I’ve been cooking for myself quite a bit lately, which has been great (and I have a list of posts to catch up on writing…), but what I’ve been craving lately is to go out to lunch. Lunch is great – casual, quick, more inexpensive than dinner, and, particularly on weekdays, lunch specials!
Yesterday (Friday) I went to Miss Saigon in Amherst, MA. The inside has a casual, yet clean feel and was about half-full at 12:30pm. The diners were either alone on a lunch break or in pairs. From the moment we sat down, we could smell a wonderful combination of seasonings and meats from both the kitchen and other tables. Everything on our table, including the twenty or so reusable chopsticks in a container next to the sauces, was clean and organized nicely. I would have felt more comfortable using chopsticks for my meal (they were the thick, reusable wooden type) had I been given a single pair when I was seated with the napkin, fork, and knife, instead of picking a pair out of the container. Really, though, this is a minor problem.
I ordered the ‘eggplant and tofu’ lunch special that came with soup, a spring roll, and white rice. The soup consisted of a mild broth (probably a light chicken stock) with cubes of tofu and tomatoes, along with green onions and cilantro. The tomatoes had a unique flavor – sweet from being cooked, but also sour once bitten into. Similar to how miso soup is fresh, yet soothing, it was perfect for the cold day.
The spring roll was fine – nothing exceptional, but consistent with basic fried-spring roll expectations. I’ve had better, but it was a nice snack to have after the soup.
My main dish was satisfying. I appreciated the variety of vegetables (and all were properly cooked – none were too soft) and the fried eggplant and tofu pieces were both very flavorful. The eggplant was a bit too greasy for my liking, but because the rest of the dish was so light, it almost balanced out.
Soup with tofu and vegetables
Eggplant and Tofu
I drank water with my meal and didn’t order dessert (although they do have a great variety – I’m looking forward to returning), so the bill for the Eggplant and Tofu lunch special (that came with soup, spring roll, and white rice) was $7. Definitely a good, quick meal on a small budget! ALSO, I need to try both pho noodle soup and banh mi (a sandwich I learned about in this New York Times article, back in April 2009), so I will definitely go again soon.