Sunday, March 28, 2004

Pho blog.

Terrific winds early in the day, followed by terrific rains in the afternoon. Been raining on and off for more than a week. Discovered that that much rain leaves a square patch of standing water on the site of the future garden in our backyard, which had clearly been a garden in the days of the previous owners. If we really do plant anything -- and we've got till about May 15 to think about it -- we'll have to bulk up the area with purchased soil. Our neighbors to the west have it even worse. Way back in their back yard is a huge puddle.

The rain slacked off in the early evening, and we had pho for Sunday dinner: Vietnamese beef and rice noodle soup, seasoned with the likes of ginger, star anise, peppercorn, garlic, other mysterious flavors. Comes in enormous bowls, makes quite a meal. Smells like heaven. You add some additional spices at the table -- mint and lime, for instance -- and go at it with long chopsticks and a Chinese-style soup spoon. We used to visit a joint near Argyle Street in the city, when we lived near there, but now that would be quite a trip. That place was merely called Pho. In fact, it was the first place we ever took Lilly, when she was exactly a month old.

We'd been looking for a pho place here in the northwest suburbs, and someone had recommended Pho Ha (the Laughing Soup?) in Glendale Heights, a couple of suburbs over and one down. It had that storefront ambience: mostly bare walls except for calendars advertising some Asian beer, plus first-generation Vietnamese immigrants sitting at nearby tables, smoking and eating pho. The main differences in the various pho on offer at a place like this seem to be in the cuts of beef that go into it. Back near Argyle Street I remember ordering pho with bible tripe sometimes, which I later found out was not just cow stomach, but the third stomach. I didn't see that on the menu this evening, but no matter, our suburban pho was good.


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