The best meal from my trip to Honolulu last spring was at The Pig & the Lady. The Astronomer and I found Chef Andrew Le and Mama Le’s brand of Vietnamese-inflected island fare awesomely creative and delicious; we couldn’t wait to visit again on our next trip to Oahu.
Although my schedule was jam-packed with work commitments on my most recent return to the islands, I had to make time for another meal at this fabulous establishment.
I rounded up two hearty eaters (Hi, Thien and Kris) and we Uber’d to the restaurant for lunch. The space was packed considering it was a weekday, but we managed to squeeze in at the tail end of the lunch hour.
Thien sipped on Papa Le’s Iced Coffee ($4), while Kris handled the Cobra Commander ($11). The former was plenty strong yet sweet, while the latter was spiked with avocado mezcal and pink-grapefruit liqueur and chilled with Sriracha ice.
Continue reading ‘Lunch at The Pig & the Lady – Honolulu’
In the mood for Northern Vietnamese fare, The Astronomer and I, along with our friend Courtney, headed to San Gabriel’s Phở Ngoon for lunch. The newish restaurant, which is located in the same plaza as Boston Lobster, offered a lovely change of pace from the Central and Southern Vietnamese cuisine that we tend to favor.
Upon arriving at the modernly appointed restaurant, we were seated promptly and presented with menus. The one-page bill of fare was awesomely concise, consisting of just three starters and ten mains. We shared five dishes between the three of us.
First up was an order of pho cuon ($3.50), a dish that was super-trendy in Hanoi circa 2008 when The Astronomer and I lived in Vietnam. Comprised of thin rice noodle sheets wrapped around lettuce leaves, grilled beef, and fresh mint, the pho cuon was served with nuoc cham for dipping.
While I didn’t care too much for this dish in Hanoi, I quite liked Pho Ngoon’s more robust rendition.
Continue reading ‘Phở Ngoon – San Gabriel’
A recent girls’ night out brought me and my gal pals to San Gabriel’s Phong Dinh Restaurant. I’m not sure what constitutes a roaring good time for you and yours, but for me and mine, it’s a killer baked catfish. I roll with the best posse ever.
Thien An in Rosemead has always been my go-to spot for baked catfish, but we decided to try Phong Dinh this evening at the recommendation of my friend Thien. She promised that the catfish here was even better than the one at Thien An.
According to the restaurant’s menu, Chef and Founder Minh Trang was the first to introduce baked catfish (ca dut lo hau giang) to the area in 1994.
Before the star of the show arrived, accoutrements were scattered about the table—a large platter of herbs and lettuce, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber spears, vermicelli rice noodles, rice papers, and best of all, a tangy-sweet tamarind dipping sauce.
Our waitress revealed that the recipe for the sauce came from her aunt, who hails from Can Tho. Now that I’ve experienced this seriously awesome sauce, I can’t ever go back to eating plain ol’ nuoc cham or mam nem (fermented anchovy dipping sauce) with my catfish. Consider me a changed woman.
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I eat at Good Girl Dinette a lot. The food makes me swoon, the chef makes me laugh, and the location makes good sense. While I normally leave my “fancy” camera at home when I dine here (a blogger’s gotta chill from time to time), I made an exception on my latest visit with Nastassia because I wanted to photograph some of the newer menu offerings with my newly upgraded camera—Wings! Pâté! Pie! Lights, camera, action.
Before delving into the obscene amount of good food that Nastassia and I ordered for dinner, a quick plug for the upcoming Good Girl Dinette pop-up at Bloom Cafe on April 10, 17, and 24. Chef Diep Tran is bringing her signature dishes, like chicken curry pot pie, to Mid-City, so swing by for dinner if you’re in or around the neighborhood. Your stomach will be glad you did.
And now, on to the eats! Nastassia and I started off with two appetizers. The first, Caramelized Ginger Chicken Wings ($7.50), were inspired by thit ga kho, a homey Vietnamese braised chicken dish.
Whereas the traditional preparation yields flabby chicken skin, Diep avoids such unpleasantries by crisping the exterior before coating each piece in a sticky, sweet garlic-lime glaze. We requested “spicy” wings, which meant a flourish of serrano pepper confetti.
Continue reading ‘Good Girl Dinette Keeps Getting Better and Better (and popping up in Mid-City soon!)’