City Love: Pho

I went and had pho for lunch today. I had only had this lovely vietnamese beef soup once in my life before, and liked it just fine. Then I watched a lot of Anthony Bourdain, and heard him wax rhapsodic on it’s complex flavors, it’s spicy goodness, how it’s his favorite thing to eat for breakfast, and somehow, my general positive impression turned into a deep love, before I’d even eaten bowl #2.  Suddenly, I was convinced that I, too, shared a profound affection for the beefy, brothy, noodlely goodness. I thought that maybe I had had it for breakfast once, and liked it. I almost heard myself repeating Bourdain’s about how there is nothing in the world like it. I’d only has it once! Somehow, I’d adopted his opinion as my own. He’s very convincing.

(It’s unfortunate that even though I know that the correct pronunciation is “fuh,” I still feel pretentious saying it that way. It looks like it should be “faux”. Self-consciousness aside, I will not fall for that tempting “o” in pho. Fuh it is!)

So today was the day bring that pho-bowl count up to two, and to see if I do in fact feel about pho the way my favorite peripatetic food show host does, or if I merely think it’s tasty. And the verdict? Tasty! I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch today, but found myself coveting the char-grilled pork across the table.

I’m actually glad that my fake pho-love has been brought down to size, because now it’s really my own taste and not one I adopted from a tv show host, inadvertently. The bowl I had was a Pho DC, and was HUMONGOUS. If you go, plan to split one. Also, that place is fancier than it seems from the outside. So lunch was more expensive than we planned. Live and learn.

And did learn today. I learned that, though I love Bourdain’s show a lot, I should not order the version of pho with tripe, even though that’s totally what AB would do. I am pretty ready to try new foods, but I haven’t yet made it to tripe. Someday! Dream Big!

Now I know, I should not judge every iteration of pho on two bowls alone. I really should keep trying different ones, and I’m sure I haven’t really had pho until I’ve had it in Vietnam. Need any traveling companions, Tony?




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