I used to work for a company that was owned by a reclusive jillionaire. My office was in Europe, but I maintained a household in the Chicago area that I would escape to on occasion. On one of those occasions, I got a call from a couple of my superiors at the company, direct connections to the recluse, and they asked me to meet them. I did. When I inquired why, they said the man owned Woodfield Shopping Center and had never seen it, so they were gonna go kick the tires and report back. At the time, Woodfield was the largest and finest mall in the country, and the centerpiece of Schaumburg, a Chicago suburb about ten miles west of O’Hare. Schaumburg exists primarily to house corporate headquarters, shopping and dining outlets. I’ve never actually met someone FROM there.
I digress. I was in Schaumburg, and feelin’ my combo urges of Asian and French, we headed for To Pho to satisfy my craving for a Bahn Mi, and Mrs Burgerdogboy’s favorite – pho. (Still don’t know how to pronounce that? it’s basically said “FAH.”)
It’s a small place in Schaumburg, where fancy pants restaurants lean towards places like Mortons and Ruths, and casual places are more along the lines of Hooters or Buffalo Wild Wings.
It was immaculate, and we were seated and waited on promptly. I opted for the special pork Bahn Mi, with pork roll, ham, and pork belly, dressed as per tradition with mayo, shredded carrot, cilantro, cucumber and daikon (Asian radish). The baguette used was spot on perfect, could have been from a street bakery in Paris. Flaky soft exterior, soft as butter in July inside.
Mrs. Burgerdogboy must have not been feeling rightly, as her usual tact is to cram as many calories into a meal as possible, so usually she would have gone with the pho that had beef and pork, and she would have ordered a double side of extra fat back. But she had the chicken. The broth is served with traditional accompaniments, including lime, sprouts, basil, and cilantro. In the broth with the rice noodles and chicken were green onions. She be a soup fiend! I have seen her take an entire week’s worth of groceries and make them into a single bowl. Truly a magic act (except for trying to figure out dinner for the balance of the week).
We had the spring rolls as a starter, shrimp and pork mixed with rice noodles and sprouts with a side of peanut sauce. The rice paper wrappers were clear and tightly wound.
This place is great. Ultra fresh, great value for the money. Plus if you buy four sammiches, you get one free! The restaurant is in a strip mall at 823 E. Algonquin Road in Schaumburg. Neighbors in the mall include a Chinese restaurant, liquor store, tarot reader and a Subway.
Here’s the full menu. And now, back to the new farm. I’ll start a new site / blog about that soon. I’m definitely old, and definitely not “McDonald.”
To Pho Review