My Love Pho You

On Saturday, I did alot of walking. The 16th Philadelphia Film Festival was going on (and still is), and so I wanted to catch at least one flick, but had to go to the Kimmel Center by 8PM. A colleague had laid some free tix to Art Garfunkel on me earlier in the week. He’s not my scene, but I knew my mom would be into him, so I took her. It’d been her first time to the Kimmel and let me tell you, for those of you that haven’t been there, go! It’s a beautiful building, on the outside and the inside. And the large hall is even more gorgeous and has the most amazing acoustics you’ve ever heard. It’s a totally beauteous place.

While hauling my butt 13 blocks to get from 2nd to Broad, I had to stop in for a quick bite. And on my way, of course, was Chinatown. This is a girl that never gives up a chance to stop in Chinatown. If you remember, Saturday was freakin cold. And after walking all those blocks, I decided that pho would be my meal of choice. So I stopped at Pho Cali, again.

Do you remember the first time you had pho? I do. It was the summer after my freshman year of college in Cleveland. I was staying that summer at a fraternity house (yeah, hilarious, I know). That’s ok, it wasn’t a real fraternity, it was the nerd fraternity. One of the people staying there that summer had a car, and he was going to go drive and eat Vietnamese food. Vietnamese food? What’s that, I thought! I had no idea. I’d never had it before. So we trekked to the west side of town to a tiny Vietnamese place. I didn’t remember what it was called, but I just googled it and it is called Minh-Anh. Gosh. So it’s good to know it’s still there.

So this guy also gushed about this thing called “cinnamon soup”. Yes, cinnamon soup. That absolutely sounds gross now that I think about it, but at the time, it sounded fascinating. And I had to have it. It was actually pho he was talking about, and I loved it! And from then on, I’ve been hooked. At Minh-Anh, you didn’t get the giant bowls that the chain pho places typically serve. You got a tiny mini bowl and you treasured every flavorful spoonful of broth and every crunchy sprout. Mmmm…. I also had my first goi cuan (fresh summer rolls) there, and also my first bun (rice vermicelli bowl). Now that I think about it, I realize how much Minh-Anh has affected my eating life. Thank you!

When you order pho, you basically need to know what type of meat you want in it. I typically just go for brisket. You also can choose flank, steak, tripe, tendon, meatballs, or any combination of the above. It comes out in a bowl with rice noodles, the soup, your meat(s) of choice, onions, green onions, and cilantro. Immediately after you order pho, before you even get your pho, they bring you a plate full of mung bean sprouts, some sliced jalapenos, some lime wedges, and some basil. And at every table, you always have sriracha sauce (the spicy sauce), hoisin, and garlic chili sauce. And you put any of these ingredients into your pho. Then you shovel and enjoy! For me, I stick in all the sprouts and some sriracha. That’s it for me, I’m a simple pho kinda girl. I also ordered a limeade. So so good!

Oh yeah, by the way, after the Kimmel, I made my mom take me to capogiro. And I also forgot to say that after that night at Penang, I also stopped at capogiro. Hilarious. Ladies and gents, my addiction is fully raging.

Pho Cali Vietnamese Restaurant
1000 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 629-1888
Pho Cali on Urbanspoon

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