WOW! What a totally pleasant surprise! As a newly transplanted New Yorker, one of the things I was worried about when deciding to move to Florida was that I’d really miss the amazing ethnic food that’s so easy to find in NY. After trying Pho Cali, I realize that is not so at all. This was absolutely outstanding and I can already tell I’ll be back frequently.
Gabriel and I went in for lunch and ordered 2 dishes and a bubble tea to share. The bubble tea was lychee slush, made with real fruit. It was icy and sweet and totally refreshing and we slurped it down very happily after being outside in 85 degree weather.
Our dishes were the grilled shrimp vermicelli with peanuts and the shrimp and pork lotus stem salad. Both were light and healthy, with a sweet vinegary sauce on the side. I loved the lotus stems which were new to me- I’d only had lotus flower roots before, and the crunchy fried shallots on top added to the interesting combination of textures. The shrimp were incredibly fresh, cooked perfectly and lightly grilled. The thin strips of pork were full of flavor, but very lean and not at all overpowering to the delicate dish.
We left feeling satisfied but not stuffed, exactly what we were hoping for. All of this for a check of around $25 including tip. Oh yes, we will certainly be back soon. Hooray Pho Cali!
It was not an easy day, to say the least. My beloved dog passed away after 12+ years of being my best friend, my buddy, my source of love, affection, laughter and entertainment.
It was 6pm and I’d not eaten all day and my sweet boyfriend insisted that we find some comforting nourishment.
Walking home from the animal hospital, we were near Veatery, which I’d recently read a post about and wanted to try. I thought that a nice, hot bowl of Pho would comfort my empty belly and be a nice distraction from returning home to my eerily quiet apartment.
We were seated immediately and ordered drinks. I am not a big drinker at all, but this day called for a cocktail. A lychee martini was a good, strong choice and helped to dull my sadness just a little bit.
We ordered Pho Bo, sticky rice, BBQ spareribs and mixed dumplings. Nice and carb-y, warm and filling, these all proved to be great choices. The soup was delicious with thin pieces of meat, noodles and a side of mint/basil, sprouts and hoisin. The ribs were full of flavor and crisp edges and were cut into small pieces at our request to make for easier sharing. The sticky rice, one of my favorite foods, helped to add some more substance to the soup which didn’t have quite as many noodles as I would have liked. The dumplings were exceptional. SO fresh and filled with high quality ingredients.
The meal was served quickly, politely, efficiently and professionally. I was very impressed with this experience overall, especially since good Vietnamese food on the UES is nearly impossible to find. Well, impossible no more. If It was this good on a day when I was this sad, I can only imagine how much I’ll love it when I’m happy. I will definitely be back.
I SERIOUSLY miss this place. Total hole-in-the-wall…BEST shrimp pho you’ve ever had in your life. $5 gets you a bowl that is the size of your head. I live in NYC now and still catch myself dreaming about my favorite cold weather meal. Sometimes I’m tempted to rent a car and drive 2 hours just to go get some. Sigh.