You know how there are some people that are just good people? Like, they go out of their way to get to know you and hear your story? One of my classmates, Reba, is all those things and more. I look forward to spending time together these next 3 years.
For her birthday, Reba wanted a bunch of us to get together for one of her favorite meals: pho. When I heard this I was soooo excited because I've been wanting to give this a try for quite some time. I heard about pho in December from my friend who came to visit. Then, Sharon started talking about. And before I knew it - I seemed to be hearing about pho everywhere!
So what is it exactly? Basically, pho is a savory broth filled with rice noodles and a bit of thinly sliced meat. Ideally, the broth is so hot that it cooks the meat. The fun part of pho comes in the "toppings." The broth comes to table with fresh bean sprouts, mint, chopped chili peppers (be careful with those babies), and lime. Sharon prepped me well and told me to get some hoisin sauce and sriracha. I'll tell ya what to do with those later.
But first, a few photos of the pretty flowers I bought and arranged for Reba. Pretty, huh? All those Martha Stewart videos paid off :)
When making an arrangement, I like to pick a classic color combination: white with a pop of color. I also love the white/green combo. When we got to Kroger, I was happy to see you could buy certain flowers by the stem - and they had some gorgeous looking "pincushion" flowers - very hearty and a treat for the eyes. I snatched up a couple of those and then supplemented the arrangement with white carnations (these last a long time, too). Finally, one of my favorite flowers - white lillies. I was able to grab the last bunch and since most of them hadn't bloomed yet, I knew that a) the soft green would accent the bouquet perfectly b) the flowers, once bloomed, would fill in all the gaps and c) this would make the arrangement last even longer!
Okay, on to the food! A few appetizers were ordered - not by me - but I was able to sample some of them. The shrimp taste was good, I have to say. The crispy spring role looked super yummy. And the fresh spring roll was just that: crisp, clean, and light.
This dish is one I didn't try, but doesn't it look wonderful? I think these were the pork chops and Carlo was looking quite happy while he devoured it :)
Nishal is vegetarian and she said her veggies and tofu meal tasted great - I think she finished it in about 15 minutes. The vegetables looked really fresh and crunchy. The only thing I was concerned about - just by looking at it - was that it was over-sauced.
Now, the star of the show: the pho. I loaded mine up with sprouts and mint - squeezed in a little lime, and then took some sriracha and hoisin sauce and stirred it in. I also put a little in a side dish so I could dip the meat in it. The hardest part about pho is eating it since you're using a spoon and chopsticks- eventually I came up with a method that worked. Everyone has their own process. I really liked the broth at the restaurant and I had a lot leftover. Once I brought it home and warmed it for lunch the next day it hit me how salty it was. Maybe next time I can try and dilute it. I've put my feelers out for some other pho locales to post on in (hopefully) the near future.
And we'll conclude with a couple more pictures of flowers - because I'm Persian - and Persian people looooove flowers ;)