You may have noticed that the look of our blog has changed. When we recently visited it to see how it looked on mobile devices, it was with much chagrin that we realized we have not written any new posts since February. We had to address that right away!
We decided to check out the new ’07 Pub and picked a date. When the day came, we discovered that a trivia contest would be taking place that night, which we didn’t think would be conducive to dinner. So, we changed our plan and headed for Trubble Brewing, which we also have not yet reviewed. When we pulled up we saw nary a car in the lot or patron on the patio. After a quick search, we learned it is closed on Monday and Tuesday. So, off we went to the trivia game. After some parking mishaps (those who know Beth know that her directional skills are not the best), your faithful reporters ventured in, only to find that the last table had just been taken. It didn’t look like anything would be opening up soon (see also: trivia contest), so we headed back to the car. After momentarily drawing a blank, it occurred to us that we hadn’t yet been to Banh Mi Pho Shop.
This spin-off of Banh Mi Barista opened in mid-June. When we pulled into the parking lot, we were happy to see that the shop was indeed open, and had ample parking. Once inside, the decor was bright and colorful and cute little terrariums were hanging about.
Although the menu is somewhat limited, everything on it is available as a vegetarian option.
Beth: I read somewhere that they offered a substitute for rice noodles, but couldn’t remember what it was. One of the very helpful employees clarified that bean sprouts were the option I was thinking of. I was super excited for this, as pho is typically a high-carb soup. I chose the Chicken Pho ($8.50) with bean sprouts. Because I was so responsible, I guess, I felt the need to give myself some leeway and decided to splurge on a Bubble Tea. I chose the small creamy Thai Tea with Boba ($4.25).
Wendy: I had been to the north location once, several years ago, but wasn’t familiar with the menu. The menu was listed on the wall, but there wasn’t much going on by way of descriptions. Fortunately, the friendly woman who took our order gave us a quick run-down and answered all our questions. I ordered the Rice Noodle Special with Chicken ($7.50). I also found ordering a beverage to be intimidating at first, but again the helpful woman walked me through it. Did I want something creamy? Something sweet? I wish I could recall the entire series of questions, but it pointed me toward a blended peach tea ($4.25), sans Boba – I’ve had them once and they freaked me out a little.
Beth: The bowl of pho was giant and was very hot, just like one wants a bowl of pho to be. The bean sprouts ended up being an amazing addition. Chicken pho is like your grandma’s chicken noodle soup — comforting, tasty and filling. I like a little kick to my pho, so I added in some Sriracha, which did the trick.
Wendy: What is a Rice Noodle Special? I’m so glad you asked! It was a generous portion of rice noodles topped with lettuce, strips of carrot and cucumber, cilantro, and chicken, served with a small bowl of fish sauce and a pot of chili paste so you can control your own level of spiciness. I only used a tiny dab of the chili paste because of my previously mentioned aversion to hot & spicy. But the fish sauce was a little sweet and brought everything together. This is a little detail, but the chicken (and everything else) was in small, bite-sized pieces, which I really appreciate when I’m eating something with chopsticks. And it was delicious.
Beth: I love bubble tea. I first had it in California about 15 years ago and anxiously awaited its arrival in the Midwest. The Thai Tea that I ordered was delicious. The only thing I would have changed about my order is that I would have ordered it blended instead of iced. Those crazy beads of tapioca still amaze me after all those years. Regardless, it was well worth ordering and I’d have it again. And again.
Wendy: You know what else was delicious? My peach slushie, because let’s be honest, that’s what it was. I did love that when they brought our beverages to the table, we had the presentation of the straws – we got to select our own giant straw from a rainbow of colors (extra-wide to accommodate Beth’s Boba). It was kind of ridiculous how much I enjoyed it – but why not, it’s summer, it was cold, it was refreshing, I loved it.
Beth: A welcome addition to the central part of the city, I give Banh Mi Pho Shop a solid, “You had me at ‘hello.” Everything about my experience was good. The food, the service, the little terrarium things and that “Don’t Stop Believin'” was playing as background music.
Wendy: This place is very close to my home – I can see it being almost too convenient to stop and pick up take-out in the future. I’m always excited when something new opens up nearby, especially when it goes into a recently vacated location (this was a former doughnut shop). And while I thought the tea was a little on the expensive side, I thought the food was a great value. They definitely “had me at ‘hello.’” I’ve been daydreaming about going back pretty much since we were there. Rice noodles, I hear you calling me!
Banh Mi Pho Shop
1925 Fairfield Ave. 46802