Thursday, April 11, 2013

Anything Can Happen Thursday, Vol. I

Okay, so when Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Wolowitz did it, it was the third Thursday, not the second.

Too bad.  I'm changing it for this blog.  On the second Thursday of the month, I'm going to go completely off-road with whatever I feel like talking about.  I like keeping things fresh and different.  And changing it all up one day a month does that.

The biggest thing I missed when I moved from Boston to Wichita Falls wasn't just the lack of autograph hounding opportunities, but also the severe lack of good Asian food in the area.  Texoma isn't exactly known for being really cosmopolitan.  If you try to get Vietnamese food, they're apt to label you a communist and run you out of town with pitchforks and lanterns and make comments about how people like you made us lose the war.

Okay, maybe I'm being a little over the top (just a little?).  After all, there are a couple good Chinese buffets, an excellent (if not slightly trendy) sushi bar, a hibachi place, and a great Thai restaurant all in Wichita Falls.  There's even a great little Indian restaurant tucked in a strip mall downtown.  But yet, that aforementioned Vietnamese food is nowhere to be found.

Upon finding out I was moving to Arlington, one of the first things I did was look up Vietnamese restaurants.  Apparently the area along Arkansas Lane and Pioneer Parkway is almost like Little Saigon: Yelp lists seven Vietnamese restaurants along it between Matlock Road and TX-360.  I decided to hit one up tonight and am amazingly glad I did.

Pho Palace is a pretty standard name for a Vietnamese restaurant.  And honestly, you'll eat like a king there.  I walked in and was directed to the counter for my order to go.  I was pretty hungry so everything looked good.  Eventually, I settled on the Gỏi Cuốn (shrimp spring rolls), Phở Tái Gầu (eye of round and fatty brisket noodle soup), and Bánh Mì Bì (pork rind and veggie sandwich).  The order taker looked at me quizzically on the latter item, but I was sure I wanted to try it.  It was cheap and sounded good.  If it wasn't I'm sure I'd have plenty of food to fall back on.

And I was right on both accounts.  There's enough pho here for two large mugs or small bowls.  I have the second one staying warm in the oven right now.  It took maybe ten minutes tops to get my food, pay, and be on my way home.  Maybe it's just been a long time since I've had it, but this pho may be the best I've ever had.  Flavorful broth, plenty of condiments on the side, lots of noodles, and they didn't skimp on the meat either.  My mugs were nearly overflowing.

The sandwich was excellent.  I don't like fish sauce, so I dipped it in the hoisin they gave me for the pho.  The only thing that would have been better was sriracha-- and even that I'm not sure could have improved it.

The spring rolls-- and this I'm 100% positive on-- were the best I've ever had.  Noodles, shrimp, pork, mint, carrot, bean sprouts, lettuce, all rolled up in the standard rice wrap.

Best of all, it was all under $15.  I will be going back there again for sure.  For any DFW area folks who want to give them a try, they're at 2126 South Collins in a small strip mall.  The strip mall is kind of ghetto looking, but don't let it scare you off.  This place feels out of place there-- in a good way, of course.

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