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Posts Tagged ‘pho’

On occasion I like to write about the nooks and crannies around town, places I’ve lived, or traveled to. This category, Nites Out, is a special section for eating outside of my own kitchen! Search for Nites Out to find more places to dine…

Tân Tân was the original name of this Vietnamese Noodle restaurant when Hubby and I were dating.  We would meet here for lunch quite often (this was pre-children. You know, back when you actually had money for lunch?).  Well the new name Tân Mý did not mean a new owner, thankfully.  The same older gentleman, and his family, continue to run this small phở hotspot.

If you are in the mood for a good phở, the Tân Mý is the place to go.  I will warn you that this is a very small restaurant and your noodle slurping will not go unnoticed by the patrons sitting next to you.  And I mean right next to you.  At the same table.  For this reason alone it’s a good idea to get there early.

I love the jasmine tea.  I always order it, even if it’s the middle of summer.  Today I tried the Egg Noodle BBQ Pork soup, it delivered big time.  A small bowl is plenty for the famished diner, and this will cost you less than 7 bucks.  If you don’t like pork (and I could not understand why – pork fat rules, but this is incredibly lean… anywho) there are plenty of other options to indulge in.  Beyond phở  the menu includes fried noodle dishes, the lemongrass ones are awesome, and I’m sure they’re all delicious. I just realized they have desserts on the menu too.  I’m always stuffed, so there’s never any room for sweets afterwards.  Maybe next time…

Wonton Soup - Tan My

We’ve tried other phở places and this one stands above the rest.  If you are in Austin, find them here.

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There was a Vietnamese restaurant on Spicewood Springs road that we occasionally met at for lunch.  It was small with a walk up counter to order, then you got a flag to mark your table.  A server brought your food piping hot to your table.  There was a collection of nick nacks for sale near the restrooms.  Now that restaurant is closed, I never did buy one of those little figures or tea cups.

Happily, we found out a new owner was taking over the space and it was another Vietnamese eatery, Hai Ky.  This was the first chance to see inside and taste the new menu.

I had Sate Beef (#60), Hubby had phở bò (#13).

The interior has been repainted, and there are rice paper rectangular light shades hanging from the ceiling.  The patio remains but it was too chilly to eat outside.  The staff are very laid back and friendly, the place has the same vibe as before but with a fresh clean look.

The menu includes pho, salads, tofu for you vegans out there, vermicelli and specials.  I always order iced tea, Hubby water with extra limes.  I know iced tea is way over priced in any restaurant but I like something other than water or soda with my lunch.  That’s just me.

Update: I’ve added the sesame chicken dish that I had today, I wrote this last week after our first visit.  Had to include this dish here!  The sesame chicken has a very thin batter that was a little grainy in texture, could be rice flour.  The sauce is gingerly applied so the chicken is not drowning in it, not spicy and citrus notes play wonderfully with the toasted sesame seeds throughout.

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Is preparedness a measure of how insane I really am? 

I completely despise when, after the fact, I was not dutifully prepared for something.  Being the matriarch of the family, I’m supposed to have everything ready at all times, just in case.  I’m supposed to gather and bring back to the cave whatever was found that day.  All the while, the little ones ride onboard, weighing the whole lot down.  If, in this case, I had been more prepared, I would have found another mother to watch the little ones and trade half of what was gathered for her service. 

More prepared

I was not prepared for the flood in my kitchen.  The garbage disposal is not, well, top of the line, it’s been doing its job very well for the last 4 years.  Until it decided potato peels were too much effort and clogged the drain.  This caused water to backwash into the dishwasher (figure that one out).  If the dishwasher, which is actually brand new, is left ajar when the disposal becomes unruly, a flood ensues.  Luckily, this can only happen while I’m home, doing the dishes in the sink after peeling too many potatoes.  Silver lining?  Not by me.  Why was I not so prepared?  The mop was out in the garage and the plunger as well.  By the time the seal around the bottom of the dishwasher gave way like a levee in a hurricane, there was a massive amount of water inside.  The kitchen became a lake in seconds.  Baby sister needed to be put somewhere safe, and big brother needed to stay out of the mess.  (He wanted to help, he knew this was a terrible thing)  I called hubby for help, if he could get home quickly from work.  It was his brilliant idea to get the plunger to clear the blockage, since starting the dishwasher caused the water to go back up into the sink.  That would have compounded the problem! 

So, until we can replace the garbage disposal, nothing is going down the drain anymore, not without mop and plunger handy at least then I would be prepared.

I was also unprepared today when I came home after work.  There was nothing started, or de-frosting, or left over.  There were a few onions and carrots in the fridge.  Some sad celery sticks.  Hubby called and said he was starving, so was everyone else.  Baby sister was not having the best day, so running to the store with both kids was not an option. 

How can you prepare dinner out of virtually nothing? 

The answer: soup!  Today it was pho gà, or at least that was the flavour for the broth.

Be More Prepared Pho Anything! [soup]

  • 4 chicken thighs, skin removed, bone in
  • 1 celery stalk, cut in large pieces (2 inches)
  • 1 sprig fresh sage (just because I had some left)
  • Sea salt
  • 1 cube Pho Gà bouillon (typically available at Asian Markets)
  • vermicelli noodles
  • 2-3 scallions or chives (optional garnish)

Begin with the chicken, celery, whole sage leaves and enough water to cover in a soup pot.  Bring this to a boil, season with salt, then simmer until the chicken is almost cooked.  I started with frozen pieces of chicken and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, this will be less if you are using fresh or defrosted chicken.  Skim any foam or fat from the surface and discard.

Add the bouillon cube and stir to dissolve.  I remove the thighs and cut the meat into smaller portions for ease of eating.  I can also check that the meat is cooked.  Add the noodles for the last minute of cooking, they will disappear into the hot broth, you can place them into the serving bowls then pour over the hot soup.  Garnish with sliced scallions, or if you have chives they work just as well.

If you save the bones from previous baked or roasted chicken in the freezer, you can add them to soup for a heartier flavour.  Save the bones from a few chickens then make your own stock, then freeze the stock.  This is what I’m planning to keep on hand for winter, soup of any kind is always welcome during the cooler months here.  I want to be prepared for it.

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