Miss K told me to pick the venue for our monthly corporate lunch. Our office typically orders from Skip the Dishes or DoorDash, but I wanted to support the small businesses near our office. When trolling the +15 for potential options, I spotted Viet Express, a Vietnamese restaurant with a mile-long lineup. For this post, let’s listen to “Anti-Hero” by Taylor Swift.
I offered to pick up a cake to celebrate several staff members’ past birthdays. I chose Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market so I could grab the cake on the way to work. While waiting for my train at Westbrook Station, I clutched the box lest someone try to rob me of my precious cargo.
I could have requested delivery for our lunch, but I was worried the food would take too long or the delivery person couldn’t find our office. So I asked Compass, M, and Office Guardian if they would take a quick walk and help me carry the food back to the office. Thankfully, I have colleagues who are always willing to help. When we arrived, I heard a wok hissing loudly in the kitchen. At 11:30 am, there was already a lineup. The owner remained relaxed and jolly despite the orders rolling in. He even asked us where we worked and if we needed help carrying the food to our office.
I ordered the Combo Vermicelli ($14.28) with spring rolls, chicken, beef and pork patty. Van Express uses good-quality vermicelli. The noodles were springy and weren’t soggy, even hours later. The portion was so huge! My takeout box overflowed with food. The fish sauce could be more potent, as I like my dipping sauce extra lively. However, I realize that most customers in downtown Calgary would prefer a more subtle dipping sauce.
Miss K’s Pork Banh Mi ($8.81) was the size of a Subway foot long sub. She asked for no sate sauce. She stated her banh mi was yummy with some heat to it.
The CEO and CFO stopped by before their lunch appointment. They told me not to order them anything to eat, but Miss K arranged for appetizers in case they changed their minds. Large and fresh, the salad rolls ($6.67) were packed with crunchy bean sprouts, lettuce, noodles and shrimp. I would get the salad rolls again. Everyone said the pork and vegetarian spring rolls ($6.67) were tasty.
Video ordered the Beef Pad Thai ($13.33), but she meant to request Beef Fried Rice ($13.33). She pouted as she ate and only nibbled on her food. When she complained that she wanted a rice dish, Office Guardian sternly told her to eat what was on her plate. I pushed Video to eat more Pork Spring Rolls ($6.67) and dessert, which she enjoyed. In turn, Video encouraged me to eat the rest of her food. I did and enjoyed the tangy flavour of tamarind in the noodles.
The Skor Cake ($70) was a hit! Even Ms. D took an extra piece to freeze at home. Office Guardian liked the cake wasn’t too sweet. Miss K noted the cake was moist, while Compass enjoyed the buttercream. When Compass and M shared that they had never tried Skor chocolate before, Miss K laughed and said they were so young and such babies. I retorted that Miss K looks as youthful as our co-op students, so I was surprised she knew about Skor bars. She smiled mysteriously and noted that she was older than she appeared.
Miss K is unbeatable as a social event organizer. She even brought in decorations and personalized goodie bags. I asked her where she bought the bags, as they looked so artisanal. She told us she made it herself and not to look a the bottom of the bag. So, of course, we looked and could see she crafted the bag herself.
I returned to the fridge in the afternoon and ate the leftover salad rolls. I shared the remains of my lunch with L for dinner. He was impressed with the wok hei in the beef, and I was pleased to see the food still held up, despite being refrigerated and reheated.
Next, I want to try the pho, stir-fries, and subs at Van Express. I’ll have to bring Compass along, as I always need help finding this gem in the +15. Pro-tip, if you are a fan of wok hei, I recommend you try the teriyaki beef. Hitting the Sauce gives Van Express two phat thumbs up.