this weekend i had the opportunity to try out a couple places that I had been meaning to check out for a while. Nhu Hoa - Laotian/vietnamese place on argyle and the thai menu at yum thai.
Friday, At Nhu Hoa we ordered solely off the laotian side of the menu and were very pleased. Papaya salad with beef jerky, spicy tofu laotian style, spicy squid, grilled pork and shrimp over rice, spring rolls, and for desert mung bean coconut sweetie (sic).
the flavors were really interesting, my wife wasn't all that excited going in saying she's had thai she'd had vietnamese this wasn't going to be all that different, but it was a little different in a way that was hard to put your finger on. Really the best dish we had was the tofu, there were even aspects of chinese food in it (black beans), The squid had little bits of something tart (fresh tamarind?) that also were interesting. The sweetie was like a liquid frozen mung bean custard. They have a huge menu and we are looking forward to sampling some of the others on there -anybody else have favorites? At the Parthenon, Rene g. mentioned that he thought it had gone downhill about three years ago - well i wish had eaten there then.
On Saturday the family had the pleasure of dining with rob/VI, Ms. VI and the delightful VIettes at Yum thai and finally getting a chance to eat off the thai menu. we had the mee krob that rob mentioned on his first vist, chicken satay for the kids, papaya salad (not veggie friendly-dried shrimps), tom yum vegetable, ground pork with basil, grilled pork on skewers, and a chicken in red curry without coconut milk. Everything was a notch or two spicier than when ordered off the normal menu (and also a little less sweet)Though it could still have been a little spicier for my tastes. the real standout and biggest difference from the normal menu for me was the ground pork dish. Normally I found the kra prao dishes a weakness at yum thai - arriving in a semi soupy sweetish cornstarch sauce. this one was dry with the basil really coming through and nice bits of spice. Rob was kind enough to let us take the leftovers of this one home. It didn't last out the night. I only wish that i could somehow get a translation of the thai menu to see what other wonders are on there and so we wouldn't be so dependent on the waitress. I am ataching a link to rob's earlier posting on yum thai.
Nhu Hoa Cafe
1020 W. Argyle St.
7748 Madison St.
Forest Park, IL