On Saturday we had lunch at PhoNatic, a Vietnamese cafe. We started out with a couple of appetizers. The veggie eggrolls with sweet chili dipping sauce were deep-fried perfection. I could have made a meal out of them.
The crispy salt and pepper tofu had a nice texture, but could have benefited from a dipping sauce. I dipped it in the sauce that came with the eggrolls.
You'll find a multitude of pho cafes in North Austin but, as far as I know, PhoNatic is the only one that offers a vegan pho -- the Pho Chay.
I'm really pleased that there is a non-meat option. However, the broth was lacking the complex depth of flavor one looks for in pho broth. I use anise, ginger, and other spices to attain that rich flavor when I make pho at home. PhoNatic's version basically tasted like vegetable broth with a little sriracha stirred in.
It was fun to use the little plate of add-ins that was served with the soup -- basil, lime, sliced jalapeno, and sprouts. There's also a self-serve fixins bar where you can grab additional toppings such as scallions, cilantro, soy sauce, and plum sauce.
After lunch, Tony took the Jackson and Olivia to run some errands, giving me a couple hours of precious me-time. That evening, to repay the favor, I took the kids for ice cream so Tony could watch football in peace. We headed to Sweet Ritual, the awesome little vegan ice cream parlor.
The kids had vanilla cones with gummy bears.
I had a butterscotch shake. I love butterscotch! The shake was perfectly blended and delicious, with a caramel, almost coffee flavor to it.
First they gave me a makeover. Now, face masks! Exfoliation is so important.