Sunday, March 25, 2007

Noodles Ranch / Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen

Not much new happening. We hit a couple of our reliable spots this weekend. Tara was in the mood for "gross Chinese food". Unfortunately, I don't know any such places. She did suggest that any Asian would do, so we choose Noodles Ranch at Scottsdale and Thomas. It's one of my favorite Vietnamese spots in Phoenix and the only one Tara dares go to. They are very clean and the interior is nice and bright. The food is always great. We ordered both spring and egg rolls, I got the bun Hanoi and she got a beef stir-fry of some type. The spring rolls came three to an order and were freshly rolled, with pork and shrimp. I loved them. The peanut sauce was good as well. Tara isn't keen on fresh mint, so she picked it out before eating it. The egg rolls also came as a threesome with nuac mum. They were fried perfectly. The interior contained the usual pork with carrots and other veggies mixed in. I love Vietnamese egg rolls done right. They still aren't quite as good as the homemade ones one of my friends' parents made once, but still right up there. My bun had grilled pork and meatballs over the noodles, with some cucumbers, pickled carrots, and bean sprouts for good measure. I like mine in a big bowl and pour the sauce over it. The meats were cooked just right today. The total came to around $30 before tax with a couple drinks. It's a bit more expensive that the usual Vietnamese restaurants, but the quality and service more than makes up for it.
For dinner, we went to Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen on Camelback. A friend of Tara's is working there again and Tara told her we'd come down for dinner. We got there at 8:30pm or so, and they were packed. A live musician was playing in the main dining room. Tara's friend was bartending, so we sat at the far end of the bar. Tara had the pork chop that was the nightly special and I had Serena's Combo, which is a bowl of gumbo and a bowl of jambalaya. Each came with a salad. The pork chop ended up being a huge, two-inch thick monster. She loved it, but didn't come close to finishing. I polished off my gumbo and part of the jambalaya. It seemed spicier than usual, but it was still good. We tried the bread pudding for dessert. Neither of us had had it before. It was good, but we ended up being way too full to finish.
Both restaurants well worth hunting down. Baby Kay's has nightly specials. The seafood enchiladas on Tuesday are awesome. My team lead at work always gets them when he's in town from Cali. The Wednesday ribs are good as well, but since we're in crawfish season, they have boils through May I believe. One of the desserts is a huge sundae with a Jack Daniel's sauce over butter pecan ice cream. That's worth the trip all by itself.
Noodles' menu is smaller than most Vietnamese restaurants, but it's all good. I also like Da Vang on 19th Ave south of Camelback, but the neighborhood and decor kinda scare Tara. I still miss my Dallas favorites, but these are pretty good replacements.

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