[yiddish] To eat like an animal, i.e., quickly, noisily, and in great quantity.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

South East Asian Grub on Washington Ave

Down on Washington Ave you can find several plazas and stand alone Vietnamese Pho joints. Pho and Cafe Viet Huong, located in one of several Viet-centric plazas, has a sit down restaurant in the back and a counter for easy access to take out, banh mi, bubble teas, and other prepared snacks.

The summer rolls are huge and fresh, stuffed with shrimp, mint, noodles, thin slices of pork and a thick peanut sauce on the side. And order is $3.50 and comes with 2, prepackaged versions are available up front- but you are probably better off ordering them to ensure maximum freshness. I took home two types of sticky rice, both only 2 dollars. The banana leaf wrapped sticky rice was not my favorite, it had some kind of tamale like thing going on in there. The small pre-wrapped portion of xoi lap xuong on the other hand was pretty great. Its a perfect thing to pick up as part of a lunch.... throw in a summer roll order and your coworkers/classmates/friends/cat will be jealous.

An order of pork over vermicelli proved a bit perplexing, the pork element came in slices that were joined by some over foreign sliced thing (tripe?).

There are several dessert option, I tried che chuoi, a kind of tapioca banana pudding, not bad.

Out the plaza and across the street you can find Cafe de Laos. A sit-down restaurant serving Laotion, Thai, and Laotion-Thai fusion food (that section is lovingly titled "Thai-Laos Relationship Bridge"). Its a really cute byo and alternative date spot. I don't know much about Laotion food, but I do know I like how they handle their sausage. As a guide, the Laos sausage is under the salad section of the Laos menu, naturally... The sausage are housemade and are a must order. I felt like I was eating chorizo injected with Tom Yum soup, which makes sense, its packed with lemongrass and lime and well crisped on the outside.

An order of beef Om Laos curry proved neither impressive nor unique. Hor Mok Pla w catfish (steamed marinated fish in banana leaf) was more entertaining. The pieces of cat fish were joined by lightly pickled bamboo shoot strings that were subtle but tangy. The menu is HUGE and we barely touched the surface.

Pho and Cafe Huong-1110 Washington Ave
Cafe de Laos- 1117 South St