Sunday, December 4, 2011

TAKE A BAO Studio City

I know I've mentioned it a number of times over the last few months (sorry to those who are tired of hearing it) BUT today the reality has finally set in. Be it the baby furniture that's arrived and masterfully assembled by my husband, or the fact that my belly has popped enough causing me to waddle a bit. Somehow the fact that we are having a 3rd suddenly seems all to real. We even took a trip to the baby store today and purchased a stroller and an infant car seat. Now that's reality!

So all this "reality and acceptance" that in less then 9 weeks, we'll be starting all over with the sleepless nights, feeding etc. (my kids are 7 and 5 after all so it does feel like starting from scratch) is pushing Doran and I to try and spend as many alone moments as we can. Even if it means shopping for baby strollers and bedding and grabbing a quick lunch. Which is exactly what we did today while my mom hung out with Ben and Lia.

Since we were short on time, we quickly did the baby store run, purchased a few things and decided to try this new local joint for a quick lunch bite. Having opened just about a month ago smack on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, TAKE A BAO makes its presence known with its architecturally sleek exterior. Nestled between local sushi joints and a number of other trendy eateries, it is not to be missed. The comfortably modern interior with attention to every detail, down to the filtered water station courtesy of a hip looking sink complete with plenty of glasses to fill adds to the perfect casual dining experience. Its also a nice touch considering you may need to cool your palate often if you're anything like us and add spicy sauce to everything you order.

TAKE A BAO, calls their food "A modern take on Asian cuisine, drawing on inspiration from dishes all across Asia". I called their food simply yum! The menu has quite a bit to offer, including eight BAO to choose from, a number of small bites, fresh salads, rice bowls and soups. They even have what looked like a full bar, the counter of which was filled with fresh herbs and citrus fruits to compliment what I am sure are drinks as flavourful as their food! I can't wait to try some of those after the baby comes.
Our BAO's
It seemed only right that for our first visit there we try the BAO's. An Asian inspired steamed bun of sorts, thicker then a pita and served warm, folded over and filled with all sorts of goodies. It ended up being a surprisingly tasty little pocket of flavor, which we both loved! We chose the FRIED CHICKEN & SLAW BAO with crispy chicken breast, tamarind bbq sauce and Asian vegetable slaw and the BANH MI with grilled pork loin, paté, house made pickled vegetables, diced chilies, cilantro, garlic aioli.

The chicken was my favorite, and I had to stop myself from ordering another one as we still had the VEGETARIAN TOM YOM SOUP coming. Wow, this was a colorful, aromatic bowl filled with silken tofu, rice cakes, bamboo shoots, shiitakes, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, water chestnuts and toasted garlic. A little sweet, a little tart and just spicy enough to sooth your soul. I am glad I held off on ordering the extra BAO as the soup really hit the spot.

Vegetarian Tom Yom
I am very excited to go back to this restaurant or even order for pick up. There were a number of drule inducing dishes I eyed with envy from fellow lunch goers seated at communal tables near by. I am guessing that the LEMONGRASS CARAMEL CHICKEN WINGS and the SUMAC STEAK FRIES are a hit, as every other person seemed to be eating them. But more then anything I am excited at the prospect of having a new restaurant that offers plenty of healthy, vegetarian options for my post baby journey of getting my body back! I may be back soon for the wings and the fries, but come February I'll need plenty of flavourful options to get back in shape. Nice to know there will be place like TAKE A BAO where I can turn to the Veggie Tom Yom and not feel deprived!