On Monday, my sister and I had plans to lunch at Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino -- sort of a recon mission, so we could determine whether we should reserve a table for a larger siblings + spouses dinner later. I was reviewing the menu all Monday morning, pondering which appetizers and entrees and desserts we would order. (Mmm... Hamachi Sashimi...)
So we pulled into the parking lot and stumbled upon a mall security truck and a Sheriff's car blocking one lane. No problem. We went to the next lane. Then we got out and headed towards the door, where an employee was loitering. He proceeded to tell us that the restaurant is closed on Mondays. CLOSED! How did I not notice this during my half-a-dozen visits to the site that morning!
Anyway. I asked him for other nearby lunch recommendations, and you know what he told me? "There's a TGIFriday's across the street." Um, no. So my sister and I got back in the car all disappointed and famished (not a good combination). She then decided that she would take me to her favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Los Altos. She had been raving about Pho Vi Hoa for so long, that I put up with the sort-of far drive (remember, I'm HUNGRY) to check this place out.
When we arrived at the little strip mall in Los Altos, the parking lot was crazy -- full of bad drivers who were probably just as hungry and cranky as we were. We fought it out and got a parking spot, then walked over to the restaurant, where we were greeted by a line. *sigh* I was so unhappy. Like you would not believe, and so I started whining about how we could have just gone to Pho Hoa down the street from my office, and what makes this place so special, and blah blah blah... Goodness, I was such a pain.
But the thing about pho places is, the turnover is pretty quick. The wait ended up only being about five minutes, which probably felt like five million to my sister, who had to at least pretend to listen to me. She eats here about once a week with her husband, so she didn't even need to look at the menu. The waitress came over in about 30 seconds flat to take our order, which I was not prepared for. But we both ended up getting the classic Bun Thit Nuong -- a bowl of rice vermicelli with grilled pork, served with fish sauce. It was really, really good. And it made me shut up. The quality and flavor of the meat here is better than what you get at Pho Hoa, making it definitely worth the longer drive. We also ordered the Goi Cuon -- shrimp and pork spring rolls -- which were very tasty as well.
With a couple of drinks, two large satisfying noodle bowls and the appetizer, our total (before tax and tip) was about $25. It seemed a little pricier than Pho Hoa, but you'll find less fat on your meat and nicer ambiance at Pho Vi Hoa. So yes, the next time my sister drags me here, I won't be such an ingrate!
Pho Vi Hoa
4546 El Camino Real
Los Altos, CA