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Frequently referred to as “that other pho spot on Ossington” by Torontonians, Pho Tien Thanh holds its own in a city where pho shops are a hot commodity. As most pho places are wont to operate, the food arrives quickly and piping hot, all to the ambient background sounds of slurping and sipping with minimal chatter to be heard. As per norm, cash only.
This place has so much hype it’s ridiculous. Everyone that I’d spoken to in Toronto had already been to Banh Mi Boys and every single person raved about it. When talking about it in groups, people nodded knowingly to each other and proceeded to discuss their favourite sandwiches and sides… for minutes on end. Having had a relatively consistent reign over UrbanSpoon Toronto’s “Talk of the Town” since last year, I made it a point to check the place out this time around.
There is just something about pho that brings people together. This is especially true on cold, frigid days like the ones we’ve been having here in Montreal lately. -20 and -30 degree weather? Yikes. A bowl of tasty, warm soup and noodles warms you up like nothing else. Looking for just that effect, we headed to Pho Bang New York in Chinatown for some of the good stuff.
One of my favorite spots to go to for a quick and easy lunch is the Vietnamese Hoai Huong, located a block away from the Cote-St-Catherine metro station. We sat on the terrace out front which was quite roomy and equipped with sun umbrellas so those who don’t like to endure the heat can eat in comfort. I had the “pink Vietnamese drink with coconut milk” which was exactly that- the pink color comes from the red jelly at the bottom which was chewy and a little sweet. Great chiller for summer weather.
Everyone appreciates good food. When it’s cheap too, it’s a pleasant bonus – this unbeatable combination usually makes the place an instant favorite or a go-to spot. Dépanneur Le Pick Up is one of such places. Serving a number of different clubs and sandwiches for lunch – the pulled pork is notably their most famous item – Le Pick Up exudes a very friendly and very casual vibe because if you were wondering, the restaurant really is located inside a dépanneur so after your meal you can conveniently pick up a few things for the kitchen if you wish. Unfortunately the pulled pork was all out by the time we got there, so we got the club chipotle and the vegetarian Vietnamese sandwich. The chicken in the club was tender, juicy and delicious and the smoked Mexican mayo contributed a nice spicy kick to the overall flavor. The Vietnamese was quite spicy in its own right, being peppered with hot red ones throughout. Everything disappeared faster than you could say “Dépanneur Le Pick Up” – a foretelling sign that we’ll be back in no time.