Warming up at Ivy Pho
Even though spring is right around the corner, the winter weather is still hanging on. The warmer weather cannot come soon enough! Cold winter days are perfect for a nice hot bowl of pho. Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup. It has a deliciously flavored broth, rice noodles, vegetables, and typically beef, chicken, or seafood. Pho is served with a side of bean sprouts, mint, lime, and jalapeño. There is nothing better on a cold winter day.
On a particularly chilly afternoon I decided to get my pho fix at Ivy Pho in Ocean City. It was my first time there and it did not disappoint. It is a small family run restaurant. It has a cozy welcoming feeling when you walk in the door. The restaurant has a bunch of small wooden tables as well as tables with bench seating along the walls. When I went in there wasn’t a hostess or an employee in sight so I grabbed a menu and tucked into a table near the window. There were a few other customers, otherwise it was pretty quiet. As I waited for a sever I came to discover a pleasant man buzzing around the restaurant serving the tables. He was not only the server but was the owner and on that particular day the chef as well! In conversation he said that he gave the other employees the day off not expecting too much business due to the off-season and it being the middle of winter. Unfortunately this is very common in the off-season in shore towns. The summers are booming then a dramatic drop-off happens after labor day. Business gradually decreases through the fall with a little spike for the holidays. After New Year’s until right around Easter the shore towns are like ghost towns. Some businesses close in September, others close in the winter or close for a month or two during the dead time of January to April. However, many businesses stay open all year long. That is why anytime of year is a great time to visit the shore. The beach may be a bit chilly but the rough seas can be magical to witness. Sometimes there is nothing better than a brisk walk on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul. Winter time is a great time for a little vitamin sea! So, don’t stay away just because it is not summer anymore. There is still plenty to do! Many shops, restaurants, and hotels are here waiting of you. As a local, I can tell you that the off-season is the best season down the shore. No traffic, no lines, no crowds and the same great local businesses!
As I mentioned before in my Drip n’ Scoop post, Ocean City is home to many small businesses that keep the city alive. It is so great to walk down the street and see so many businesses that you will not find anywhere else. It makes the city so special. Many of New Jersey beach towns are like this which makes every single town unique. I feel very lucky to live in the area and to be able to explore these towns.
So, back to my lunch at Ivy Pho. I ordered a small vegetarian pho. It was filled with broccoli, bok choy, and rice noodles. The broth is so flavorful and warming. The vegetables are so fresh and the noodles making it very filling. The bean sprouts add the perfect crunch and the jalapeño, the perfect about of heat. I like to dip the vegetables in different sauces as opposed to adding sauce to the broth. The broth has so much flavor on its own that is really doesn’t need any sauce. I also like to change it up from sweet to spicy depending on the bite. Dipping also cuts down on the amount of sauce used which keeps the dish healthy and light. I finished the bowl, sad to see it go, chatted a little bit more with the owner then was on my way back into the bitter winter. At least now I had a belly full of delicious pho to keep me warm.
Ivy Pho has a wide variety of Vietnamese food all fresh and homemade. You can definitely taste the love here! This is the perfect stop for your off-season visit to Ocean City. It is centrally located at 14th and Asbury. And open year round. I would defiantly recommend the trip.
I hope you enjoyed this pho-nomenal post! Do you have a favorite pho place near you? Be sure to comment and let me know. Share this post with a fellow pho lover! Until next week, stay warm my friends!