The Blizzard of 2016 and a Bowl of Pho

Read it here first folks: it snowed a lot this weekend. In fact, the blizzard raged from Friday afternoon until late Saturday night. This prevented me from doing many activities that are normally very important to me, like up-hill sprints, cross-country bike rides, and 8-hour sessions of Krav Maga. It did not prevent me from eating.

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Or drinking.

Amid the many grilled cheeses and frozen pierogis, one culinary adventure stood out. It began on Saturday evening when I was craving something that was neither cheese-based nor sauteed in oil. Quickly I took to Yelp and determined that 4-star rated Pho Viet was only .1 miles away. A long-time fan of pho, this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, regardless of the weather.

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Rain or shine, snow or sleet, I will deliver myself some pho

The .1 mile walk seemed to last an eternity. Orb-like children encased in snow gear waddled the streets. A woman, celebrating this brief recess from social norms, made a snow angel in the middle of the road. Wind somehow blew snow around my glasses and straight into my eyes. Finally, I reached Pho Viet, a bubble of warmth and coziness from the storm. While I would have loved to join the group of hip twenty-somethings dining in, they seemed to judge my fogged-up glasses and scarf-wrapped hair. More importantly, my order was to-go, so I paid and made the trip back home. Once inside I shed my layers quickly, eager to see what was hiding within the plastic take-out containers.

Due to the language barrier between me and the woman who took my order, I accidentally purchased four egg rolls. I’ve never been more thankful for someone’s limited ability to speak English or my failed attempts to learn another language.

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Don’t judge an egg roll by its rice paper

I’m about to make a strong statement: these are the best egg rolls I’ve ever had. Filled with tofu, carrots, and a bunch of other stuff that I ate too quickly to process, they have the perfect amount of sweet, spice and crunch. I want to eat these every single day. If they were a presidential candidate I would give them my vote. If they were a nice Jewish man I would marry them. If they were a grocery store I would sign-up for a loyalty card. Etc.

After being thoroughly seduced by my appetizer, I moved on to the main course of vegetarian pho, which I’m thankful I only have to write instead of pronounce.

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Pre-soup, ready for self-actualization

Finding certified vegetarian pho is exciting in itself. I ate pho about twice a month my last year of college and even though I asked for no meat, I’m still not certain what was in it. I’m pretty good at convincing myself something is tofu.

The first and only let-down was the lack of hoisin sauce. This sweet, tangy sauce is synonymous with my pho experience. I need the bottle in hand to ensure that each bite is paired with the perfect amount of sauce. Even more disappointing, the little tub I was provided contained a mixture of sriracha and hoisin. I can only imagine the pain this would bring to an unsuspecting white person.

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We all have a little sriracha mixed in with our hoisin

After loading up the pho with my own supply of sriracha and the meager dollop of hoisin, I dove in with the enthusiasm of someone who hadn’t eaten a vegetable in over 48 hours.

The pho was a blend of all the elements I desired: freshly steamed broccoli, thin but sturdy noodles, crisp and refreshing bean sprouts. The broth was flavorful but not too salty, and the tofu was most definitely tofu. Like coming inside from a blizzard, the pho spread warmth throughout my limbs. I was satisfied.

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1/3 of what I ate

In fact, I was overly-satisfied. I ate so much that scientifically speaking I never need to eat again.

Though it’s clear that the egg rolls stole my heart, I was very impressed by my overall experience with Pho Viet. It was well worth some snow in the eye and I suspect that I will become a frequent visitor.

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A dog named Spot

And here’s a picture of a dog I hung out with during the storm.

I hope you are all safe and warm!

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