On my whirlwind tour of ethic eating in the West side of Tampa Bay, building a website about Southeast Asia, my photo partner and I dropped into the Largo mall to pick up some cheap electronic parts from a chain no longer in business.  

TRIVIA:  Sayonara Radio Shack, actually it was long time coming, it was in the cards.   R AD I O  S H A C K.  If you remove the R, and space the “S and H” you get “Adios Hack”.   The term “hacker” in electronics means one who tinkers, it is not derogatory as in “hacking” in software.

We saw the sign for the Spot Pho two doors down. Nothing like mixing business with pleasure, and like moths to a candle, the other fast foodie places were exempted. We had eaten there once before the new ownership and the interim crew did a good job and the food was well made, presented, and fresh.  

Prior to that, this location had been unattainable by the previous owner as far as whats needed for quality, tradition and did not make it.  The new folks were doing Ok and the place was busy. The place is now related to the Ocean Blue in Clearwater and now the food should be top of the line and ten miles closer to me.

Ancient proverb:    😍 Good Food = Good Business   😤  Bad Food = Out of Business 

I had the grilled chicken "Bun Ga Nuong" and he had the "Buc luc Lac" I think. He is ethnically enhanced  and knows the turf. In most Vietnamese restaurants the food is divided into categories, like bowl based with noodles, plate based with rice and each has about six or eight variants depending on the combos you throw in with the mix. The most common is Beef Noodle soup or PHO topped off and combined with other ingredients 16 different ways. 

After you eat there the first time, ask for the menu, you can take it home and get more familiar with the variants. The girls, the servers are bi-lingual, adorable and friendly and they got the menu down pat. 

They have appetizers like Crab Ragoon, Chicken Wings, Tempura Shrimp and Dynamite Mussels. Then a myriad of combos to suit anyones flavoring. And no less than three kinds of egg rolls and spring rolls, two in dipping sauce worked for me. Beautifully made and served with dipping sauce.  

WORD OF CAUTION:  Many Vietnamese restaurants ( probably all) use peanuts in some of their dishes.  Peanut allergy is common in the western word (the nutritional doctors will tell us in some cases because we do not eat peanuts when young and thus do not build a tolerance)   I was happy when thee server asked If I had an allergy to peanuts.  That’s good training.

Don’t get too crazy with ordering food in ethnic places and asking for hot. 

In most Southeast Asia eating establishments, their version of hot will melt the paint off your car. There are plenty of accessories on the table to flavor your meal. 

Your favorites like Hoisin Sauce, Sriracha Sauce, the usuals like salt and pepper, rice vinegars , sugar and a jar of Thai chillies in paste form and they are painfully worse than raw habaneros. Some folks can handle it, I can’t and admit it.

And you will see a new term, "Dynamite Sauce", it does taste great on just about anything and I use it in my home for some dishes. Simply put, it is three ingredients, nothing more than 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 3 tbls. Sriracha sauce and 1 tbls. Masago smelt roe (You can make your own, the smelt roe can be bought at most Asian Markets). Especially popular in Vietnamese restaurants and commonly served with mussels in a tartare version appetizer. I make it for sandwiches... and occasionally as a shrimp dip for those who do not like my hotter cocktail version of Horseradish, Catsup, Worcestershire   and Crystal. 

Drinks galore, "Chanh Tuoi" which is Lemonade and "Nuoc Dua" which is Coconut water, and my partner ordered their version of expresso with coconut milk in a press. Almost anything domestic and a few unusual specialty drinks like BoBA’s which are smoothies served over ice with tapioca pearls in no less than 23 flavors.

The meal was good, the food filling, almost everything is a la carte, and our servers who remembered us from the last time were smiling and effervescent as usual.  Next time we'll film more dishes, one of the shots is going to become a mosaic in my kitchen. I will post it here.

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