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Closed Pho The Winter

There’s nothing I love more than a nice big bowl of steaming pho. The beefy broth, the crunch of the sprouts, the whole thing. I love every bit of it. I also love a very particular chicken pho. Now most pho joints serve a very bland chicken pho. It’s made with chicken based stock and sliced up chicken breast. Very boring. This is not my chicken pho. My chicken pho is made with beef stock. My chicken pho has grilled/fried chicken with incredible flavor. My chicken pho sometimes even trumps regular beef pho. Where can you get said delicious chicken pho? At Pho Ba Le, on Washington Ave (sometimes called Restaurant Cyclo). Only thing is, the last two times I’ve been there, it’s been closed having a sign saying “Closed for the Winter”. How can you be closed for the winter when you serve the best winter food there is?

There’s another pho place across the parking lot called Pho Ha. It’s one of those mostly pho only shops that brings out your food in 2 seconds. We were in the city last night going to a concert, so we stopped round Washington Ave to grab a bite first. I decided not to get pho last night because it was fairly warm out, and I got the chicken and spring roll over broken rice instead. As you can see, it was alot of food, and it was delicious and moist. I think the key is that it’s not white meat, but dark meat. One of my favorite things about getting this Com Tam dish is the pickled daikon and carrots that you always get on the side. I love the slightly sweet sourness of it, and the crunch.

M got a small pho. Small in pho places usually means pretty big. And the large means huge. I’ve had the pho there before and it’s very good. M seemed to enjoy it alot, and she pretty much ate the whole thing, broth included. I was so impressed!!!

Monday night I had to stop at the mall to return some stuff. While there, feeling particularly lazy, I picked up some chicken teriyaki to go from one of those “japanese” chain joints that serves teriyaki dishes. I really like it cause it’s so simple, just chicken with teriyaki sauce, and some grilled veggies and rice. I got a giant carton full for about $4. And on a lazy night, it doesn’t get any better. It’s fresh, steaming hot, and tasty, and requires absolutely no work whatsoever.

Pho Ba Le
600 Washington Ave

Pho Ha
610 Washington Ave

Pho And Phlowers

Friday night I got to go to the Philadelphia Flower Show for free. It was part of the Young Friends of the Horticultural Society’s efforts to get feedback from the under-40 crowd. My friend invited me, and when she couldn’t go, I took another friend. It was a pretty good deal. Free food, free entry to the show, and then we got to give our opinion about the show. I never turn down free food, ha!

They had cheese and fruit and wine. They even had some servers walking around with some appetizers. But the highlight was the mashed potato bar. They had three different kinds – roasted red pepper, cheddar, and garlic. Then they had mashed potato condiments – bacon, chives, cheese, and sour cream that we could add on our own. And they served it in a plastic martini glass. Hehe. I only had the roasted red pepper one, but it was damn good! The guy serving it said you’ve never had anything like it. And he was right! I loaded mine up with lots of bacon and sour cream and it was very good. It was slightly spicy, but not too much so, and had a bit of potato chunks still. I could have eaten it all night.

Alas, I did not eat the mashed potatoes all night. I never give up a chance to go to Chinatown when I’m right there. The convention center is pretty much in Chinatown, so we had to go there to eat afterwards. It was quite cold, so we just picked what was closest, and ended up at Pho Cali. Pho Cali is one of my favorite pho places around. You always get sat quickly, the food comes out lightning fast, and it’s good and cheap.

I decided not to have pho (not sure why) and had the beef with noodle soup instead. I wanted some spice, and I surely got it. It had round egg noodles. And what I think was probably flank steak. It was very spicy. Not too spicy, but it definitely was not a mild spicy. M had a grilled beef with noodle soup dish. It was a chicken broth soup with rice noodles, and came with grilled beef on the side. It was just what we needed to fill our bellies and get all warmed up.

Pho Cali
1000 Arch St
Pho Cali on Urbanspoon

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