Thursday, April 16, 2009

Epicurious in Edmonton 4

Our epicurious adventures this week were rather unintentional in that we had not made plans to go specifically to these restaurants, or even to go out. We just so of happened upon the occasions, and in the case of Pho Hoan Pasteur, we actually wandered into it...

It was Good Friday, and after taking our tire to get repaired, we found ourselves stranded at Canadian Tire, about 3k from home. It was a lovely day, the first lovely day (off) in a very long time, so we decided to walk home. But we were famished. I seemed to recall seeing a noodle house in the Kingsway Centre, down the road, and loving a good bowl of noodles, I suggested walking down that way, even if it was out of the way, to try it out. I seem to have a knack for discovering tiny gems in strip malls or hole-in-the-wall places. Pho Hoan Pasteur was just such a hidden treasure. At first, it was discouraging seeing the menu and finding not one vegetarian item on it. Fortunately, both Craig and I will eat seafood on rare occasions, so we decided to stay. The staff was very accommodating, they allowed us to get one seafood stew and to make a noodle dish without any meat and loaded with veggies. We also ordered avocado bubble tea (my first time to ever actually have bubble tea!) and the Edmontonian specialty, green onion cakes. The latter were the best we have had in E-town (and as Craig said, the most fattening). The bubble tea was delicious. And the entrees, when they arrived, were spectacular. The broth of the soup was delicate, yet packed with flavor. The restaurant has a wide selection of various sauces and condiments, but the soup didn't need them. The noodles were a perfect consistency, and the veggies steamed enough to retain their original crunch and bursts of flavor. We may not go back, since there are not many options for us. But it was certainly worth the single visit. And whenever we shop at the grocer in that strip mall, we may have to grab a bubble tea.

I wish I could offer a strong review of New Asian Village, especially since Edmontonians seem to love the place. But I cannot. We went there after my meeting with some of the leadership of the Edmonton Chapter of Democrats Abroad. The meeting ended late, we had not yet had dinner, and the thought of going home to make dinner (and eating after 9pm) was not appealling. I had heard about NAV, and since we were on that side of the river, I suggested trying it out. First of all, I did not realize it was a buffet. But I was sort of surprised and relieved since that meant we could eat right away. However, nowhere was the price of the buffet listed. The food was okay, but not necessarily good. The texture of the foods was mushy, more so the Indian food normally is. And the flavors reminded me of the prepackaged Indian sauces you can get at the grocery store, a little processed. Which surprised me since this place claims to have a tandoori oven. But it was decent, and I don't mind a so-so meal every once in a while, especially when it's late and I am hungry and too tired to cook. However, I do mind being overcharged for a so-so meal. And when the bill came we were shocked that this craptastic buffet costs a whopping $20 per person!! That was the same price as the really good Indian buffet (Origins India) we had driven past to get to NAV! And the food wasn't half as good as Origins. They did serve the most delicious mango lassi I have ever had. But a $5 mango lassi, no matter how good, does not make up for a $20 bland meal. And Craig was impressed with the selection of 150 beers. But if we go back, it will only be for the beer and lassi. Overall, New Asian Village is overpriced and overrated and not worth your time or money.

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