It’s been a really long time since we paid a visit to Mignon Pho + Grill. I had heard of some new menu items, so we decided to go check it out again with some friends.

On the table, they advertised that they now offer Happy Buddha beer. I liked the bottle.

I was most curious about the new appetizer menu. They offered many appetizers I used to enjoy at Nam An before it went downhill.

Papaya Salad

Unripe papaya is mixed with chili oil, lime, fish sauce, and some other things. This salad had a good balance of sweet, acidity and heat. My one complaint was that the strands of papaya were very long, almost like noodles, making it a little difficult to eat.

Vietnamese Beef Carpaccio (Slices of rare beef, with fresh lime juice and herbs and spices)

This is a raw beef salad, with the fresh lime juice slightly cooking the thin slices of rare beef. While I was happy to see that the beef was still quite rare (sometimes it ends up getting completely cooked), this dish had too many onions and not enough spices. The beef tasted mainly of the raw onions.

Saigon Wings

The skin of the wings were quite crispy and had a sweet glaze. I wished the wings weren’t just sweet. I recall when I previously ate these, they have some other herbs and spices like lemongrass in the seasoning.

One of my goals during this pumpkin baking season is to try to improve upon some of my favorite recipes from last year. One of my favorite recipes last year were these soft and fluffy pumpkin spice bread rolls.

I decided to make a sweeter version by adding a hidden filling of Nutella. The bread itself isn’t very sweet, so the Nutella goes quite nicely with it. From the outside, these breads look like ordinary rolls so I love the Nutella surprise in the middle.

Moon Festival and mooncake eating ended about two weeks ago, but I didn’t get these mooncakes made in time. I still wanted to share my first attempt at traditional mooncakes though, along with step by step instructions and hopefully some of you may find it helpful for next year.

Traditional mooncakes are much easier to make than I thought. Unlike the snowskin mooncakes, it was actually easier to find the ingredients too. The dough is ready in a matter of minutes, you don’t even need a mixer. Then you put then together and they are ready to bake. I’m definitely going to make these again next year and give them out as gifts along with the snowskin mooncakes.