If you want something more traditional than vermicelli and beef tendon soup then try a Vietnamese sub. Don't try comparing it with a Subway because it won't compare. First of all, the veggies used in a Vietnamese sub are marinated. Second, the meat used are grilled or barbeque. Third is the bun. Vietnamese subs are usually made with a french baquette.
At Pho Huong Viet Noodle House on 17th Avenue SW, the place is usually packed except Monday when it is closed. Other days, it is standing room only. It is a popular eatery at lunch and at dinner. We watched this restaurant grow from the roots. Huong started it on Bow Trail then moved to this location after being told that the new LRT was going through it. Huong has really grew up and so have his popularity.
Other than his subs, the chicken wings are awesome and so are all the rice dishes.
I give Pho Huong Viet Noodle House a ***** and a spend limit of $$.
If it's good Italian cooking that you crave for then head on over to Il Centro. But reservations are highly recommended because it is a popular among pasta and pizza lovers.
We started off with the Calamari rings which we were told that it was only available on weekends. Being inland, I guess calamari is hard to come by or their weekday clientele isn't very adventurous. The rings were a nice start but I wished they doused them in tomato sauce instead of serving them dry.
Everyone who has been to Il Centro had raved about their pizza and so, we ordered one to share. We were hoping if we were still hungry, we would try their pasta too. But once the pizza was served, there was absolutely no way to fit anything else. They loaded up the toppings which included proscuitto, capicollo, mortadella, salami and pepperoni. It was an Italian feast for four but we were only a twosome. The dough was springy and thick, just like the way my wife likes it. I usually like the way New Yorkers make pizza, so thin that you can fold it in half like a sandwich.
To finish off our meal, we ordered the house specialty, Italian sorbet which was freshly made onsite and again, only available on weekends. We enjoyed our meal very much and will be back for their pasta.
I give Il Centro ***+ and a spend limit of $$.
If it's beef chow fun, szechuan eggplant and twice-cooked pork that you want in Palm Desert then head on over to City Wok for good Chinese dishes.
We frequently eat here at City Wok, if not in Palm Desert, we like it in Studio City or in San Diego too. It is sort of a chain but there is an owner and manager at each location.
One thing nice at City Wok is that they serve half dishes. It lets you sample a dish if you're not sure or it lets you order more dishes for variety. If I came for lunch by myself, I would normally order one dish and some rice. But with half dishes, I can order two half dishes and rice for the same money but get two flavours rather than just one.
Our guests from Burbank drove up to visit us in the desert so we wanted to treat them to good Chinese cooking outside of our kitchen. We ordered Green beans with shredded chicken, Chicken Chow Fun, Shrimp in Kung Pao sauce, Spicy Szechuan Eggplant and a Red Beet Salad. Rice came on the side as usual. Service was impecaable, making sure our iced water was filled up at all times. Everything tasted great as usual.
If it's creole/ cajun food you're looking for then head on over to Encore Supper Club on Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.
We walked in during Happy Hour where the bar was selling drinks at half price. On the other side of the bar, separated by a half wall is the dining area. Lights are dimmed during dinner hours and provide a nice and romantic setting for dinner service.
For our food selection, we decided to try their 3-course fixe prix menu. For under $15, you get a hefty size salad to start with, an entree and dessert. For entrees, you get a choice of three traditional creole/ cajun dishes including jambalaya, panfried catfish or southern fried chicken with waffles. For dessert, you have a choice of peach cobbler or a serving of beignets.
The salad was fresh with spring mix and carrots. Plentiful of greens for salad lovers. My southern fried chicken was nicely battered and fried. Delicious. I especially love the waffles which were not the breakfast variety. Instead they were stuffed with spinach. They provided two kinds of syrup for me to try, a maple blend and a cajun styled syrup. Both were equally good and it made my dish, both sweet and savoury at the same time.
I wanted to try the peach cobbler but I enjoy beignets more. If you haven't had beignets, you have to. Beignets are basically french for donuts, fried dough with icing sugar sprinkled on them after they are strained from the hot oil. Live music consists of a piano man singing Broadway tunes such as All I ask of you from the Phantom of the Opera and more.
I give Encore ***+ and a spend limit of $$.
Left to right: Salad, Panfried Catfish with grits and Beignets.