“Let’s go for a review and we’ll have a business meeting,” Bill said. He may be my husband for 18 years, but he’s also a great business consultant, especially when I feel like I’m at a crossroads like I am now with Feasting Fort Collins. He often puts on his “consultant tie” when I need some not-husbandly advice.
With spreadsheets and notebooks in hand we went to Pho Little Saigon Noodle House – formerly Little Saigon Cafe. They rebranded in September with all of the construction in that shopping center with Trader Joe’s and Sierra Trading Post. Although they still have some things to replace with the new name.
We sat at a booth and looked over a fairly standard Vietnamese menu with all of the Pho essentials. Although, one thing stood out and caught my eye. In all my years of reviewing restaurants and enjoying Vietnamese cuisine in Fort Collins (or what options we have), I had never noticed Vietnamese crepes offered anywhere else before. They’re made with rice flour that’s pan-fried with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and green onion, then served with green leaf lettuce, basil, mint, and a homemade sauce (like a simple egg roll sauce).
I’ve never had it? Of course we’re ordering it! And it was delicious.
Taking bits of crepe and wrapping them in the green leaf lettuce with a mix of basil leaves, we dipped each pretty-much-Asian-lettuce-wrap-at-this-point in the sweet light sauce, amazed at how tasty this dish was. Bill, being the picker between us was ALL about this appetizer. It was savory with that delectable pan-fried crispness, yet still light being wrapped in greens. You have the option to just eat the crepe without the accoutrements. But suck it up and eat your vegetables. The Thai basil adds so much flavor.
We chatted about Feasting Fort Collins… “Where do we go from here? Do I keep writing? Do I find another writer to take over again? We have a handful of businesses interested in some collaboration projects, so we can’t give up, can we?” We scribbled out notes and thoughts, lining out a revised business plan.
Next up was Pho. This is one of my death bed meals. Actually, I hope I’m lucky enough to enjoy a feast before I kick the bucket. One of the most impactful stories a friend shared on her facebook page last year was of her grandfather’s final moments at home surrounded by family. He had a Manhattan cocktail and they all raised their glasses and gave him a cheers as he sipped and passed on. I still get a lump in my throat when I think about it; and it wasn’t like I knew the man or family with the exception of my friend. She probably has no idea how much that story moved me. But god damn, that is my dying wish. And if I am in a state where I can, a bowl of Pho will be on the menu.
The Pho at Pho Little Saigon is not the best Pho I’ve ever had in my life. The meat is quite good (I had lean steak and brisket), although the broth is exceptionally light. I almost never feel the need to squirt sriracha in for a boost of flavor. However, I did this time. BUT! That’s not to say it was bad at all. Far, far from it. In fact, it is one of the better bowls served in Fort Collins. It just highlights where our Pho level is in Fort Collins for those Pho fanatics. I’ve had amazing Pho in the most authentic places (in Vegas, no less) and in the most hipster places in San Diego. So I know my Pho. There are only a few Vietnamese restaurants that I’ve yet to visit in Fort Collins, and I can certainly say this is the best I’ve had in our city. And? Service here is MILES better than all of the other Pho restaurants in Fort Collins.
One thing I really love about their Pho menu is how it’s organized. They have dishes separated into beginner and regular, with very clear photos and communication on what you’ll get when you order. This makes Pho approachable for the uninitiated. The restaurant marketing side of me was thrilled to see that. Props to the person that designed their menu!
We wrapped up our business meeting dinner date with full, happy stomachs, and a note that this place is on our comfort food list in the future.
I returned for lunch with Jenny Bond, one of the very long-time advertisers on Feasting Fort Collins as Nancy Bond Insurance and my trusty hiking partner on Fresh Air Fort Collins (she advertises on there too). I gave her the rundown of what happened with the switch and where we’re thinking of going with the network. She’s always a great sounding board on our review dates and hikes, and as an advertiser for so long, it’s great to get her thoughts on all of this too.
While she ordered the Pho, I couldn’t pass on the Banh Mi, which interestingly enough, is on their appetizer menu. You have a choice of grilled pork, BBQ pork, grilled chicken or a combination. The toasted crispy bread is topped with your choice of meats, homemade mayo then garnished with cucumber pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeno, and cilantro. Order the traditional – loaded up with everything and a combination of the meats. Pack your Banh Mi with some authentic flavor. It’s better that way.
I also ordered a Boba Smoothie. They have a really great variety of flavors including taro, durian, and green tea. I opted to go with avocado; something you can find on every corner in Indonesia (as an Instagram follower remarked), but not so much here in FoCo!
The Banh Mi was fabulous. It was just the right size for a light lunch – fresh and satisfying with an alluring fermented tang balanced by their awesome mayo. It was cheap too! We see food costs consistently rising in Fort Collins and it’s hard to find a lunch under $10. This Banh Mi was $5.50. NO JOKE. Worth it!
The avocado boba was really subtle. It had a lovely creamy texture with a richer earthy, but slightly sweet taste. I highly suggest trying it out for yourself.
Pho Little Saigon Noodle House was an absolute delight with meals that were just so comforting. It’s a Vietnamese gem here in Fort Collins. While taking over Feasting Fort Collins again has felt like putting on those old worn-in pair of jeans, even though I’m not sure I want to put them on, I couldn’t have picked a better place to sort out the future of my work and this site with a death bed meal dish.
Pho Little Saigon Noodle House
3500 South College, Unit 14
no website, but they are on Facebook
Kid-Friendly? Yes! They have kids Pho meal on the menu!
Parking: Shared parking Lot
Healthy Options? Too many to list! You’ll find something for every dietary restriction here.
Budget-Friendly? They are surprisingly affordable. One of the cheapest full-services restaurants, actually
Recent Health Inspection: No Rating