Pho Boi: A Taste of Attitude (Burnaby location)

Pho Boi exterior

Wendy was quite excited to spot the transition of Pho Hoa on Kingsway to its new incarnation, Pho Boi: A Taste of Vietnam about a week ago.  We agreed to try it ASAP.  It seems this chain has its roots in Victoria, so in hindsight that should have been a red flag right there…

PS-I found this sadly defunct but hilariously named Victoria food blog recently…the front page pic is priceless 😛

Pho Boi interior

We were invited to pick our own seat when we walked in so we pulled up a chair and got down to business with Pho Boi’s menu.  It looked interesting enough so we ordered our pho from the “Adventures’ choice section”.  We also were interested in their version of the Vietnamese spring roll, cha gio, but Wendy wanted to know if they were made with the traditional rice paper or Chinese style spring roll wrappers.  It’s pretty common for local Viet places to use the wheat version, but there were some authentic looking menu items so it was worth asking.  Here’s the convo:

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Mr. Ho Wonton House

When it gets really cold I always crave a hot bowl of pho.  Last night was no exception.  But somehow we ended up at Mr. Ho Wonton House.  How did that happen??  Well blame me and my trait of easily distractedness.  As Hitman and I were going along Kingsway I got distracted by the neon signs of the local Korean restaurants, so I then suggested we do Korean instead.  Then I made a joke and suggested we could try On On’s Wonton House, to which Hitman in all seriousness suggested we try Mr. Ho’s, since it was voted best Chinese food in Burnaby.

I cringed my nose and suggested that the votes may not have been cast by Chinese people…  However, I am always in search of a good wonton house within reach, so I agreed.  Why not?  So off to Mr. Ho’s we went.

Upon entering my suspicions were somewhat confirmed: there weren’t any Asian patrons in the house, and there was sweet and sour pork and wonton soup everywhere.  However I found a bit (a little bit) of comfort in the fact that all the servers there were Cantonese, much like the servers at Hon’s Wun Ton House or other similar establishments in Richmond.

I felt like having a big plate of chow mein though.  “Comfort food”, I told Hitman.  So I ordered the Shredded Pork and Bean Sprouts Chow Mein ($8.95).  Hitman decided on the Pan fried Rice Noodle  with Beef and XO Sauce ($7.95) plus a personal order of Wonton Soup and Egg Roll (+$1.50 each).

Mr. Ho Wonton House: Egg roll & Wonton Soup

The small items came first obviously.  Which is actually different from other Asian establishments as usually they don’t seem to really put much effort in to making sure that appies come before the mains!  The egg roll was your standard fair.  Nicely crisp, fresh tasting, and the oil didn’t seem old (old overused oil would make the roll dark in color and you would definitely taste it).  I could even see some strands of meat in it.

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The Ascot

The Ascot

For our monthly gossip session, Fannypack and I visited The Ascot with a Groupon in hand.  As we approached the restaurant we were impressed by the swanky hipster-looking storefront.  However it did look out of place for its location, as it’s near Richards and W. Pender.

The Ascot

Stepping in the hipster-factor was confirmed.  It definitely looked good and rustic with its huge brick-face wall and chandeliers.  Vintage would be the theme I supposed.  The night we visited happened to be a night where they had a paint class type of thing.  We were not part of it but we saw the group of people all learning to paint the same picture.

The Ascot: Halibut Ceviche

We were trying to decide between the Halibut Ceviche ($8) or the Cold Smoked Duck ($10).  Finally we picked the Halibut Ceviche since it’s supposed to be made fresh in-house everyday, and is therefore served in limited quantities.

Fannypack and I both decided that it was too tart and basically tasteless.  To me the fish was mushy and we definitely needed the pita chips to cut down on the acidity.  However towards the bottom of the glass it became less tart, so the sour start could be due to a squeeze of lemon or lime juice at the top.  This was definitely not my favorite of the night.  (Should’ve gotten the duck….)

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La Charcuterie Delicatessen and the Sandwich Nazi

After months and months of pestering I finally agreed to take the drive down to Langley to visit the notorious Sandwich Nazi at La Charcuterie Deli.  Hitman’s been there multiple times before and raved of the humor and amount of food you get for less than $10.  Less than $8 to be exact.  But the trade-off is that you have to succumb to the Nazi’s insults, crude humor, and uninvited visuals.  Hitman’s given me a preview to the stuff the Nazi has said during his visits in the past, x-rated and all, and I honestly wasn’t too keen on the uncomfortableness that’s about to ensue.

La Charcuterie Delicatessen exterior

Honestly it was only a 30 minute drive from our place.  It’s located in the middle of an inconspicous industrial area and if you didn’t plan to come here specifically, you wouldn’t even bat an eye, despite the eye-catching and quite lovely exterior paint job.  When we arrived on a weekday afternoon, the parking lot was already almost full.

La Charcuterie Delicatessen sign

As we were entering, a couple was just leaving and the lady warned us “Good luck in there~”.  Great.   Inside we found that there were about 3-4 people ahead of us, with more coming up behind.  You can hear the boisterous voice of the Nazi right away.  He sounded cheerful actually, and was in the middle of making fun of someone’s age.  When he caught sight of us, first thing he said was “I don’t believe in mixed-race marriages.  Unless they’re girl-girl, man-man, or girl-girl-man.”  Followed with a fit of laughter.  Hitman then countered, “Last time I was here, I was with a black guy friend and STILL you said you didn’t believe in mixed-race marriages!!!”.  More laughter.  Apparently the way to deal with the Nazi is to join in the banter.  That’s why the place is always so loud and lively.

La Charcuterie Delicatessen interior

This deli is also a grocery store of sorts selling imported European goods.  But I don’t think people come for the grocery much.  The main attraction has got to be his personality and ginormous sandwiches.

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Pho Maxima Restaurant

Pho Maxima Restaurant exterior

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I LOVE PHO!!!!  So when I found a good pho place close to home, I was ecstatic.  I noticed that a good pho broth is hard to find nowadays…most places are either not concentrated enough or it’s much too sweet.  Maxima seems to have a good balance of both.

We’ve always driven past it and one chilly night we finally decided to try it out.  It has your usual suspects.  They’re also a bubble tea and banh mi restaurant.  Usually the addition of bubble tea raises red flags for me.  But we’re happy to say we’ve been pleasantly surprise (much like the visit to Kim Anh).

Pho Maxima Restaurant: House Special Pho

I always order the House Special ($7 for small).  I just enjoy the variety of meats offered.  The soup was fragrant and salted just right.  It does look a little on the lighter side but the taste is there.  One complaint though, one time instead of thinly sliced beef, they gave me thick strips of meat instead which did not cook well, and were extremely chewy.  But that was just one time from the few times we’ve went.

Another thing is…this restaurant is pretty damn chilly…

Pho Maxima Restaurant: Tendon and Brisket Pho

Hitman always orders the Tendon and Brisket ($7.50 large) combination here.  He really doesn’t have much to say but he doesn’t complain when I ask to come here, so I’m assuming he likes it here too.
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