Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Boi Noodles

So once more I get to mention a lunch spot around my office. Seriously, the West 30s are really really good for cheap, tasty food.

I went to Boi Noodles about a week or so ago since I had a craving for some banh mi. I've had banh mi from a few different spots in my life, both in Chicago when I lived there and now also in New York. Overall Boi is pretty good. The best I've ever had is still in Chicago up near Argyle. I can't remember the name of the place, but I had a shrimp omelette banh mi that was simply unbelievable. Back to Boi, though...

The flavors of the meats are good. I've had their Banh Mi "Saigon" which is Jambon, VN Ham, BBQ Pork, and Pate and also their BBQ Pork in 6 spices. Both are very flavorful, and they put just the right amount of meat in to not overpower the sandwiches and also to make sure there is some meat in each bite. All of their sandwiches are also stacked with the standard Mayo, Cucumber, Cilantro, and Pickled Carrots and Daikon all on a toasted baguette. They also put sandwiches into a low-carb wrap if chosen, but seriously, anybody that knows me knows better than to waste my time suggesting that :)

Pictured here is the BBQ Pork in 6 spices.

Top view showing the pickled carrots and daikon

May not look like it, but there's a good amount of meat in there

The only issue I have with the sandwiches is the baguette. The really good banh mi I've had have all had really good bread. Those baguettes had a less toasted feel to them. The outer crust had a good stiffness but didn't flake or crunch off from over toasting, and the insides were nice and chewy. Boi Noodles' baguettes are a little over toasted so the crust leaves a lot of crumbs and can be a bit tough to bite into. The inner bread also isn't as chewy as I would prefer.

Overall, the sandwiches are tasty. Maybe some day I'll try their Pho, but it really hasn't been cold enough for that recently. Plus, for the price (currently $7.50 as of this posting) they're a great value for a solid lunch.


I don't watch many ads (and when they're on, I often tune out) so I didn't know Wendy's had new salads. Apparently I also missed all the blog posts about them.

Anyway, they have a few new salads including a spicy chicken caesar and a "baja" salad. I didn't pay much attention to the other 2 (?) because they weren't the types of salads I usually go for. The baja salad is basically the taco salad, version 2. Since I'm a fan of the taco salad, I figured I would try it. On a general salad note, I'm still waiting for them to bring back the southwest chicken caesar salad again. (Hint, hint Wendy's! It's been a few years since the encore!)

The baja salad has mixed greens, pico de gallo, cheese and guacamole. It comes with a small chili on the side to be put on top of the salad (just like the taco salad), tortilla strips (just like the taco salad) and a creamy dressing (which, just like the taco salad, I ignore). Reading some reviews of the salad while I was eating lunch, people keep calling it deceptively high in calories, but it's really not that bad if you don't use the dressing (I don't) and save the tortilla strips for a snack later (I do). Less calories than a Chipotle salad bowl.

The salad in its pico de gallo and guacamole glory.

And topped with chili.

The verdict? I liked the salad. The main differences between this and the original taco salad seem to be the greens (mixed greens better than iceberg), pico de gallo (instead of tomatoes, but not dramatically better), and guacamole (good, but not absolutely necessary - it doesn't "make" the salad). I would get it again. But I would really prefer to get the southwest chicken caesar back! I will always be on the lookout for that and my favorite - the wild mountain chicken sandwich. Please bring them back!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cool Breezes

Hello there, remember me?

It's been awhile. Things got really hectic. We threw our at-home wedding reception for over 350 people and the weeks leading up to that were incredibly busy. It was like a second (or third?) job. After the reception, I got sick for awhile (damn ear infections). But now I'm back and hopefully I can get back to my resolution to blog every day!

You might notice that I haven't talked about food yet. I wanted to clarify something that we might not have mentioned in the earlier posts. This blog isn't just about food even though "eats" is in title. We like to eat (hence the title) but we want to talk about all of our adventures on the blog, whether they involve food or not. Hopefully we'll have some exciting things to talk about in the coming weeks.

But for now, onto the food...

Today it was in the 60s. It felt like fall, my favorite season. It was cloudy, on and off raining (not my favorite weather). It rained so hard on my walk to work that my socks were soaked and my sneakers hadn't dried by lunchtime. The breeze was strong and cool. It felt like the middle of September, not August. By tonight, the rain was gone and we were just left with a light cool breeze. I love it.

But considering the 15-20 degree temperature drop, it felt like soup weather. I looked up Hale and Hearty's soups for the day and saw that they had clam chowder. Not the Manhattan kind, or the New England kind, but "Rhode Island" (the clear one). I knew this as Boston clam chowder in my college days at the dining hall, but either way - I wanted it.

You might have figured this out from the picture above, but I ended up getting a really late lunch. So they were sold out of the clam chowder. Sad day.

I briefly considered chicken couscous (it looked good) but decided on the turkey chili. It had a different texture than most chilis which are less broken up and more meaty and beany. (I think I'm just making up words now.) I'm not sure how to describe it, but this felt more like a sauce and a soup than a chili.

It comes over rice, so I decided to try it anyway. It had a nice flavor, but it was really subdued and mild. It was a little on the oily side, I learned, as I took off the cover to see all the oil on top. It was still a good soup, but not as good as some of the others I've had from H&H before.

To finish off the combo, I got a guacamole chicken wrap which also had tomatoes, onions and greens. It was fine. I like some of their other sandwiches better (especially the ones with basil), but it's always good to try something new.

I'll probably get something else (both soup & sandwich) next time I head over to H&H. These weren't bad, but I've definitely had others that I like better. Maybe they'll have wedding soup next time. I like their wedding soup. The weather forecasters claim it'll be back up to 88 degrees by the weekend. So it might be some time before I go back for more soup!

Hale and Hearty Soups has multiple locations in Manhattan. I usually head over to Rockefeller Center or Bryant Park. You can check their daily soup menus on their website.