Healthier Fast FoodWe all feel the desire to eat out occasionally. For convenience. For socialization. For someone else to do the cooking.
I was out doing my errands for a Saturday. Still novel to do that and spend hours running around and enjoying it since the long hiatus due to surgery. It was close to my lunchtime and I yearned for someone else to do the cooking. I quickly crossed any standard fast food options off my list. I am trying to eat better. Though fries and a fried fish sandwich is appealing--it isn't very nutritious or healthy. Scanning the options around me, I spied a new place - Bambuza Vietnam Grill. It spoke to me.
Being a vegetarian (or officially a pescatarian since I eat fish) is a challenge at most fast food establishments. Nearly all have a fish sandwich but any salad offerings other than a side salad come with meat. Wendy's is the worse--no fish options (other than Lent). Other than a side salad and fries or a baked potato, you have few options. I've learned that any place advertising Vietnamese cuisine has a lot more options. So, I went by and checked them out. Though their menu isn't extensive, it has some great offerings. One of them was Vegetarian Pho. I've heard Merrick talk about Pho for years. Now that she is a vegetarian as well she has a hard time finding vegetarian pho and occasionally yearns for the one made with beef stock simply because she loves pho so much. I was excited to see it on the menu and see what it is all about.
Though I love spring rolls that are made with rice paper rolls, I truly love the crispy fried ones best. I love the contrast between crispy outside to soft veggie inside. It isn't always easy to find a vegetarian version but usually you can find them in Thai or Vietnamese restaurants (or Asian ones that cater to various ethnic cuisine). Bambuza had a vegetarian version so I had to have some. I had to wait a few minutes and browsed their menu and enjoyed the ambiance too. I was even offered some iced water while I waited. I don't think I've ever been offered a drink while waiting for take-out before but I gratefully took him up on the offer. I perpetually forget to have a bottle of water in the car and was quite dry. I did chat briefly with the proprietor and discovered they opened only 3 mos. ago. I hope they have great success and will stay around.
I brought my food home and pulled out all the pieces--there were a few. Since I've never eaten pho before--I wasn't sure about the assembly and what went with what.
Is the soup eaten alone? Do you put the noodles in the soup or do you put the noodles in a dish and eat them on the side or mix them with the soup. I needed Pho 101! I finally decided I would get a bowl and put some vermicelli noodles and caramelized onions and (I think) chives in the bowl and ladle some soup and veggies on top of that. Hope I didn't break any pho laws. It was quite tasty that way. The soup broke up the noodles and the other items flavored the soup a bit more. The soup is full of good veggies and lightly seasoned--must be very low sodium. I was tempted to add a little salt but left things as they were. I was also given a little bag of bean sprouts, a cut lime and some cut jalapenos. Again--do these go into the soup or on top or what? I opted out with the peppers but added some sprouts and (I think) some basil to the soup. Having these separate left them nicely crunchy and tasty.
The vegetarian egg rolls were perfect--again very little salt added so they were not overly seasoned and all the veggies were lightly cooked and tasty. Some pickled carrot and jicama sticks were added to the dish making it tasty and more nutritious.
With the fried egg rolls it wasn't the MOST healthy lunch but I think the rest of the meal balanced that out with a lot of veggies in the pho and on the side. I have to give it a thumbs-up for an excellent lunch. I'll definitely go back and I will talk up their grill when given the chance. A little pricier than McDonald's or Taco Bell but infinitely healthier eats and (for me) a more satisfying meal.