Andrea Nguyen’s Pho Of A Different Sort

Crispy on the outside, and chewy-custardy soft inside.

Crispy on the outside, and chewy-custardy soft inside.

 

There is pho. And then there is pho pancake.

Yes, my friends, get ready for something all together different and delicious.

Leave it to my friend and cookbook author extraordinaire Andrea Nguyen to come up with this novel version of everyone’s favorite soup noodles.

“Pan Fried Pho Noodles” is from her newest tome, “The Pho Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press), which already went into its second printing before it was even officially released in February.

You may have enjoyed steaming huge bowls of brothy noodles countless times at neighborhood Vietnamese restaurants. But with this book, you’ll learn how to make your own — from preparing the broth from scratch to choosing noodles and assembling garnishes and toppings.

PhoCookbook

Depending upon how labor-intensive you’re feeling, you can choose among quick versions of pho (which calls for doctoring purchased low-sodium broth or buying a rotisserie chicken) to pressure-cooker recipes that speed up the process to non-traditional riffs such as seafood pho.

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Oui Oui to These French Sable Cookies

La Mere Poulard puts a generous amount of butter in these biscuits or cookies.

La Mere Poulard puts a generous amount of butter in these biscuits or cookies.

 

BUTTER!

I had to type that in bold all caps — with an exclamation mark — just to emphasize how incredibly buttery tasting these cookies are.

La Mere Poulard cookies were first baked in 1888 by Annette Poulard, the local baker’s wife in Mont Saint-Michel, France at the inn she opened. La Mere Poulard pays homage to those original cookies with its own versions, made with no preservatives or GMOs. Produced in France for 15 years, they are now readily available in the United States.

The cookies are made with eggs from free-range hens and sugar from beets. It’s not surprising that after the first ingredient listed of wheat flour, comes butter. Because these cookies taste unabashedly of sweet, creamy butter.

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Can’t Get Enough of Lamb Meatloaf with Mushroom Pan Gravy

The meatloaf of your dreams.

The meatloaf of your dreams.

 

After making and eating plenty of meatloaf over the years, I can unequivocally declare that this is definitely one of the very best.

“Lamb Meatloaf with Mushroom Pan Gravy” is from the new cookbook, “Poole’s: Recipes and Stories From A Modern Diner” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, by Chef Ashley Christensen.

Her Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, NC is all about comfort food — done with craft and skill. This is the kind of food you never tire of because it’s delicious and just makes you feel better — inside and out.

PoolesBook

Of course, being a James Beard Award-winning chef, Christensen’s dishes often redefine diner food, stretching the boundaries, but still in keeping with its inherent warm soulfulness. There’s everything from “Cornbread Crab Cakes” to “Grits with Roasted Pumpkin, Aged Maple Syrup and Crispy Peptias” to “Jacked Up Devil’s Food Trifle.”

What makes her meatloaf so spectacular?

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Prepare to Wait in Line: Din Tai Fung Ends Reservations

Read it and weep?

Read it and weep?

 

The sign above says it all. Dumpling-maker extraordinaire Din Tai Fung, which had to institute the first reservations system ever when its first Northern California location opened in May 2016 at Santa Clara’s Westfield Valley Fair mall, will no longer be accepting reservations starting today.

With waits of up to five hours when it first opened its doors last year, what can one expect now? The hostess said at dinner time on a weeknight, it shouldn’t be more than an hour and a half wait. On weekends, expect it to be longer. Yikes! But during the off-hours, you might be able to just walk right in.

I just squeaked in last week with one of the last reservations available. Of course, I did have to eat “dinner” at 4:15 p.m. — the latest reservation of the day that was open. But my friend and I (we paid our tab) didn’t mind at all. We were just glad to get in easily.

No line. But then, it was at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday.

No line. But then, it was at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday.

The bar area.

The bar area.

This was my first time to the Santa Clara location, though, I’ve dined at the original Southern California ones in Arcadia many times before. There were two, located just one block from one another. What made that ideal was that if there was a line at one, you could just walk to the other and usually get in without a hitch. But no more. The second Arcadia location has moved to the Westfield Santa Anita. That seems to be the new trend with the Taiwanese chain — opening its new locations in upscale malls.

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Culinary Courier & Market Opens, Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

Enchiladas Suizas from the new Culinary Courier & Market in Los Gatos.

Enchiladas Suizas from the new Culinary Courier & Market in Los Gatos.

 

Saratoga native Terri Piazza Shong has had a successful catering company in the South Bay for 13 years. Now, she’s expanded the business to include a new market that just opened in downtown Los Gatos.

Culinary Courier & Market offers her catering company’s most popular dishes — all packed up and refrigerated, so all you have to do is stop by to grab and go. It’s the perfect solution to those times when you don’t want to cook dinner, need a healthful lunch fast, or want to pick up some late-morning noshes for a small business meeting at work.

Selections include prawn lettuce wraps, kale salad with toasted almonds, meat lasagna, chicken Marsala, Yukon Gold potato hash, and French toast loaf with praline pecans and raspberry syrup.

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