Tag Archives: vietnamese

1321 Taproom Bistro: A Beer Place

I went to a surprise birthday party at 1321 Taproom Bistro. I’ve been to this spot once before. The beer selection was excellent like last time. I had the¬†Allagash Curieux, a Belgian Tripel aged in Bourbon barrels.

I got to try some different things from the menu¬†this time, sampling from my friends’ plates. The fish and chips were decent. Their mac and cheese was missing something. The taste stops short, having a great cheese flavor, but little else. My dish was the smoked pork banh mi. The smoked pork was excellent, but it did not go with the rest of the sandwich. I would definitely not order this again, nor recommend it to anyone.

Overall my impression of this place is that the beer selections are excellent, but the food I’ve had thus far seem incomplete. Given the option, I’d check out a new place rather than eat here. It’s not quite to my tastes to become a regular eating stop. If it’s just a chance to grab some beers, I would definitely come back here.

Best Pho I Never Had

Michelle’s parents aren’t as adventurous as we are with food, so it surprised me when they picked a Vietnamese place for dinner. When I saw the place it made a little more sense.

This is Pho Consomme in Gardena. It’s big, well lit, clean, and it has televisions in the restaurant. It’s not the typical dirty pho joint that you’re probably used to seeing. From the outside, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the food.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the menu is huge. This is just a portion of the menu. Pho Consomme is not one of your standard pho restaurants. It’s one of those hybrid fusion places that tries to cater to everyone. I was just happy that I wouldn’t be forced to order pho.

Let me first start off by noting that the service here is terrible. I don’t think they’re trying to be rude. I just think the guy they have working is incompetent. Service was slow. Replace him and I would definitely think much more of this place. Although knowing how these Asian joints work, he is probably related to the owners of the place, meaning this place will never live up to its potential.

We ordered spring rolls to start the meal. These were refreshing.

Pork over vermicelli. Again, the fresh looking greens are always a good sign. No wilted lettuce in this place.

Michelle ordered her usual pho to which I give my usual rating of, “It’s okay for a dish that uses dirt as the base for its broth.”

I ordered the shrimp and pork wonton soup. The picture on the menu shows noodles for the non soup version. Mine did not have noodles, which was a little bit disappointing, but it was still delicious. Fish balls, imitation crab meat, and wontons that made me feel like I was eating dim sum in a soup. Delicious.

If it wasn’t for the slow service, I would suggest that everyone check it out. If you’re more patient than I am, there are lots of items on the menu that definitely need exploring. I’d love to see what someone else thinks of this place.

Damn you, trendy Vietnamese noodle shops!

Add another pho restaurant to the list of restaurants that have clever names. Pho Show in Culver City has used its name to draw in sometimes reluctant West Siders to try Vietnamese cuisine. This restaurant is different though. It doesn’t suck like most pho shops within six miles of the coast. That means a lot, especially coming from this guy who doesn’t think much of pho anyway.

Fresh ingredients for the pho. What’d you expect for a joint on the West Side? You can’t have wilted basil and limp bean sprouts. People would be up in arms.

Other pho spots in the area tend to make the broth way too salty, probably catering to over-Americanized taste buds. This broth was good, flavorful yet light at the same time.

Dumpling. Plump, juicy, and seared perfectly for a nice combination of textures.

Here’s the greatest part. You can eat pho after tossing back some cocktails at your favorite bar. They know their audience.

While this place is what I consider the “Best of the West (Side)” for pho, it doesn’t stand up to the pho joints farther east. Rent out west can’t be cheap either, so the dishes are a bit pricey. Still, it’s nice to know that I don’t have to trek thirty minutes just to get a decent bowl of pho, even at midnight.

Deep Seeded Issues

There are some things going on with Michelle and myself currently, relationship issues. She denies it, but I think it resulted in the poking of my eye in the middle of the night. Fortunately, like most people, I sleep with my eyes closed, but damn that hurt. Yes, the violence continues. She says things are fine, but yet I keep getting attacked. I must have made her so mad that she’s buried it in her subconscious, and it manifests itself in half conscious aggression.

I think this all stems from the fact that Michelle hasn’t completely gotten over one of her loves. She is having a love affair with pho. It’s quite obvious that she is thinking of pho when she is with me. I even found the local pho restaurant hidden in her phone, filed simply under the letter P. Her Facebook profile picture is of her, eating pho. It doesn’t matter if she’s had pho twice during the week. She can’t get enough. I think professional counseling is in order for us to work out our food differences.