I was glued to the television the other night watching a program on PBS called “Mind of a Chef with David Chang” and I think I finally found my T.V. crush. I usually don’t fall for television personalities since they’re so full of themselves and I just don’t have the patience for people like that. But now I was actually falling for one, and… he was a T.V. chef! and… he was Asian! and… I was hungry! Normally I’m not into Asians since they’re horrible drivers and I could never go with someone who doesn’t know how to drive a car, but since this one could cook, I figured I could do all the driving and eating and he could do all the cooking. We’d be perfect together!
Since he’s Asian, he was talking about his love of noodles and as I was watching him talk about noodles, it not only made me have a crush on him, it made me crave noodles. Not that I don’t ever crave noodles. I do crave them because I’m Italian and Italians love noodles just like Asians do! I know what you’re thinking and believe me, it really irks me too when people create stereotypes about Italians since I happen to be one of them, and one of the biggest stereotypes about Italians is that we always eat noodles! That, and how we supposedly put garlic in everything, which we don’t since we also like to kiss each other a lot! So we don’t put garlic in everything and we don’t always eat noodles like the Asians do. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, so I fell in love with David, and his dimples, and his hairless body, and his lack of driving skills, and his love of noodles, and since I couldn’t have some David Chang right away, I went for some noodles right away instead!
There’s only one place that I go to get my Asian noodle fix and that’s Bamboo Cafe in Simi Valley. Bamboo Cafe is a Vietnamese place that serves the absolute best Pho in the area! If you didn’t already know this, Pho happens to be a Vietnamese dish, not a Chinese dish like David Chang, but hey, who can ever tell ’em apart anyway? I get their chicken Pho, which is my personal favorite. It’s chock full of those wonderfully thin rice noodles that you can slurp up with this amazing broth! Actually, the broth is the best part because it’s got so much flavor and richness to it from the hours of simmering on the stove with goodies like star anise, rock sugar, fish sauce, cilantro stems, and bones!
Yes, I said bones. Where do you think they get the flavor from, ramen seasoning packets? They bring you a plate of fresh lime wedges, mint and sliced jalapeno peppers to add to your Pho and it gives the rich, golden broth a bright, freshness. You can also add bean sprouts to give a nice crunch and Sriracha chili sauce for extra heat. I like to add everything to mine if you haven’t already guessed. And get this: you can get three different sizes of the stuff; small, large, and The Challenge. The Challenge is their gimmick and I just love restaurants with a gimmick because it shows that they have a sense of humor, like to entertain their guests, and have devised a way to get more money out of their pockets. It’s a massive bowl of Pho consisting of one pound of cooked noodles, one pound of meat (your choice of chicken or beef) and ladlefuls of broth. If you can finish all of the noodles and meat in under an hour, then you don’t have to pay for it.
I never understood the attraction of making a pig of oneself to get a free meal but there are plenty of dumb people out there willing to do it! There are so many of them in fact, that they’ve dedicated an entire wall to post of photos of the people who have tried and conquered (or lost) the Challenge. So I was sitting there enjoying my noodles and noisily slurping and gulping and mumbling (since it’s considered a compliment to make as much noise as you can when you eat Asian noodle dishes since it’s a sign of enjoyment), and that’s why I couldn’t understand why, right in the middle of eating my noodles, they said that I didn’t have to pay my bill but that I needed to leave right away?
2792 Cochran Street
Simi Valley, CA