Friday, November 27, 2009

Pho La Jolla

I'm still settled on Pho Lucky, Mira Mesa as my go to spot when craving a really great bowl of Pho (thanks to Kirk) but more times than not convenience takes over and I find myself elsewhere. Pho La Jolla is a hop and skip away from the office and it offers at least for me a bowl that is good enough for those Pho craving moments so that I don't otherwise spontaneously combust.

These days I've been going easy on the Nuoc Beo. Maybe because I have a new addiction.

Fresh Cha Gio from where ever it may be is just SO Darn GOOD. :)

I have to say whoever invented the concept of wrapping a fresh hot fried egg roll with cool leafy lettuce and herby mint leaves is a total genius. Admittedly a bit messy when dipped into the sauce (you're basically waving a lettuce mop in front of your face) but it is a valiant reminder of things that are good in the world. :)

The dipping liquid/sauce (I think called Nuoc Cham) is a bit weak. I personally don't mind the more intense ones that make me do a cough reflex but they usually give two here as to compensate for the lack of concentration.

The Bouquet (each are from seperate visits, enjoy!).

My first visit to Pho La Jolla was the same week after reading Kirk's post. Wow that seems like such a long time ago.

As described the soup then felt quite diluted, to me even borderlining to some Pho I had in mall food courts. Ngo Gai made a surprise appearance in the veggie platter but this was brief and only during this one day.

When I asked for Nuoc Beo they seemed a bit surprised but brought some out. I was also charged a small amount for it (I think my receipt said "Extra Onions, $0.50").

Over the year the broth eventually stabilized to something a bit more hearty but is still definitely on the quiet side. The nuoc beo now gets the more typical large sliced sections of scallions.

I mentioned not being a fan of the party confetti-like tripe in the past but these days I look forward to it. The tendon is usually very soft as well.
I had some Bo Vien beef meat balls added this day below (+$2). I describe about them a little here.

Had at least two more bowls of Pho documented but I felt the content was redundant and decided to leave them out. Onto a few non-pho dishes I tried..

Noodles with Egg Roll & Grilled Pork (No.48 - Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong, $8.50).
Having the noodles dry in a bowl like this was a first for me and it made me realize that I much prefer the steamed rice dishes. I think I ended up drenching the entire nuoc cham over. It's probably just me.

The Chicken Spring Rolls (No.31 - Goi Cuon Ga, $4.45) this day was ok. Could've been better in that it was a bit sparse in the chicken department. I feel these peanut sauces makes almost anything taste good though.

Rice with Steamed Pork Meatloaf and Grilled Pork Chop (No.40 - Com Cha Suon Nuong, $7.25).
To me Vietnamese rice dishes are up there with Hawaiian plate lunches. Extremely filling and satisfying, but with the fresh vegetables a little less guilty. I find the portion here a bit smaller than usual but they did follow through with the complementary soup.

The Pho Bo Kho ($7.50) I had for the first time so I have nothing to compare with..

The soup had a mild sweeter tomato flavor. To me it tasted like a mixture of the Pho Bo soup base with a bit of tomato concentrate (Campbell's?) added to it. Only my humble description but I do remember it having an impressive amount of the stewed beef. Many were on the chewy side unfortunately.

And that's it.

Come to think they eventually were never able get the Banh Mi sandwiches going but compared to many Pho joints that seem to have cafeteria sized kitchens, Pho La Jolla's is teeny tiny. While there's definitely room for improvement, considering my options in the area (or maybe I should say not in my area) I'm glad Pho La Jolla is around. Service is friendly.

Pho La Jolla, 3211 Holiday Ct. La Jolla, CA 92037


K and S said...

everything sounds so good! I think I better look for a pho shop around here...

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, pho. We just had some yesterday! I can't resist Cha Gio wrapped in lettuce and mint leaves! I love to pick out the jullienned carrots and radish from the dipping sauce and add that to it. Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong is my typical go-to bun dish (love it on a warm day).

I know what you mean about convenience. It's the same for us re: Pho Lucky, now that Pho Ca Dao is just a stone throw away.

Shoot, with all the rain today, a nice hot steamy bowl of pho would be perfect right now.

Dennis K. said...

Hi K&S, I think I can eat cha gio every day, haha. Are vietnamese spots hard to find in Japan? strangely never thought about it there..

Hi CAB, I had some rice paper wrapped kind at A-Chau yesterday that were fresh from the fryer. They were great but really enjoy it much more with the combination of lettuce, mint and nuoc cham. Forgot to take photos.. Oh wait I was driving. ;)

K and S said...

They are kinda hard to find, Dennis, either that or I don't know where to look :p

KirkK said...

Hey Dennis - Have you ever had the Cha Gio at A Chau? They use the right kinda of rice paper for them....I don't care for the Banh Mi there, but the Cha Gio is very good.

meemalee said...

I tell you, sir - it's definitely Pho weather here in London - hasn't stopped raining for about a week!

Worse, my fave Vietnamese place has just changed its name - don't know if it's got new owners but I fear the worst :(

Anonymous said...

I pass by this place all the time but have been wary to try it, given its location and quality of food in its vicinity. The egg rolls look so pretty! I

Dennis K. said...

Hi K&S, I'm guessing it'd be a lot harder than finding a ramen joint there?.. ;)

Hi Kirk, I got lucky and they were fresh from the fryer at A-Chau last week. They don't seem to sit under the lamps too long there but it's always nice to have some fresh ones! :) I thought their banh mi's are generous with the fillings but the bread is usually a little on the hard side for me personally. Anyway, I wonder if they provide lettuce and nuoc cham fixins' for the cha gio if asked..

Hi Meemalee, it rained on Saturday and I lit my fireplace for the first time this year. I want to hear all about the Pho place.. Post please! :)

Hi Kirbie, the parking lot used to get crazy full here but it seems to have been better the last few times. Maybe school was out. Anyway, the place is ok for me when in a pinch.. :)