Category Archives: Vietnamese

Cali Pho Nia

Day 314 = January 10, 2011

Some mornings Simon wakes up too early so that I don’t have enough time to prepare his breakfast so I take his high chair into the kitchen with me and make his breakfast and feed him and also make my lunch and pack his food for the day. He seemed happy to spend time with me this morning.

On his way to daycare on this chilly morning. He will soon outgrow this hat!

We were going to pick up Simon from daycare but he was taking a nap so we ended up having dinner beforehand at Cali Pho Nia. They get 1 star for a creative name but lose stars in the service department. We were the only patrons yet we felt like we were being rushed to order and rushed out. We’re not sure if the waitress thought she was being helpful but instead came off as pushy. The best thing about the meal were the lemon grass french fries. The batter they use on the fries has visible pieces of lemon grass and it’s served with a spicy aioli sauce.

I had the vermicelli platter and overall it was pretty tasty except maybe a bit oily and probably should have been served in a bowl, rather than a plate. But for some reason, maybe an hour later, I was extremely exhausted and wanted to sleep. Maybe it has too much MSG? Ron felt the same way after eating his rice plate.

Ron’s rice plate.

I also tried their three color drink which was a bit weird. It tasted like they used whole milk or a mixture of cow’s milk and coconut milk. I ended up taking it to go because I felt really full from the vermicelli.

So I’m not sure how the pho is but I think they only thing I’d eat again are the lemon grass french fries. I’d be a little afraid of eating the other dishes again if it made both of us so tired. Since Simon had a nap, he was wide awake and ready to play when we got home… and we were exhausted… but we did our best to keep him entertained. Simon has started to kneel and play with his toys, rather than sitting. His balance seems to be getting better everyday.

His dexterity is also improving. Now he seems to have no problem taking snacks out of his snack cup.

So many little changes everyday…

Pho Garden Challenge

Day 176

*nom nom* Simon has learned to grab his toys with both hands so he can bring his toy straight into his mouth.

Simon went with Ron to Chinatown.

Ron tried out Simon’s regular sized stroller without the car seat so that Simon could face forward. He seemed to enjoy it. At least he was relaxed enough to fall asleep.

For dinner this evening, we went to Pho Garden, home of the pho challenge. It was my co-worker’s last day with us so we went to commemorate the day by having a fun dinner out. We were hoping that one of the guys would try the pho challenge but they all wimped out! Well, everyone wanted to get an individual bowl and enjoy their pho, not overstuff themselves… so instead, we got the super pho to share between 3 girls.

It was impressive as it was brought to us.

2 lbs of noodles, 2 lbs of combination beef. The bowl is $25 to share but you don’t get to keep it if you finish it. (The challenge is $22 and you get to keep the bowl if you finish.)

We asked the waitress if we could borrow a bowl for a photo. She said the bowls cost $85! So we were careful not to break it.

I hope next time we go, someone will try the challenge. It was a lot of food and we almost finished… three girls plus Ron had some and Patsy’s husband also had some. Good thing their pho is really tasty.

Pooped after a long day:

Update on poop:
So I think prunes really work. Simon needed a diaper change early this morning. He started fussing and Ron went to check on him and said Simon was stinky. Simon had quietly had a bowel movement sometime in the early morning. Then, he also had another dirty diaper during the day. So his system must be clear now and now we know what to do if he hasn’t pooped for a few days.

Bundled Up and Breastfeeding Issues

Day 51

It was a chilly night and morning so we had to bundle Simon up.  His legs and arms were getting cold to the touch.  He’s “wearing” his Halo Sleep Sack and a fuzzy blue sweater.


I’ve been noticing this week that Simon’s eyelashes seem to be getting longer and eyebrows darker.  I was expecting him to have beautiful eyelashes when he was born since I notice that boys generally have longer, fuller eyelashes than girls.  I guess it just took some time for them to grow.  His baby acne is a lot better now, he has occasional flares but they resolve quickly.


As the weather got better in the afternoon, we went to run an errand and have lunch.  Our errand was to visit the Kaiser SF Lactation Center to get some advice and buy some spare parts.  Quite suddenly, my milk production seemed to have reduced by 50-75%.  I started to notice it Tuesday when I pumped after Simon finished a feeding and it would only result in 1-2 oz when usually it is much more.  I didn’t think much of it since Simon seemed satisfied so I figured it was Simon just drinking more.  But then on Wednesday morning, after I woke up from sleeping 4 to 5 hours, not breastfeeding and not pumping, I was only able to pump 2 oz when I know I usually can pump 8 oz and my breasts did not feel very full.  So then I really started to get worried.  I looked up on the internet what I should do in order to get my milk supply back up as I was afraid Simon wasn’t getting enough to eat.  There’s a lot of information out there so I decided to try these few things:

1.  A bowl of regular oatmeal (not instant) daily is supposed to boost up milk production

2.  Pumping after each feeding to help to stimulate your body to produce more by making it think baby needs more

3.  Drinking more water

4.  Exclusively breast feeding, no more supplementing the night with frozen breast milk.  Ron usually feeds Simon at night so that I can get some rest but did not do this for Wednesday night; reminded me of when Simon first came home, being up every 1-2 hours to breastfeed.

I noticed this morning that it seemed to be helping.  Even though every hour or every 2 hour pumping is a pain, it seems as if I am producing more.  But I still wanted some advice and I needed some parts of my Ameda pump.  I have two pumps, the Ameda is a hospital grade pump which my dad gave me.  His pharmacy used to rent them but got out of the business but kept this one for me.  I also have a Medela Pump in Style portable pump which I plan to use when I go back to work.  When I was in the hospital, I used a Medela hospital pump and they let me keep the parts which actually fit on my Ameda pump.  Unfortunately, the barrier-filter part got clogged so I stopped using the Ameda pump about a week ago and switched to using the portable Medela.  So after much research, I finally found that Kaiser SF’s lactation center sells the dual pumping kit for the Ameda pump so I could pick it up right away rather than ordering it.

My Ameda pump, I believe the model is Ameda SMB.  It may look clunky but works fantastic.


So when I stopped by, one of the lactation consultants helped me out and listened to my situation and basically confirmed what I thought was the cause of my decreased milk production.  I went to the spa on Sunday and was gone for most of the late morning and afternoon.  I only pumped twice while I was gone and only breastfed once in the morning and then again at 6pm.  On Monday, I only breastfed until 1pm then was out all afternoon and evening and  I only pumped once while out and also didn’t breastfeed again until almost 9pm.   So basically, no demand = no supply.  The lactation consultant said I was doing all the right things for now and recommended Herb Lore Nursing Tea.  You brew a big pot and basically drink it whenever you nurse.  The tea contains fennel seed, Goat’s Rue and Red Raspberry Leaf which help to boost milk production.  Also nettle leaf and alfalfa which is for vitamins and minerals.  Lastly chamomile for relaxation (among other effects) because when you are stressed, the milk won’t come either.  So I have been drinking it all day today; effects should be noticeable within 12-24 hours.  Let’s hope so.


For all those future mothers out there, don’t be careless like me if you want to be able to breastfeed for a full year!  Even if you take time out for yourself, be sure to make time to pump and if your baby is with you, let him or her nurse, don’t depend on a bottle.  Or else you might end up stressing out like me.

After visiting the lactation center, I felt a lot better so we headed off to lunch at Pho Garden.  We had been there previously and enjoyed their pho.  They are home of the Pho Challenge and now they give you a souvenir bowl if you complete the challenge: 1 hour to eat 2 lbs noodles, 2 lbs meat plus soup = 22 lbs.  If you don’t complete it, you get a t-shirt.  Not bad either way considering it is only $22 to compete.  We ordered our regular sized pho and I also enjoyed a delicious three color drink.

Three Color Drink at Pho Garden

Keeping my fingers crossed that my milk will come back in full-force!

Speaking of fingers, today’s milestone, Simon grabbed onto Ron’s finger and actually held on!  He’s been doing it off-and-on this evening and even tugged at my finger.  He seems like he’s figuring out his hands as he is now hitting the toys that hang from his playmat.  So cute 🙂

Lunch in Union Square

Day 36

We had been cooped up in the house for a few days so decided to go out for lunch.  I just did a generic search on Yelp for restaurants in our area and came across this place called Cafe Dolci that serves Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi).  We decided to walk there and pick up sandwiches and walk back to Union Square to eat.  The place is really just a little hole in the wall, there is no seating inside and after you order, you basically have to wait outside since there is no standing room in the little store.  But they do take phone and fax orders so that probably helps out the people who work in the area.

I decided to try the BBQ Bacon Vietnamese Sandwich and made it a meal for $6.50 (includes bag of chips and can of soda).  This sign was in their store window, this would probably draw most people’s attention… aren’t most things better with bacon?


The BBQ Bacon is actually like the BBQ fatty pork that you find in most Vietnamese sandwiches, it’s red colored and very fatty.  It was full of yummy veggies except it wasn’t spicy enough, needed more jalapenos.


Ron ordered the meatball sandwich; chicken meatballs according to the guy behind the counter.  Ron was missing the spice too.  If we go back, we’d ask for extra jalapenos.


Simon was a bit cranky before leaving for lunch but he was rocked to sleep in the stroller so had his nap while we had our lunch in Union Square.


We went to a Starbucks to have some coffee and do some reading but Simon started to fuss after a while and wanted to go home.  Our life is being dictated by a baby… I hope he doesn’t get too used to that as he grows up 😛  I hope we haven’t spoiled him too much already…

Cafe Dolci
740 Market St

Simon Day 19 – Pho Tan Hoa and Sunbathing in Union Square

Ron and I took Simon for a walk around our neighborhood. We went for lunch at Pho Tan Hoa, my first bowl of pho since Simon was born. Yay for me!

It was yummy since I hadn’t had a bowl in a while but it seemed a bit expensive. For two bowls of pho (one small and one medium bowl) and one iced coffee with condensed milk was $19.95. I was full when we left so the portion size is good. But $8 for a bowl of pho and even their spring roll appetizer (4 pieces) was $8 (so we didn’t order them) seems a bit pricey.

After lunch, we took a little stroll with Simon. We had to navigate around Glide Memorial and through the crowds that were out during this beautiful day in San Francisco. We ended up at Union Square, sitting underneath an umbrella and catch some rays (although not direct sunlight since Simon’s skin is still very sensitive) and absorb some vitamin D.

Simon has been really good on our outings, mostly because he sleeps through them. He seems to be lulled to sleep by the ride in the stroller. We just really needed to get out of the house for some fresh air since we have been cooped up in the apartment.

My parents came for a short visit this evening so we took some more pictures. Here are his cute little feet, all healed after his multiple punctures for blood tests while in the hospital.

Since Simon slept so well during the afternoon, he hasn’t been sleeping well during the evening. Apparently my dad has a calming effect on children so Simon quieted down and eventually fell asleep. But we caught one photo where he stopped squirming for a second. It seems like his hair is growing pretty quickly, when do babies need their first hair cut?

Pho Tan Hoa
431 Jones Street