Monthly Archives: December 2009

Pho Cycle Café (Seattle, WA)


We first discovered Pho Cyclo Café’s delicious banh mi chay (tofu sandwich) in the Building 26 cafeteria. We had been to the Broadway restaurant before, but hadn’t noticed the banh mis on the menu (turns out they’re hidden away in a small corner). We had sampled their bun, lemongrass chicken, and a few other Vietnamese standards. Those were fine, but not particularly memorable. The tofu sandwich is a different matter. They’ve become a regular part of our weekend lunch rotation, especially now that they’ve closed their Building 26 counter to focus on their SoDo storefront.

We had 15 minutes in between a storage errand on First Hill and massages to grab lunch. We figured, let’s try and squeeze in a Pho Cyclo sandwich! They’re right across the street from Massage Envy, and the banh mi are light enough to avoid digestive discomfort during a massage.

The sandwiches are chock full of spicy green chilies, semi-firm marinated tofu, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, and tasty fish sauce. Pho Cyclo uses fresh, crusty baguettes, and you get all of this yumminess for only $3.25!

Enjoying a tofu sandwich in the car
Enjoying our tofu Banh Mi in the car

Pho Cyclo

Pho Cyclo Café
406 Broadway East
Seattle, WA 98102 
(206) 329-9256

Daily: 10:00AM-9:45PM (Lunch, Dinner)

Veena Stores (Bangalore, India)


A block from Sean and Archana’s place is a little South Indian food stall, Veena Idly.  Sean took us there on our first morning in Bangalore. I remember enjoying it, but my memories of that breakfast were quite hazy due to our exhausting travel day.

For some reason, we didn’t make it back to Veena until yesterday. I’m not sure why, as we talked about going a bunch. Maybe it’s the same reason that Floridians never use the pool in their backyard. One day while driving to work, we even ad-libbed a jingle for Veena. I think it went something like this (it changed a bit every time):

Veena Idly, for all your idly needs
Veena Idly, hooray for you and me
Veena Idly, for all your idly needs
I want some Veena Idly! (and vada too!)

However, we did have our final two Bangalore breakfasts at Veena, and they were fantastic. The menu is similar to many other south Indian breakfast stalls, but the execution was far above the competition. Someone said they have a special high-end idly steamer. I don’t know what it is, but I do know that I love it.

Idly/vada, the classic south Indian breakfast served with amazing coconut chutney

Chow chow bath. There are two sections, sweet and a savory. You are supposed to get a little of each part in each bite.

Veena Idly Archana and her idly vada


Veena Idly
No. 183, 15th Cross, Margosa Road
Malleshwaram, Bangalore, India 560 055
+91 23344838

Daily: Breakfast, Lunch

Error 1001. The specified service has been marked for deletion

Sometimes I think I should run a signspotting campaign for error messages. In this particular case, the error happens when trying to install or uninstall a Windows service.

Since there was nothing actionable in the error message (sigh), it was off to the web. On MSDN, the only “fix” was to reboot your machine. Boo. Fortunately after digging deeper it turns out that all you really need to do is close services.msc if it’s open.

Given that this is a fairly common situation for services development, hopefully this post will save a few reboots. And maybe the next version of Windows will say something to the effect of “service was unable to install/uninstall because services.msc is open, please close the control panel and retry your installation.”

Kaati Zone Express (Bangalore, India)


The full service Indian airlines (Jet, Kingfisher, Air India) have amazing food on all of their flights, no matter what the length. However, on the way back from Goa we flew on IndiGo (a budget carrier), where the food options are anemic.

We left Mandrem sated from a great breakfast, but after 2 hours from Mandrem to GOI, a lack of decent food options at GOI, and an hour flight to Bangalore we were famished. Since BLR is about an hour outside of town, we grabbed a “jumbo” chicken tikka roll outside of the terminal. It was surprisingly good! The chicken was decently spicy, the roti was fresh off the grill, and prices weren’t heavily airport-inflated.

I don’t know if I would choose Kaati Zone Express if I was in the city and had other options available to me, but If you arrive hungry to Bangalore airport, it’s a solid choice.


Kaati Zone Express
Bangalore International Airport
Devanahalli, Bangalore, India

La Plage (Aswem, India)


Before we left Bangalore, our friend Josh gave us a few Goa recommendations. He said:

Go to Mandrem. Stay at the Dunes. Have dinner next to the Dunes at a place called Well Garden that makes awesome wood-fired pizzas. Aswem, the next beach south, has a fancy European restaurant called La Plage. You can walk there or take a short cab ride.

OK, you could say that he planned most of our Goa trip for us. The first day on the beach, we tried to find La Plage for lunch. We walked down the beach for about a half-hour, fording a knee-high river formed by the tides and scrambling over rocks along the way. We asked a few people we passed, both tourists and touts, none of whom had heard of La Plage. Ultimately we turned back and had lunch in Mandrem. Our hosts at the Dunes told us that we had gone the right way, just not far enough. They said we would be able to see it from the beach and to just keep going.

The following day we left around 11AM for our lunchtime adventure. We passed the river, the rocks, and a long stretch of beautiful beach with nothing but sea creatures and waves to keep us company. Finally we spied a line of red beach chairs under the waving palm trees, and a little bit beyond them was an enormous sky-blue sign signaling that we had arrived at La Plage.

The food at La Plage is about 3 times the price of your average restaurant in Mandem (which puts the dishes at $4-$7), but it has the nicest atmosphere in town and delicious food. The two vegetarian dishes we had for lunch were fantastic. The chilled avocado soup would have made the grade in a top California restaurant, and their tomato tart was flaky, buttery goodness. The “grilled spicy chicken” just reminded me that I should stick to vegetables and seafood in this part of the world (though the accompanying green papaya and peanut salad was yummy).

The next day we went back for more, and discovered our two favorite dishes. The first was gnocchi with porcini mushrooms. The gnocchi were homemade, deliciously chewy, and topped with real parmesan cheese and a porcini mushroom sauce that was rich without being heavy-handed. The second was the “La Grande Salade de La Plage", which we had spied earlier on another table. It’s a collection of dips, cheese, and vegetables served with fresh baked bread.

We had a few more lunches there, and dinner with Sean and Freeman last night. Dinner was a bit of an adventure. Lauren and I again walked along the beach, but there were a few differences. It was dark, which we had planned for with our headlamps. However, when we got partway through the river crossing, we realized that the tides were much higher in the evening! Fortunately it was still warm enough out for our shorts to dry on the other half of our walk, and we joined Sean and Freeman for a dry cab ride home.

The other dinner hiccup was the food coursing. All of our dishes, from appetizers to main courses, arrived simultaneously. This meant that there was not enough room on the table for everything, and that much of the food got cold before it was eaten. The staff let us linger over cards for hours afterwards, but it was a shame to have such a rushed eating experience.

Overall the food at La Plage is delicious, especially the vegetarian dishes, and the lounge-y beach setting is paradise. If you’re in north Goa, it’s worth the journey (by cab or river crossing) to check it out!

Arriving at La Plage
The big blue sign beckons you from the beachfront to this oasis

Chilled avocado and apple soup
Chilled avocado and apple soup with lime leaves and pomegranate

Gnocci with porcini mushrooms
Gnocci in porcini mushroom sauce

La Grande Salade de La Plage
The famous Grande Salade de La Plage

Tomato tart
Tomato tart with basil and arugula

La Plage
Aswem, Goa, India
+91 982-212-1712

Daily: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner