The Skinny: So, not too long ago I made my way to the real Sin City below the border and safely made it back onto US soil alive. On the way home, I stopped by Westminster for some Pho at Pho Nguyen Hue, which was recommended by Yelpers on my smartphone.
The Good: I ordered the Pho with everything, which meant it had rare & well done Beef, Tendon & Tripe. The broth was super beefy and marrowy, and little bit different from what I like my Pho to be. I tend to favor a broth that has a strong herbie presence, but regardless that, the soup was satisfying and soothing. There was also plenty of meat in it, but I didn’t really touch them….or the noodles. I just needed the broth.
The Bad: I got nothing.
Would you come back again? Yup. I wouldn’t go out of my way to go there, but if I happen to be in the neighborhood and needed something to flush the tequila out of my system, I’m there.
More Info: www.phonhue.com | 10487 Bolsa Ave | Westminster, CA 92683 | Cash Only
The Skinny: So yesterday (12/1/11) I went to Echo Park to go watch Jamie Woon perform at The Echo. Initially I was going to go there by myself, but I ended up with two guests who wanted to go eat dinner. We ended up eating at Xoia Vietnamese Eats. It would be my second time. (1st time here.)
I ordered the Mi Quang which is a “Hoi An specialty! Wide yellow rice noodles served w/ seasoned shrimp and pork, lettuce, bean sprouts, sprinkles of crushed peanuts, banana blossom, fresh mints, sesame crackers in a shrimp/pork broth.” I also got some Spring Rolls with Beef and Shrimp in it.
The Good: I never had Spring Rolls with Srhimp and Beef before, so that was something different. It reminded me of Bulgogi (Korean marinated beef), especially with some Soybean leaves mixed into the other greens and bean sprouts.
The Mi Quang was a little sweet, sour, fishy, crunchy, and kind of healthy tasting, if there is such a thing. The waitress mentioned that the broth in it would have a concentrated flavor of Shrimp and Pork, but I think it was a bit too subtle for my taste buds.
The Bad: The Mi Quang left me with wanting more and it made me regret not ordering the Pho.
Also, Jamie Woon….not very good live…..
Would you come back again? Yup! Even though Xoia kind of has a fusion theme going, their dishes seem legit in it’s Vietnamese authenticity. So I still need to try their Pho and the Bahn Mi on their secret menu that has an runny egg on top. Also, one of the waitresses was really…..realllllly……cute, and what she wore that night….wow. 😡
More Info: www.xoiaeats.com | 1801 W Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026
The Skinny: On April 8, 2011, I was suppose to go on a food crawl with some TMF247 people and end the night watching The Naked and Famous perform live at the Echoplex in Echo Park. However, one by one, people started to drop out and so I ended up going there by myself.
While I was at Echo Park waiting for the show, I hit up El Flamin Taco Truck and Xoia Vietnamese Eats since they were close by. I usually drive by the El Flamin Taco Truck when I’m on Alvarado Street and on the way towards the Dodgers Stadium. It would be my first time eating there that day. Xoia is a fusion style restaurant that serves up Pho and Vietnamese influenced Street Tacos.
The Good: The truck that wears “El Flamin” decals proudly all over it’s body, was quite impressive. It had television sets playing Napoleon Dynamite, a LED lit sign greeting costumers in different languages, a rotating spitfire for their Al Pastor, and a full open salsa bar. They obviously must be doing something right to have their colorful truck to be pimped out like that.
While I was at El Flamin Taco Truck, I ordered the Buche and Al Pastor tacos, 2 of each. From the Salsa bar, I added the red sauce and some of the Cilantro Onion mix on all of them. I definitely liked the Buche because it was clean tasting, had a nice texture, and was flavorful. The red salsa was nice, but for me it didn’t really add much to the tacos themselves. Their hand made fresh tortillas were a first for me, but unfortunately I couldn’t really taste the difference.
At Xoia Eats, I got the 3 Chicharones Tacos combo and Vietnamese Iced Coffee. The Chicharones Tacos were tasty and the Iced Coffee was Vietnamese style strong. The red salsa that came on the side was a good palette cleanser.
The Bad: First off, I’m just not a fan of Al Pastor at the moment. I just don’t get it or at least I haven’t had some where I understand that “that is what Al Pastor is supposed to taste like!” Not too long ago, I had some that tasted like Chinese style BBQ Pork, and I liked it. The first Al Pastor Taco I had at El Flamin was kind of bland, crunchy from a piece of gristle, and greasy. It reminded me of Korean Pork Bulgogi that is void of sugar. However, for some reason the second serving of the Al Pastor had better pieces of meat and it tasted much better than the first. The grease became greasy in a good way and the marinated pork was tastier. Weird.
At Xoia Eats, the Chicharones Tacos was disappointing because I was expecting pieces of Crispy Pork in it. Instead, the Pork seemed to be regular cuts of meat fried up in a pan. If there was Vietnamese style seasoning on the meat, I didn’t notice it. The tortilla the Chicharones came bedded on had the texture of thinly sliced re-hydrated stale corn chips and I just wasn’t a fan of it.
The Fail: So after killing 2 hours of time in Echo Park and waiting in line for 2 more hours for the Naked and Famous show, it turns out my ticket was for the following night. I did see them the next day, and they didn’t disappoint as a live band.
Would you come back? Yes on both accounts. I’m sure the taco meats and other items at both locations are worth exploring, especially since I’ll be coming back to The Echo/Echoplex for other shows.
Xoia Vietnamese Eats: www.xoiaeats.com | 1801 W Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026 | Cash Only