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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

So Ba Vietnamese Restaurant (East Atlanta)

Toddler Foodie Rating:  4 out of 5 Gummy Bears

:) = Great location in town, right near the heart of East Atlanta Village.  Super chill and laid-back atmosphere and staff.  High chairs.  Awesome large, screened in patio that's perfect for meals with messy toddlers.  Menu offering just the right amount of Vietnamese staples that would satisfy any basic Vietnamese food cravings, including authentic-tasting pho served in three different sized bowls (small, medium, or large) and numbered just like you're on BuHi - because it ain't real pho if you can't order it using a number, a letter, or both. 

:( = This Vietnamese food is much pricier than what you'll find on Buford Highway or outside the perimeter.  Also, when evening falls, they put candles on the tables.  Be prepared to do some damage control.  And there's no dessert menu.   

Notes:  According to Mommy and Daddy, So Ba has an inventive cocktail menu that includes a delicious Ginger Lime Margarita and tequila-based Jackfruit Martini garnished with fresh jackfruit slices.  (We don't know what all this means, but we're just passing the word along because Mommy told us to.)

"You need to prepare your chopsticks before digging into a big bowl of pho.  Watch and learn."
Okay, it's true.  We are half-Vietnamese, and we really do have random cravings for pho (traditional Vietnamese noodle soup).  One evening a massive craving hit us right when we were in Downtown Atlanta during the city's peak rush hour period.  The craving hit Mommy, too - and she panicked.  It would have taken us 45 minutes or more to get to Doraville or Duluth where some of Atlanta's best pho restaurants are located.  So what did she do?  She turned the car east and headed to So Ba, a Vietnamese restaurant in East Atlanta Village.  So Ba is one of 4 Vietnamese restaurants that's actually in Atlanta proper (one of the others being Le Fat, which we reviewed a few weeks ago), and it's been a popular spot for ITP devotees since it opened.

Our cousin, Junior Foodie MJ, met us in East Atlanta Village, and we all arrived at So Ba around 6:15 PM to find it quite empty.  We headed straight for the patio.  So Ba's patio is perfect for toddler hangout time:  spacious and screened, with a huge colorful mural on the wall.  Our server came by right away with water in to-go cups with lids, and Mommy went right ahead and ordered some appetizers:  Goi Cuon Thit Nuong (rice paper wrapped spring rolls filled with charbroiled pork, fresh lettuce, and vermicelli) and Dau Hu Rang Mui (salt and pepper fried tofu tossed with sautéed onions and peppers).  The tofu was a little bit spicy, but Mommy loved it.  She went on and on about how it wasn't soggy or too salty.
"Check out my double spring roll move!"
We sort of glossed over the appetizer portion of our meal, though, because our mission at So Ba was pretty singular:  we wanted PHO.  Mommy ordered a medium bowl of Pho Dac Biet (a/k/a #14) to share with us.  "Dac Biet" means "special" in Vietnamese, and pho dac biet is a very traditional version of pho that includes multiple cow parts:  eye round steak, brisket, flank, soft tendon, and tripe.  When we order pho, we normally get the dac biet version because it has such rich flavor.  We like to load up our pho dac biet with freshly squeezed lime juice, a little basil, just a couple of bean sprouts, and a healthy dose of hoisin sauce.  (Mommy and Daddy add sriracha after doling out our portions.)  When you combine all these distinct flavors together, you get the yummiest tasting soup ever, in our humble opinions.  Couple that delicious soup with chewy rice noodles and tender cuts of meat, and bam!  Foodie heaven.  So Ba's pho was no exception.  It totally satisfied our cravings. 

"Bottoms up, guys!"
So Ba doesn't offer dessert, so Mommy let us take a detour to Morelli's Ice Cream, which is a five minute drive from East Atlanta Village.  We tried the banana chip ice cream, and Junior Foodie MJ had the lemon sorbet.  We have no complaints about the ice cream - it was natural-tasting and divine, and Morelli's offers some really creative flavors.  We definitely recommend stopping there after a trip to So Ba.  It will make your pho experience even sweeter.

"Let's make a deal:  I'll trade you one bite of my banana chip for one bite of your lemon sorbet."
Well, that's all for now, friends!  We'll be back next week with more eating adventures.  Our web designer told us to limit our blogging to one post per week until our new website launches; and he's friends with Mommy, so we probably have to listen to him.  But we can't wait to share our new site with you - it's going to be pho-nomenal!


15 days to go!



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