Pho Ban Mai

I got a tip from one of my readers, Sandy, that a new pho shop had opened up on Mira Mesa Blvd which was pretty promising. This of course meant only one thing. Another pho trip!

Baby bro never gets sick of pho, so he was eager to go. Pho Ban Mai is located in the same plaza as our beloved Filipino fast food joint Manila Fast Foods (though maybe not as beloved anymore as they’ve changed owners and the food hasn’t been very consistent).

When we stepped inside, I was immediately surprised by how nice everything looked. It didn’t just look like a new restaurant, but it looked more fancy than the typical casual pho joint. I actually had to double check to make sure I walked through the right door and didn’t mistakenly walk into the Thai restaurant next door, especially since the booths. menu and decor reminded me more of a Thai restaurant.

We were seated in one of the fancy looking oversized booths. Once seated, we were given a very large and heavy menu, complete with a hard cover. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the menu prices did not reflect the decor and were on par with other pho joints in the area.

One thing I did immediately notice was that Pho Ban Mai did not seem to be sticking to the universal numbering for beef pho options. I suddenly had a new number for my usual order.

Some other things I noticed about the menu was that they offered a lot more different spring roll dishes and also more dessert smoothie drink options.

Once we ordered, we were given a basket of clean utensils! Having just encountered fresh and clean utensils at Nam An, I was pleasantly surprised to see this practice at another pho place. This is one trend I hope continues with future pho places.

I don’t know why I was so thrilled by this, but the spoons even came with little dishes for the spoon to rest on.

I go through different obsessive buying phases. The current obsession is with cookbooks. One of the cookbooks I recently purchased was Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented.


After having such success with the Sweet and Salty Brownies, I wanted to know what other fabulous recipes Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito have come up with. After flipping through the book, I chose Mom’s Olive Oil Orange Bundt.

Recently, I was invited by a House of Blues representative to try out the revamped menu offered at Crossroads, the restaurant located as part of the House of Blues. The new menu is designed by celebrity Chef Aaron Sanchez (often seen as a judge on Food Network’s Chopped and is featured on several other tv shows). As an avid fan of Chopped, I was intrigued.

For those unfamiliar, House of Blues is a chain of night clubs and restaurants, offering both music concerts and dining.  Once we arrived, we were seated at a cozy table close to the bar, where I admired the decor.

For my appetizer I chose the wild mushroom flatbread ($12.99). The new menu offers three flatbread toppings and they all looked delicious. I had a hard time choosing before settling on mushroom.

I loved this. The flatbread was thin and crispy. The toppings were flavorful. I would definitely order this again and would like to try the other topping options. It was quite large too. Easily enough for a meal.