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