Friday, May 2, 2008

Pho So 1 in the Heart of Dorchester's Fields Corner

Last weekend I had an appointment there. So my sis and I were starving after our meeting. We had to get some food and Banh Mi was not going to suffice. We went directly next door to Pho So 1. (If I was more hungry I would have wanted 7 courses of fish but alas what we got was good.)
I don't usually trek to Fields Corner to eat in Dorchester. My good friend lives there and since I did briefly take Vietnamese classes (ok I forgot it all save for a few phrases) and the great Vietnamese Food (plus it is a trek) I always make sure to grab a meal while in the area.
So I went to Pho So 1 (223 Adams St, Dorchester, MA 02122 ,Phone: (617) 474-1999)
Goi Cuon- (Spring Rolls)--fresh shrimp and grilled pork inside (You cannot get that in any Vietnamese restaurant with the grilled pork in Chinatown and for $3.50---a steal!). We loved the usual peanut dipping sauce. The highlight was the pork and shrimp combo. Yummy! Nice and fresh and not fried which is what I love about it. (Don't get me wrong, I love fried things but I am trying to not eat it as often.)

Phò dãc biét (one of my faves) Beef broth studded with beef brisket, tendon, round eye steak, flat noodles and served with plate of limes, bean sprouts and herbs for you to add to your broth. The broth, noodles and meat just hit the spot. Add some sriracha sauce and it is even lovelier!

Com Suon Bì, Cha Trung, Thit Nuóng
I always seem to crave this one! The places in Chinatown don't even offer the eggs and charge about the same price! I love the steamed ground pork cake with egg and vermicelli. (It reminds me of the home style meals growing up that my mom would make.) Then the shredded pork along with the grilled pork chop over a bed of rice and a side salad. The two fried eggs are cooked just right so when I cut them open, the lovely yolk just oozes onto the rice. Of course you have to have nuoc mam fish sauce too!
It was a satisfying meal without having to break the piggy bank. *Sigh.

9 forks out of 10 forks
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Vlora in Copley Square

Earlier this week went to Vlora Restaurant with some friends. It is located in a basement level space (so you can easily miss out) right outside of 545 Boylston Street in the heart of Copley Square across from Trinity Church. Here is the restaurant's blog to read all the updates. The space was very quiet and modern. One part was full of light by the windows looking upstairs. Very spartan and not overly adorned.

The waitstaff was very attentive and polite. We did get two lunch menus by accident and the waitress got the wrong wine. The wine we did get $32 for the bottle was the Sileni Sauvignon Blanc and it was delicious! I don't like overly dry whites. It smelled yummy and had a wonderful tang and sweetness too it. Everyone raved about it! One friend who selected it had tried Sileni wines before. Bravo and excellent choice!

We each were served a nice warm piece of bread accompanied with good olive oil and some nice olives.

Here is the clams stuffed with crabmeat which was good. The dipping sauce was spicy but nice. The salad with red peppers and lettuce was good to have some on the plate. More bread than crab but still good and fresh.
I also got a side of dill mash potatoes that were delicious. Another is I got a trio of pies served with yogurt sauce-one was filled with feta and spinach, yogurt and tomato and onion. The pies were great with the pastry puff exterior and it was simple. The tartness of the yogurt sauce was nice.

Overall I give Vlora 8 forks out of 10 forks.
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JNJ Turo Turo-Filipino food in Quincy

I went with my good friend NY and my sis last weekend to Quincy. On 143 Water Street, you can find JNT Turo Toro. A cute hole in the wall serving home made Filipino food with a daily changing menu and permanent but smaller menu. Everything is listed on a board by the cash register. This small space was bright, cheery and alot the furniture from IKEA. (My friend noted she had similar furniture that was found in the restaurant.)

We ate alot of pork and had to bring leftovers home with us. So we got Kare Kare, Dinuguan, Lechon Kawal, Pancit Bihon, Lumpia with Meat, Pork Afritada, Bicol Express and Pork Adobo. If we were vegetarians, we would have been in trouble! I have only had select dishes of Filipino food in the past made by friends namely Pancit and Lumpia (both were I have had before were delicious!)
The staff was very friendly and looks to be a family run business. We ordered all the four dishes in the front, got some rice and other dishes. We were forewarned we would not be able to finish, we weren't. We had not room for dessert. We enjoyed the Kare Kare-pork, tripe in peanut sauce. We were instructed do add the fish paste (what Filipinos do) and it was delicious. Theshrimp paste is strong but different from Chinese shrimp paste. It added an extra zing to the dish and tripe. The Pork Afritada reminded my sis and I of our dad's veggie soup with tomato and potato. The Bicol Express was lovely with green beans, pork with coconut milk and shrimp paste. We loved it! We were not sure with the coconut milk but it added a nice contrast and lessened the potency of the shrimp paste. The Lechon Kawal or fried pork belly was simple and the dipping sauce was a litte sweet with some spices making it a nice accent. The Pork Adobo (marinated meat in soy, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns usually) was good (a staple Filipino food but my friend's is better.) The meat lumpia was a hit (as my friend NY said, maybe because it was fried?). The dipping sauce was not and not overly sweet. The two things we were not as enthused over were the Pancit Bihon and the Dinuguan. I love noodle dishes but this simplie rice noodle pancit flavored with soy was too light and tasteless for me. The Dinuguan was pork cooked in blood was different from anything I had but the murky blood broth was a disappointment.

We got there at the right time, as we were leaving the place was very busy for a Saturday afternoon. There is a certain niche needed for Filipino families and alot of them were ordering and eating there at Turo Turo last Saturday afternoon. Plus the prices are very reasonable too.

Service: 9 forks out of 10 forks
Food: 8.5 forks out of 10 forks
Total overal: 8.5 forks out of 10
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