#244: DT Noodle

Yesterday I had a late lunch at DT Noodle, a fairly new Vietnamese Restaurant next to California Family Fitness on Foothills at Junction.  They were in Lincoln originally and recently moved to Roseville.

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I stepped in at about 2:30PM and was the only customer in the large space, aside from a postal worker on his break.  They utilized the large windows for tons of natural light.  The place seemed very clean and there was lots of room for customers without being packed together tightly.  I was greeted immediately upon entering and was gestured to one of the tables along the wall.

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I took a few minutes to skim the menu (link to scanned version), although I knew I would be getting the #13 Banh Mi (grilled beef sandwich) on recommendation from commenter Joell.  The prices seemed pretty low, just $5.75 for the sandwich, so I decided to add on an appetizer of shrimp and pork spring rolls to my order $4.95.  Had I taken a little more time to look at the beverages I probably would have seen that they had Thai tea, but instead I got a boring diet Coke :(.  One odd thing I noticed during my lunch was that there was christmas music playing.

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The soda was brought out within a minute in a can with a glass of ice.  The can looked spotless and it was plenty cold so I drank out of that.

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Three minutes later my spring rolls arrived.  I wonder if they have these made up in batches because that seemed fast.  They were excellent.  They were wrapped up tightly with a good amount of pork and each with a couple shrimp.  The lettuce was crisp and the peanut sauce was fantastic, especially served warm.

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Five minutes after the rolls came my banh mi.  It was a decent sized sandwich, probably a 6-8″ baguette cut in half.  It had a somewhat thin layer of the grilled, seasoned beef and stuffed with pickled carrots, daikon, cucumber and topped with fresh cilantro.  There were also some thinly sliced jalapeños hidden within that kicked things up a notch.

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The bread was soft with a thin, crunchy crust.  I generally enjoyed this sandwich with a couple things to note.  The beef was a bit overpowered by the picked carrots and jalapeños.  I think doubling the meat would be a simple solution here, and I would gladly pay for that since the price is already pretty low.  The 2nd thing was that it seemed like a fairly dry sandwich.  I’m not sure if that is normal or not, or if I should be utilizing some of the condiments on the table.  I remember the first banh mi sandwich I had and it was incredible, but that’s probably an exception because it was from a food truck and I’m sure they punched it up with some craziness.

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The service was polite and attentive, despite not much being needed for my simple lunch. I suspect I will return to try their pho.

Website: None

(Scanned) Menu: Click Here

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#163: Asian Blossom

After a long non-stop day at work I have to admit I just wanted to come home and take a nap, but I didn’t want to fall behind here either.  I decided I would do an “easy” post and go to Asian Blossom for dinner.  Easy in that I’ve been to this place several times and the experience is pretty consistent.  I actually kind of feel like I’ve been cheating on Eating Through Roseville by coming here, since I only first tried this place well into the blog but never wrote about it.  It was the very first place I ever had a bowl of pho, and that’s exactly what I get every time I come here.  I like to come here alone, listen to music or podcasts and relax while sipping and slurping up the tasty broth and noodles.  One of the main reasons I like to come here for pho, versus the several other Vietnamese restaurants in town is that, because Asian Blossom is not strictly Vietnamese, they have a more diverse menu.  Really what I’m getting at is that they have Thai iced tea.  Anyway, lets dive right in.

Asian Blossom is located kitty corner from the Galleria in the same shopping center as BJ’s.  I vaguely recall it being some sort of Hawaiian BBQ type place before.  They’ve kept a lot of the styling inside, and somehow it totally works.  I arrived at 5:35PM.  Only a handful of tables were seated, almost all booths as they give the most privacy.  The booths run along one wall and you feel like you almost have a little room to yourself, even though the seat-backs aren’t really that tall.  It’s because of the fake roof that serves as a “hut” type of decoration to fit into the tropical styling.  I took the remaining booth as the server that greeted me gestured for me to sit anywhere I pleased.  As I slid onto the bench seat he left me a menu and headed off to attend to other tables.  I didn’t do much skimming of the menu (Scanned PDF — note that this is pretty old and already out of date since I scanned it after my first visit, they don’t even have the appetizer I ordered today on it, but it should give you a general idea of what to expect) since I planned on getting the same bowl of pho with rare steak as always.  The very first time I ate here I ordered one with the works: rare steak, well-done flank, fat brisket, tendon and tripe.  It was a bit much, and I like to keep it simple now.  I might even drop the steak and just go strictly noodles next time because to be honest the rare beef isn’t really all that great.

On the first page I saw that happy hour is from 3-6, something I never noticed before.  Even more interesting was that instead of a limited selection on appetizers and/or drinks at a lower price, the entire menu is 20% off, which is a pretty awesome deal, I think.  I’ve never come here during happy hour and I’ve always been pretty happy with the price, so this was a bonus for sure.  The last time I came I ordered the small bowl of pho [$5.50] as well as an appetizer, instead of just a medium or large bowl by itself.  I did the same today, choosing pot stickers [$4.75].  I ordered quickly and within just a couple minutes the server started dropping off items.  First a bag with utensils (fork, spoon and chopsticks), napkins and a fortune cookie.  Next up was a plate of condiments for my pho (thai basil, jalapenos, bean sprouts and lime).  In addition to these were the standard items on the table including Sriracha, soy and hoisin sauces.

Along with the condiments plate my Thai iced tea [$2.25] was delivered.  I drank most of this at the end of my meal but I did take a test sip after it had arrived.  It was a bit thinner than I’ve had here before, though still quite tasty.  Less than ten minutes after sitting down I had my appetizer in front of me.  These pot stickers are the deep-fried and crisp variety.  I think I prefer them just steamed, but they’re always good either way.  With the soy sauce-based dip these were excellent.  Crunchy on the outside, hot and full of flavor on the inside.  I powered through about half of the plate before my pho arrived, then alternated between the two.  The pho was as good as always.  Upon arrival the rare steak was busy cooking in the hot broth.  It was clearly pink at first and quickly turning to a uniform gray.  A big pile of the thin, translucence  noodles hit just beneath the surface.  I tossed in some bean sprouts, ripped up Thai basil leaves and squeezed a bit of lime to get started.  Today was the day I realized I didn’t even feel like having the beef in there and ate most of it first to get it out of the way.  It’s pretty bland and the texture is not that pleasant.  Once that was out of the way I was able to enjoy the delicious broth, now with a little additional flavoring from the lime and basil.  Eventually I added a big squirt of hoisin sauce.  I like to enjoy different stages of flavor as I go through the bowl.  Often I’ll eat up to a third of it without adding anything, just focusing on the subtle, delicate broth.

I’ve been very pleased with Asian Blossom since I started coming here.  The pho is delicious and the prices are excellent.  20% off the entire menu during happy hour is a very nice plus.  After tax, this meal was just under $11.  The Thai iced tea could have been a little richer this time, but usually it’s pretty good.  The service has always seemed to consist of a somewhat young staff who are quick, efficient, quiet and polite.  There are always people eating here but I’ve never seen the place busy.  I hope they are able to survive on this busy corner.

(Scanned) Menu: Click Here

#148: Pho Vietnam Noodle Restaurant

For lunch today I visited one of the last Vietnamese restaurants on my list, Pho Vietnam Noodle Restaurant.  I’ve mentioned before that Vietnamese cuisine has been one of the more difficult ones for me to get into.  A combination of knowing next to nothing about Vietnamese food and ordering blindly from dense menus left me unsure and wondering if it’s really all it’s cracked up to be.  My Pho Hang experience got me a little closer, but I think I’m finally in now.

Pho Vietnam Noodle Restaurant is located next door to Khobkoon Thai Cuisine in Woodcreek Plaza, on the corner of Foothills and Pleasant Grove.  I arrived just before noon.  There was a couple finishing up lunch when I walked in, and someone was in and out to pickup a phone order towards the end of my stay.  Other than that I had the place to myself.  I was greeted immediately by the owner and his son (an assumption on both) and was led over to a table roughly in the middle of the good sized dining room.  They definitely have the larger of the two spaces in this building.  Khobkoon is pretty tiny in comparison.  The space is open and is nicely decorated with some plants, artwork on the walls and a curtain that hides restroom doorway with a little style.  Behind me was a large HDTV, which the owner offered to turn on for me at one point.  There was some Kenny G-esque music lightly playing, and I swear it was on repeat the entire time.  I was handed a menu (scanned PDF) and left to look it over for a few minutes.

I knew I would be ordering a bowl of pho, and I also wanted to try an appetizer.  I was considering spring rolls, egg rolls or a crepe, which I spotted a picture of while looking for information on this place before heading out.  I suspect the spring rolls would be great, as they have been everywhere so far, and egg rolls could be good but I was really curious about the crepe (Vietnamese crepe with pork & shrimp)[$5.99] so I picked that.  For my pho I kept it simple this time and chose a small with rare steak (#14, served with beansprouts, lime, basil and jalapenos)[$5.95].  Within a couple minutes I had the little plate of pho fixings already brought out.  I could hear the crepe sizzling away in the kitchen.  While I was waiting the owner came out and asked if I have ever had a crepe before, to which I replied “not a Vietnamese crepe.”  He explained that there would be a little bowl of sauce for dipping and it would come with veggies on the side.  He was extremely nice and seemed eager to explain about the food here and there throughout my visit which was much appreciated.

About 10 minutes after I had ordered, the crepe was delivered.  It was much different than crepes as I know them.  It was very crisp and much more solid in it’s form than the more common French ones.  I was easily able to lift the top portion up with just the corner of my fork to reveal everything inside, which consisted mainly of beansprouts, some shrimp and green onions.  I didn’t see any pork, but I think it was underneath the bean sprouts.  Along side it was a big pile of mustard leaves with cilantro, cucumbers and (I think) onions and carrots.  I didn’t taste them individually to confirm, but that’s what they looked like and the consistency was about right.  I was leary of the sauce at first since whenever I see sauces that look like it, it’s often a fish sauce or something like it and is super salty, overpowering, and just not my cup of tea in general.  I gave this a cautious sniff.  While I wasn’t knocked off my chair, it did seem to smell salty to me.  I first tried a bite of the crepe on it’s own.  No veggies, no sauce.  Texture-wise I really enjoyed it, but it was fairly bland.  I carefully dipped a corner of a bite into the sauce and gave it a try.  I was surprised that it was very mild.  It did add a touch of salty flavor, but also sweet, and it was not spicy.  I ended up liking it a lot and used probably half of the little cup. From a little online research, I found that this sauce is made from fermented soy beans.  After these first test bites I dug in, stuffing the crepe with most of the sides.  It was wonderfully crisp, both the crepe itself and the mustard leaves.  The beansprouts added additional crunch.  The shrimp were few, but tasty.  I didn’t really taste any pork.  I thought it was really good once I got all in with the sides.  It was a great, light starter, though probably big enough to easily share.

About 4 minutes into my crepe the pho arrived.  Despite being a small, it was a good sized bowl filled to the top with hot, steaming broth.  Just under the surface I could see a pile of the thin white noodles and some slices of steak.  Floating at the surface were sliced green onions.  The bowl was steaming a lot when it first came.  I focused on the crepe and let it cool off a bit.  Finished with that, I pulled the big bowl forward and got started.  Again, my first bites were of the bowl without any extras.  I loved it.  It was subtle and delicious, and smelled fantastic.  The steak had been fully cooked to a greyish brown color.  I think I might order this without any meat next time.  Each time I’ve found the beef to be ok.  The noodles were super slippery.  My mediocre chopstick skills notwithstanding, I was able to get a bite’s worth piled onto my spoon with some broth in it relatively easily.  Eventually I started adding some of the garnishes.  I dumped most of the bean sprouts in, ripped up one of the basil leaves, and squeezed in the little wedge of lime.  The bean sprouts added their crunch to the bowl and the little lime went a long way.  Finally, I decided to try out the dark sauce (which I later learned, from the owner, was hoisen) in the Siracha container.  The very small amount I added made a big change.  At first I kind of regretted adding it.  A rich, sweet soy saucy kinda flavor took over the bowl.  After a few bites I decided I actually liked it a lot though.  I ended up sipping all the remaining broth from the bowl after finishing off the noodles and beef.

I left feeling very satisfied and full from this good sized yet fairly light meal.  I thought the price was great. In addition, I also left already looking forward to my next bowl of pho.  I’ve even started looking at where I can go for lunch in Rancho (if you have a favorite out there, let me know!).  The very friendly service and tips provided by the owner were the best I’ve had in Roseville.  If you’re new to the cuisine like myself, I highly recommend this restaurant as he really makes you feel comfortable to ask about anything, know what you’re getting and how to best enjoy it.

(Scanned) Menu: Click Here