I get lost sometimes in my reviews. One can only describe how a food tastes so many times without repeating themselves. It was great, amazing, flavorful, perfect, the best I’ve ever had, omg Becki so good, LIT AF. I am sure I could continue on.
This weekend, I had the chance to sit down at California Pho , invited by Binh Nguyen Van. Joined by Cook and Cuffs by Chef Keys . What I was in store for was more than any of the words above.
Normally I try to order 4 to 5 things off the menu to give everyone a spread of foods to ogle over. However today we are keeping it simple. 3 items and lots of flavor.
California Pho Is Undeniable... And Good, Says Doc Kaalberg
The appetizers:
Pan fried chicken wings, with sweet chili fish sauce. A sweet perfectly crispy chicken wing. This order comes in a plate of 5 with garnish. Topped with some table siracha these wings hit the spot. I could snack on these all day. 9.49 for 5 and the wings are big enough for a table of 3 easily. 8.6/10
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The Main entree:
The Special Pho. This is where I lose it. Although California Pho is Vietnamese in practice, I have to use a Japanese word here. Umami. The complexity and pureness of this dish are really hard to describe. It really hits on all notes, without really striking any particular chords. Confused yet? Let me explain further. Everything about this dish is simply delicious. The broth isn’t salty. The meats are married perfectly with everything else. No one taste is there to grab ahold of you, but they are all there to embrace you. Binh takes care of me and adds a few ribs to the bowl, which I can’t thank him enough for. These pull right off the bone and are tender and juicy all in one bite. The tripe and pho noodles are cooked to perfection, and I feel like I am wearing a little more than I am eating. My only tip is maybe eat this with a fork if you are not dexterous enough with the chop sticks. Coming in at 16.99, this is well worth every cent. Probably a shareable dish, there was plenty for me and another. 9.3/10
California Pho Is Undeniable... And Good, Says Doc Kaalberg
The Drink:
A Thai Tea with Boba, Milk and Caramel.
This hit every spot my meals didn’t. Not too sweet, with added hints of coffee. I can see why my daughter is obsessed with boba. I’m not ashamed to say I was trying to listen intently to the conversation at the table but kept finding myself lost popping boba in my mouth. 8.8/10
I was more than pleasantly suprised by this whole expieirience and my only regret is I didn’t try more. I plan on returning soon to try the clay pot cooked rice, and of course the General Tso Chicken. I can’t thank Binh enough for his hospitality and generousity. And of course my partner in food crimes Chef K.
You friend in food,
Doc
California Pho Is Undeniable... And Good, Says Doc Kaalberg
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.
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California Pho Is Undeniable... And Good, Says Doc Kaalberg

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