Bun Me, I’m Home!

My work friends P, M, and I met up for lunch last week in Northridge. The place has changed so much since I attended the school in the mid-90s.  The campus has gone through some serious facelifts over the last couple decades and shows no real resemblance of the earthquake-damaged campus that I so vividly remember.

The neighborhood surrounding the campus has gone through some makeovers as well. There are so many restaurants and cute eateries that never existed before. I remember my friends and I used to have to drive to get to places that offered decent food at a student’s budget. I can’t tell you how jealous I am that kids can walk to California Chicken Café now!

Three of us ended up in a place called Bun Me!, a tiny fast food place that offers Vietnamese staples like Bahn Mi sandwiches and Vermicelli Bowls for cheap. This is such a perfect place for students on the budget and looking to upgrade from the usual greasy Chinese takeout and delivery pizza.

I ordered the Bun Me Deli Special with pate, pork roll and char sui pork. The sandwich was not the best I’ve ever had but was pretty tasty … maybe a solid “B.” But I guess for $3.95, I shouldn’t complain. M ordered a Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Bahn Mi which she enjoyed, and P ordered a Vermicelli Bowl, a hearty bowl with vegetables and protein of choice (she let me sample the grilled tofu and it tasted like meat!).

Although the place is small, it is clean and comfortable, and the staff is super helpful and friendly. I love that there’s plenty of parking space in this shopping center for us non-students who drive here. Be warned that there is no restroom here but you can go to Starbucks two doors down.

After lunch, we headed across the street to Get Shaved for some icy dessert. If I remember correctly, this walk-up was once a coffee stand. I ordered a small shaved ice with strawberry syrup, condensed milk, and azuki beans. The beans tasted a little off for some reason so I’ll definitely go without it next time.  By the way, I think I spent more on the shaved ice (which is virtually just frozen water with sugar water) than the Bahn Mi sandwich! eek

It was so nice to catch up with my friends over lunch, and it probably won’t be long until I return to Northridge to walk down the memory lane. I hope the students know how lucky they have it now.

Bun Me
9420 Reseda Blvd., #5, Northridge, CA 91324
★★★★☆

Get Shaved
9255 Reseda Blvd., Northridge, CA 91324
★★★★☆

Bahn Mi for Me (Courtesy of My Boyfriend)

Bahn Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich with choice of meat, picked root vegetables, cilantro, and some jalapenos, first popularized by Lee Sandwich and more recently by Nom Nom Truck, is probably one of my favorite sandwiches out there. I love the combination of sweet and tang, as well as the crunch of daikon and carrots that sit beautifully between a perfectly baked baguette. It’s a perfect combination of French culinary sophistication and Vietnamese creativity.

For dinner, my boyfriend and I grilled a leftover Korean marinated short rib, or galbi, to make the sandwich, and topped the beef with his homemade garnish of daikon radish and carrots he marinated in vinegar, sugar, and other flavorful condiments. He pretty much did everything for dinner and he even did the dishes! Now, that’s a prefect weekend dinner and a great way to start the long Labor Day weekend.  Thank you, sweetie. 🙂

Check this beautiful blog, Kuidaore, for everything and anything you ever wanted to know about how to make bahn mi! Jocelyn, an amazing cook, baker, and writer, went all out on her bahn mi project.  Passionate Eater, another one of my favorites, has a great recipe too!

Welcome Home Dinner: Pho Nga

flightHow much does a girl have to take off to get home around here?

I didn’t think anything of it when I first booked the flight from Indianapolis to Los Angeles — I would board the plane at 8:30 a.m. and arrive at 1:30 p.m. A five-hour flight — no big deal, right? Well, what I failed to realize was that I would arrive to LAX at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, which was really 4:30 p.m. my time (since my body was still operating under Eastern Standard Time).  So today, I spent a total of eight lovely hours in a little plane that stopped in Kansas City, Dallas and El Paso, before touching down in Los Angeles. I had to endure four take offs, four landings, four emergency announcements, and four flight attendants telling me to turn off my iPod (it wasn’t even on!). Since I didn’t have any time to run out to get food in between and Southwest Airlines only serves peanuts and little snacks to passengers, I went for eight hours hungry … and tired.  But the good thing is that the airline began serving 100 Calorie Snacks and low-fat ginger cookies for snacks, instead of just greasy peanuts, which helped me tie my hunger over until landing.

After P picked me up from the Van Nuys Flyaway (thank you so much!), we went to eat pho. It was such a wonderful treat because I didn’t have a chance to eat any Asian food in Denver and Indianapolis and I was craving some great noodle pretty badly. We went to a Vietnamese restaurant in Canyon Country called Pho Nga that serves, no joke, one of the best pho’s around. You may not expect to find an authentic Vietnamese join in a little Canyon Country suburbia but the food served here can no doubt rival any place in the San Gabriel Valley! God bless P – since she’s a regular, a chef brought out a complimentary order of egg rolls! After I had a satisfying bowl of pho with rare beef and a refreshing spring roll with shrimps, rice noodle and basil serviced with sweet peanut-butter sauce, I knew I was finally home.

pho

egg rolls

Ah, I’m so happy to be home, to my own bed.

Pho Nga Vietnamese Restaurant

18741 Soledad Canyon Road
Canyon Country, CA 91351
★★★★☆