Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cold Rain & Snow

Today's weather report from Seattle is also the title of a Grateful Dead song. If the song doesn't make you feel bad, this climate just might!
Still, I've very little room to complain, especially when I've stood outside the tent city, Nickelsville, waiting for my bus. I might have been cold and damp, but I
have a house to go home to. My source of heat is not based in a trash barrel. Just something to consider....
It began snowing/raining while I was having lunch. I had a craving after watching Anthony Bourdain last night, and knew that I could fulfill it in the University district, where I transfer from the 48 to the 70 on the way to an appointment.
Ah, Tony, you are such a bad boy, talking about food porn. All I could think about last night was your yen, which quick
ly became mine. And the weather was perfect for it!
This, if you don't already know, is pho (say, "fuh"). It is to Vietnamese grandmothers what chicken soup is to Jewish bubbes. It is hot and filling and soothing. It comes with condiments to add: jalapeno peppers, basil leaves, bean sprouts, lime and a hot pepper sauce that'll definitely cure what ails you.

My favorite restaurant for pho is Than Brothers. It's not a fancy place, and not expensive. The bowl in the photo ran me five dollars plus change, and that's the small size. The extra large looks like you could bathe an infant and your dog in it. I wouldn't try that, though. Ruins the taste.
Walk in the door, and someone brusquely asks how many of you there are. If you're alone, as I was, they sit you at a communal table in the middle of the room. You barely have a chance to take off your coat before you're asked if you're ready to order. Luckily, the menu is kind of limited; all pho, different kinds of meat. I confess, I've never tried it with tripe. Bleah. Anthony Bourdain would never give me a second glance.
Quickly, a plate arrives with your condiments, and wonder of wonders: a cream puff. The story is that one of the brothers has a wife who was trained in French pastry, and they offered the cream puffs, gratis, to help the business. They are GOOD. So good, I asked my husband, Mark, for them instead of cake for my birthday one year. The filling, a cross between custard and cream, is perfect.

And then the pho... a steaming bowl of goodness. When I looked up for the first time after inhaling about half my bowl, I saw it was snowing...and raining, at the same time. Students from the university hustled by, cringing with cold.
Me? I just smiled. I'd be out in it soon enough, but with the power of pho. Yum.

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