It has been well documented that food wrapped in dough is my favorite food. Meals in soup with noodles comes in a close second. I love pho. I said it before and I will say it again now, props to Vietnam for this awesome idea. This is a tale of two phos up in the hood of NoBu- Triple Coconut Tree and Pho 101.
Photo by Sherman
Triple Coconut Tree is an odd name for a pho restaurant, but it is an odd restaurant. When I used to work up in that area it was a Chinese buffet. The buffet seemed to have taken over from some sort of rustic/harvest type joint as the decor was a mix of wheat decorations, Chinese kitty posters and wooden panel walls. In great dive style, Triple Coconut Tree just added some Vietnamese photos and called it done.
I ordered my usual pho order of beef balls and rare beef in a satay soup. The sides were fresh and plentiful.
The soup itself was a bit of a shocker for me. I have ordered satay soup at other pho places and it has been a peanuty type addition to the soup. At Triple Coconut it means LOTS OF HOT SAUCE!
It was really overwhelming. I have a *delicate constitution* so I never even add in sriracha or the table oil to my soups. I couldn't finish the soup as all I could taste was the hot sauce.
The meat offering was very generous, food came quickly and the service staff were all very nice so I am hesitant to give an I don't like it review, but this visit was back in August and I haven't been back since...
Pho 101 was a much better experience. The SituatioM suggested we try Pho 101 one night while I was aimlessly wandering around Safeway trying to figure out what to eat. He said that a coworker really liked it.
Pho 101 is further up on Hastings than we usually wander. Our dinner started out great as we pulled up to rockstar parking right in front of the door. They have spent more time on the decor here but it is a bit 80s looking with the black and red theme. The seating section of the restaurant was quite small while the kitchen area was huge! It went on forever. They must do some major cooking back there.
We started with the spring rolls. They came to the table almost immediately so I don't think they were cooked to order. Unless they put them on when they saw us walk in the door...
Whenever they were cooked, they were great. Really crispy on the outside and jam packed full of porky goodness. This is my favorite style of spring rolls. Screw the veggies, put in more meat!
We both ordered the pork balls and rare beef pho. Ordering the same thing at every restaurant does make comparing meals much easier. They don't offer broth options here so I didn't have to worry about what type of satay I would receive.
It was fine. I would have preferred more balls, but the soup was tasty enough. Didn't blow my mind but I would go back there if I hungry and in the area.
PS. Green Bamboo is still my favorite.