Lost Vegetarian Presents… Banh Canh Noodles At Bricolage

I love Vietnamese food, but there can be a lot of pitfalls for vegetarians. Even innocuous-sounding dishes may have a healthy sprinkle of fish sauce in them. At Bricolage in Park Slope, though, Chef Lien Lin has a number of great (fish sauce-free) vegetarian options like banh xeo (a crepe made with rice flour) and a veggie banh mi. Even better is the dish she made for us in the newest episode of Lost Vegetarian: banh canh noodles with tofu. The dish, which is meant to be eaten at room temperature, features a great mix of textures and flavors. The noodles, made with a mix of tapioca and rice flours, are dense and chewy, while the vegetables are crisp and light. The coconut-based sauce adds just the right amount of seasoning, offset by the bright acidity of the pickles.

My collaborators:
Camera – Donny Tsang (http://www.donnytsang.com/)
Camera – Scott Lindrup (http://www.scottlindrup.com/)
Music – Bayard Russell (https://bayardrussell.wordpress.com/)

Bricolage — 162 5th Ave

Lost Vegetarian Presents… Grains of the Day at Nha Minh

When I asked for suggestions about restaurants that might be good to feature on Lost Vegetarian, James Boo was quick to recommend Nha Minh, a Vietnamese restaurant in Bushwick. Chef/owner Fred Hua constructs these amazing create-your-own rice bowls, which are huge and filling but somehow light and energizing. He uses the best ingredients he can find and cooks them simply, and then everything is combined with a medley of rice, grains, and pickled veggies. Then you can top the bowl with a wide variety of delicious freshly-made sauces, with options like coffee hoisin and fermented black bean with tahini. In this episode, Hua makes a vegan, gluten free bowl topped with Barry’s Tempeh. I’ve been to Nha Minh twice now, and both times everything was excellent. Enjoy!

My collaborators:
Camera – Donny Tsang (http://www.donnytsang.com/)
Camera – Scott Lindrup (http://www.scottlindrup.com/)
Music – Bayard Russell (https://bayardrussell.wordpress.com/)

Nha Minh — 485 Morgan Av

Bun-Ker Disappoints A Vegetarian

grilled eggplant & zucchini

Although it’s not particularly vegetarian-friendly, I love Vietnamese food. I had been hearing great things about this new place in Ridgewood, right where Brooklyn turns into Queens in the middle or nowhere. On a snowy winter night I went with my friends Jeff & Eva, only to find there was an hour wait. No wonder; the space at Bun-Ker holds maybe six tables, all crammed in close together in what looks like a street-side restaurant in Vietnam. I was happy to see they have quite a few vegetarian choices on the menu, but although my meat-eating friends raved about their meal I came away disappointed. The vegetarian banh xeo, a crepe filled with mushrooms and bean sprouts, was bland and greasy. They did provide fish sauce for some seasoning, but if you’re going to go to the trouble of making a vegetarian option, why have it rely on fish sauce for flavor? I had the same problem with the grilled eggplant and zucchini (pictured above), a variation on bun — usually room temperature noodles topped with warm cooked food and a mix of pickled and raw veggies. Here the noodles were topped with the grilled eggplant and zucchini, but they were also completely unseasoned. Again there was fish sauce provided, though I didn’t use any. They did bring me some lime wedges when I asked, and I topped it with plenty of sriracha, but those could only help so much. I’m sure the meat and seafood dishes are worthy of the praise, but I left quite unhappy with the vegetarian food I had.

Bun-Ker — 46-63 Metropolitan Ave, Queens

Ha Noi Comes to Park Slope

Ha Noi is a new Vietnamese restaurant that opened in the old Second Helpings space this weekend. I stopped in yesterday for my first meal, and it was quite good. I was disappointed that they don’t have a vegetarian version of the crispy spring rolls, but the fresh summer rolls were nice and fresh, and the peanut sauce was delicious. I also got the tofu bun, room temperature rice noodles with fresh carrots and lettuce, topped with crispy tofu. The noodles were really excellent. The staff was also very accommodating — bun usually comes with fish sauce, but they offered me a variety of different sauces instead. Oh, they also serve banh mi, bringing the total number of Vietnamese sandwich places within four blocks up to three. The rest of the menu is so extensive, though, that I don’t see why you’d want to order the sandwiches at Ha Noi. There were the usual newly-opened problems: they sent me my app, then my entree… and then my app again, and I had to ask for my check multiple times, but I’m sure they’ll iron those problems out. I’ll definitely be back.

Ha Noi — 448 9th St, Brooklyn

L.A. Eats – Day 1 Burgers Beers Tiki Drinks Fish Tacos Banh Mi

Umami Burger
Every time I go home, LA, I always carry a mental list of restaurants and bars I want to visit. Of course once I get to LA all of my plans changed or became nonexistent. Things happened or most of the time I get damn lazy. Though I can guarantee you I will get my In-N-Out. It also helps that my parents’ place is walkable to an In-N-Out but who really walks in LA? Yes it takes 2mins to drive over in my jam jam thru the drive-thru.
My friend Matt from NY was also in LA visiting his bro, Chris, that recently moved to the Los Feliz area. I’m preeetty familiar with the streets of Los Feliz because The Gastrobus parks at the Los Feliz Farmers Market every Sunday and you know everytime I’m in LA I take a quick visit to the truck.

Around 1pm I got to Los Feliz and parked my car on a side street close to Chris’s place. We said hello and didn’t waste much time with chit chat and walked over to Umami Burgers for brunch since we were all starving. I have heard a lot and read a lot about Umami Burgers. My friend Sophie loooooves the place. Great thing about Los Feliz is that everything is so close to each other so we just walked over.

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Eating In Chinatown For $8.50

Bike polo?
Sometimes after a long day sitting in the office, all I want to do is head home and just chill. But..BUT sometimes I rather not go home too quickly because well it could get boring at home. Especially when the weather is super nice, who wants to be indoor? Few weeks ago I had a GIANT craving for a banh mi sandwich so I decided to head down to Chinatown.

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Spicy Vegetarian Baoguette and My First Pinkberry

On a recent trip to the East Village I decided to stop for lunch at Baoguette, a chain of Vietnamese-style sandwich shops run by Michael Huynh (of Bia Garden among others). I hadn’t really planned on stopping there, because in my previous research I hadn’t seen a vegetarian option on the menu, but when I walked by there it was on the menu: the Veguette. It’s a sandwich made with kung pao style soy protein, loaded up with pickled vegetables and cilantro.

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