Restaurant Challenge: Sidestreet Pho

Mike & Elise

Mike & Elise


OK people, dreams have come true this time around on the restaurant challenge. My children actual begged to return to a Vietnamese restaurant we recently picked from the bucket. Never mind that it’s mostly due to a dessert piled high with mango shaved ice, bits of marshmallow, and tapioca pearls.

I love Vietnamese food. I am glad it’s now a part of our regular rotation of restaurants. I am glad that my kids have found new foods they like even if it was a dessert that got ’em in the door.

Overall Thumbs Up

Overall Thumbs Up


SIDESTREET PHO
http://sidestreetpho.com/
Since pulling this from the restaurant challenge bucket we’ve been here a couple time. The restaurant is simple and nicely designed. The food is good and the service is friendly. In our various trips we’ve tried the following:

Elise:
Pho Ga but with Egg Noodles: Thumbs Up!

mmm, soup.

mmm, soup.


Jack:
Com Tam Bi Bo (Grilled Beef with Rice): Thumbs Up for the rice (as usual). Thumbs medium for the steak, although I thought it was delicious. Thumbs way up for the pickled daikon, cucumber, and carrot salad.

Mike:
Banh Mi Bo Kho (Beef stew with french bread): Thumbs medium, he liked it ok but not overwhelmed.
Bo Luc Lac (Beef stir fried with egg noodles): Thumbs up, tasty.

Me:
Cha Gio Heo Nuong (Rice Vermicelli Salad with imperial roll and grilled pork.) MMM, one of my favorites and this one didn’t disappoint.

Pho Ga: Thumbs Up, the broth was really flavorful and good.

Vermicelli with Pork and Egg Roll

Vermicelli with Pork and Egg Roll


                                                  
And then there is this magical snow ice dessert…
WARNING: Fingers could get accidentally bitten off during the feeding frenzy this causes.

Mango Snow Ice Dessert.

Mango Snow Ice Dessert.

Sidestreet Pho: Now in our regular restaurant rotation.

Easy Watermelon Cooler

Refreshing

Refreshing


I was cutting up a watermelon tonight and was left with a pool of juicy looking pulp sitting in the rind. Rather than pick it up and drink it down, a light bulb popped. Watermelon cooler.

I grabbed a spoon and started scraping. Of course you could do this with chunks of watermelon but I got kinda excited that I found a use for something I would have just tossed in the compost. Then I gathered a lemon, a bit of white wine (I used a table white but Prosecco would be good too) and some ice. Easy breezy like summer. What resulted was a refreshing, crisp drink with a hint of natural sweetness cut a bit by the lemon.

Ingredients:
– Dry White Wine or Prosecco (I used a table white that was 80% Sauvignon Blanc/20% Chardonnay)
– Watermelon leftovers
– Ice
– Lemon

Watermelon Leftovers

Watermelon Leftovers


To Make:
– Take the spoon and scrape down the rind, making as much pulpy juice as possible.
– Fill a glass with ice.
– Fill the glass half way with watermelon juice and pulp.
– Then fill with wine.
– Cut some lemons, squeeze one small piece into the drink and stir. Then drop a couple slices of lemon on top.

Find a porch, kick back, and sip.

Ouch Sun, That Hurt! Weird Sunburn Remedies.

Awhile back I watched a video on the internet with a doctor talking about common household remedies for sunburns. I can’t find it now but I could swear they said that applying tea or vinegar within the first eight hours after your skin gets sunburnt not only soothes the immediate pain, but also stops and even reverses some of the sun damage that nasty burn inflicted on your skin. Could it be true?

This stuck in my head when I found myself, after a day in the sun, looking like a crispy critter. What the heck, might as well give it a shot. So I soaked a paper towel in white vinegar and applied it all over my sunburn. The next day, I swear there was a noticeable difference between the area I easily reached and applied more vinegar to (shoulders), and the area in the middle of my back (still a deeper red).

Shortly after I noticed that my mother-in law carries around a small water bottle with a half water/half vinegar solution to apply after being in the sun… at the suggestion of her dermatologist. I think we’re on to something here!

I’ve since applied vinegar many times to pieces and parts of my family’s skin that have seen too much sun and it always seems to help. At the very least it doesn’t hurt. So, as you head out to enjoy some July 4th fun in the sun, remember your SPF! But should you still find yourself a little pink around the edges, grab for the vinegar asap. Or one of these other household items…

(NOTE: I am no doctor, nor is the internet from which I gleaned this info, this is all just anecdotal)

VINEGAR:
Apparently there is acetic acid in vinegar. Acid?! on a Sunburn?! Yeah, seems like it helps relieve pain and restore the pH balance to your skin which promotes healing. I go straight-up-hard-core pure white vinegar but you can also mix half vinegar/half water, soak a washcloth or paper towel, and hold on your skin for awhile. Or dab all over the sunburn and repeat a few times. Seems Apple Cider and white vinegar are the best types of vinegar to use.

Tea
Sitting out on the deck eating some lunch, soaking up the sun and OOPS sunburn! Order an iced tea, soak a napkin, hold it on the burn, move into the shade and lunch on. Tea has healing properties. The internet seems to think black tea works best.

Yogurt
Turn your crispy skin tandoori-style with a little yogurt slathered on. I’ve never done this but people out there online say it’s the best way to heal a sunburn. But there’s evidence to support lots of “best ways” so I say grab what’s handy, slather it on, it’s better than nothing.

On that note, some other items said to help:
– Cold Water
– Milk
– Cucumbers
– Oatmeal
– Coconut Oil

Enjoy your 4th of July, use sunscreen, and keep that vinegar handy.

Adventuring: Aquarium & Dim Sum

The heavy reality of heading back to work hit like a ton of bricks this morning as I spent two hours driving a mere 15 miles to work. Nothing like starting a new job the same day the regional transit goes on strike. And as I crawled down the freeway en route to the new gig, it wasn’t the traffic dragging me down. It was the reality that my freedom has officially been boxed in around work, commutes, and deadlines. Sigh. But I lamented this already in last night’s post so time to get over it and move on.

Elise and I spent my last day of summer freedom on friday adventuring together. Jack was at camp so she got to pick all parts of the plan. She chose: Aquarium of the Bay followed by Dim Sum.

I went online to the local library Discover & Go program and downloaded a free pass to the Aquarium, clipped a Ferry coupon out of the Alameda phone book, and planned our route…

Ferry Ride

Ferry Ride


Alameda/SF Ferry
We dropped Jack at camp and headed for the ferry terminal to catch a boat over to Pier 41 near our destination, The Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39. We took a couple of pit stops first 1) The Kite Store bubble machine for some dancing, 2) the Sea Lions but only one lone sleeper lay on the platform, the rest we determined were out to sea and 3) The candy store on Pier 39 with barrels of taffy in every flavor. Try passing by that with a four year old without entering.

Bubble Dancing

Bubble Dancing

CANDY!

CANDY!

Aquarium of the Bay/Pier 39
This isn’t the most phenomenal aquarium, and not somewhere you can spend the entire day. It’s a fairly quick walk through with our longest time spent at the touch tanks. They do have a very cool walk through glass tunnel full of large sharks, rays, and fish cruising by above your head. And recently they added an otter exhibit though they were snoozing away while we were there. They have a friendly staff and even if it’s not as grand as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we enjoyed our time there.

Touch Tanks, Elise's favorite!

Touch Tanks, Elise’s favorite!


I love these cute little Strawberry Anenome

I love these cute little Strawberry Anenome

City View Dim Sum
We walked from Pier 39 to City View Dim Sum via North Beach. A good way to go because there’s lots to see to keep the walk interesting. Elise was in a stroller so she sat back and enjoyed the ride. I got a little exercise to preempt the calorie explosion about to take place.

When I worked in downtown SF, City View was always my favorite Dim Sum spot to hit up for a Friday lunch with coworkers. I love me some Dim Sum and have been known to overstuff myself on numerous occasions. This time around we kept it under control with 4 items, though admittedly I ate most of it. Elise had her favorite: Baked Pork Buns and declared them the best she’s tried to date. Bonus: We ran into some friends at the next table.

Right after this shot, she shoved the entire thing in her mouth.

Right after this shot, she shoved the entire thing in her mouth.

We then walked down through the Financial District to the Ferry Terminal and hopped on a ferry back to Alameda. Another lovely day with my girl, this time luckily without a single temper tantrum.

Financial District Fountain

Financial District Fountain


Lovely Day in the City.

Lovely Day in the City.