown anyway and maybe go with yōshoku instead, since we’d also seen an episode on that recently. In the end, we selected a restaurant that we found out is closed on only one day of the week: Mondays! 🙁
Amazingly, an actual udon shop was situated two stores down from the closed place, and it was open. It looked authentic, with a noodle-making machine out front. Damn, what luck. We tried it and it was exactly what was expected, like we had gone back in time to Adventure 2012 – Tokyo. That’s the beauty of adventure, you never know what amazing things you might encounter if you’ll just try.
May 10, Tuesday – continuing on our Japanese adventure, the next day we went to San Jose for Santouka Ramen (well, actually I wanted to get Key Coffee from Mitsuwa, plus on another recent trip down there we had skipped Santouka).
Santouka holds a special place in our memories because it is where we had first meal (aka breakfast) when we stayed in Santa Monica during Adventure 2012 – Road Trip (almost 4 years later and I still haven’t finished updating, eff me!). We’d actually first had it in Adventure 2012 – Hong Kong but didn’t realize it was part of a worldwide chain. Anyhow, the one in Santa Monica is also attached to Mitsuwa and back then I went and bought myself a Japanese can coffee in the supermarket before getting ramen, and now it’s a ritual I repeat whenever I go to Santouka. Good times.
Pho Hoa Lao
May 11, Wednesday – a really delicious and hearty meal at Pho Hoa Lao in Oakland. Had stayed up all night that day so the pork chop with the runny egg mixed with rice along with sips of Vietnamese iced coffee was just exactly what I needed late in the afternoon. JC and I have been going there for years, and I may have even gone there before I met her. Amazing.
May 12, Thursday – on this day JC cooked up the dried, packaged udon that we bought from Mitsuwa on Tuesday. She got creative and added her own toppings of heirloom tomato, mushroom, fish cake, seaweed, and the highlight, homemade tamago. Each slurp of udon was immensely satisfying!
Steak and Rice
May 12, Thursday – second meal on the same day was ribeye steak and rice, again prepared by JC. It’s definitely not the same cooking your own steak versus your wife doing it for you. I felt so loved as I gobbled up each piece of meat and fat. Too good.
Pho Ao Sen
May 14, Saturday – another second time trying a new place since returning from Hong Kong. Most memorable thing from the first time was that the broth was noticeably greasy, more so than most other pho places I’ve been to. Most memorable thing from the second time was that the iced coffee (I didn’t get it the first time) tasted like instant Trung Nguyen G7 coffee and came pre-mixed in a to-go cup. So, based on the hype of the place, the greasy broth, and the relatively high prices, can I possibly put serving instant coffee as drip coffee past Pho Ao Sen? Based on my experience as a human, I’d have to say no.
So there you have it, some of our recent meals from the first half of May 2016. As I said in the beginning of this post, it seems like it flew by, and without looking at the photos I might have forgotten that I had these great meals. I want to make sure that I treasure these moments and not take them for granted. I also want to remind myself of what a great place I’m in now; there are times when I look at photos from Hong Kong and wish I was back there because of certain things I miss. Well, when I was in Hong Kong, I would look at photos from the USA and miss these things from back home. It’s like I forget about the negative aspects of the places I miss, and focus only on the negative aspects of where I currently am. That’s a grass-is-greener mentality that I want to avoid.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for some late-night Japanology. 😉 Hope you’ve enjoyed this Recent Meals post, good night, and bon appetit!