Hello from beautiful Toronto, Canada!
I'm up here for my association's big annual meeting. That means lots of hotel food, stale coffee, and bad convention center vendors. So what do I do when I have an evening off? Grab some awesome local cuisine of course!
My hotel happens to be in the "old Chinatown" area, so around the corner is every type of Asian cuisine. Yesterday I had some awesome Thai green curry (sorry, no pictures!) but tonight I had Vietnamese at Pho Orchid (124 Chestnut Street).
Now, I hate to say this, but I have not eaten a lot of Vietnamese food in my life. From what I've tried, I know how light and refreshing the food can be. After receiving a glass of water with orange slices, I ordered the grilled beef & spring roll "bun" vermicelli bowl. Oh my, this was the perfect meal after all of the heavy food I have been eating. A warm, crunchy spring roll was served along side thinly sliced meat (that almost melted in my mouth), and placed atop a bed of vermicelli rice noodles, crisp lettuce, peanuts, and a small bowl of fish sauce. I loved that the meat actually tasted grilled and not like it was stir-fried in oil. For a bit of extra flavor, fresh chopped mint was sprinkled on top which added a nice bright flavor to the dish.
The atmosphere of the restaurant was great too. Don't let the picture dissuade you (I happened to take the picture in between surges of customers) this place was both clean and classy. Usually with Asian restaurants you have to choose between clean/expensive or cheap/dirty, but how much was my awesome dinner with tax & tip? Ten dollars! Now granted, that's Canadian dollars, but the exchange rate isn't that big of a difference.