Great News! Goes Out..... Saigon on Fifth
We all love Thai food and between the three of us we probably order from Tweety Thai next door to Great News! in Pacific Beach at least once a week. We decided to go an alternative route and tried some Vietnamese food. This month's restaurant of choice was Saigon on Fifth, in Hillcrest.
When you step inside you are consumed by the intoxicating smells and are transported to another world. The decor was warm and authentic with archways and statues. We were excited to take a look at the menu since some of us had never tasted Vietnamese cuisine.
Our first choice was the Crab and Asparagus Soup. This dish was well balanced in flavor and had just the right amount of crab. It was a nice surprise to see that it was also made with white asparagus since we were expecting green asparagus.
We then moved on to the Imperial Rolls. These crispy rolls are filled with fresh crab meat, shrimp, chicken and vegetables and were presented in a traditional way with Thai basil, bean sprouts, lettuce, and a ginger dipping sauce. We saw what other diners were doing so we followed by example and rolled our crispy fried rolls in the lettuce with all of the accompaniments. This was a unique way of eating a tasty roll. The fresh basil and ginger dipping sauce was delicious!
We had one more appetizer before moving on to the bigger items. The Sugar Cane Shrimp was prepared in such a way that we thought they delivered the wrong dish at first. The meat of the shrimp was ground and then wrapped around the sugar cane and grilled creating a different texture, but tasty none the less. They were also served with some of the same accompaniments and delicate rice paper to make fresh, to order rolls. This was a fun interactive part of the meal; we were having a great time. This innovative way of cooking the shrimp kept the meat moist and flavorful. We might have to try that one at home.
The two main dishes that we ordered were Saigon Fried Rice and Creamy Basil Fish. We had the option of Salmon or Sea Bass for the fish and chose the Sea Bass. The fish was pan grilled perfectly, leaving it moist and flaky. It was served in a creamy sauce with organic yellow curry powder, basil, and Vietnamese herbs. The sauce on this dish may have been the winner from the entire meal, you could literally eat it all alone with a spoon.
The Saigon Fried Rice was made with jasmine rice and was packed with flavor from the spices and herbs. We chose chicken for our protein but you can of course opt out for vegetarians. We definitely used all of the rice to absorb the creamy basil sauce from the fish. It was the perfect side to our light fish dish. We hope you all get a chance to try Saigon on Fifth.
This month we decided to treat ourselves to some dessert. We walked down the street to Baby Cakes to end on a sweet note. We thought we were going in for cupcakes and were surprised to see an entire bar and lounge area with a full menu. The lighting was dim and the music was great with a comfortable hip vibe. The three cupcakes that we got were Marble Monkey (banana and chocolate with cream cheese frosting, YUM), Chocolate Peanut Butter (the peanut butter frosting was whipped to perfection), Carrot Cake (most moist cupcake we have ever had). Some of the other cupcake options were, Blood Orange, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Lemon Bavarian, Marble Mint, Tres Leches, Red Velvet and many more. This would definitely be a place to take a date or some friends on any night of the week.