a wave of relief, "pho" real
one of the biggest things i've had to get used to now that i live in austin is that really good ethnic food is a little bit harder to find. before you gasp in collective horror, let me reassure you that it's not so much a complete dearth of ethnic food as it is fewer options to choose from and less knowledge about which ones are decent. i mean, where is the austin version of tom sietsema when you need him, you know? it takes time to develop trust in a food critic's taste, and i am extremely skeptical of ever finding an austin replacement for my beloved tom.
i am happy to report, however, that for lunch today i had a perfectly lovely bowl of the oh-so-delicious noodly goodness known as pho, a.k.a. comfort in a bowl, a.k.a. the world's best hangover cure, a.k.a. the best remedy to a gray and rainy day. the lunch clientele was largely asian (score) and the guy at the counter was actually vietnamese, not some UT student looking for an extra buck. the spring rolls were crisp and stuffed with fresh-looking shrimp, and the pho came with all of the proper accoutrements, including fresh slices of chile pepper, bean sprouts, thick wedges of lime, and fresh sprigs of basil. there was a thick haze of steam when they brought the bowls to our table, chopsticks were stuffed unceremoniously into a container on a corner of the table, and there was plenty of hoisin and srichacha sauce for everyone. the bill for two was less than $20 (including an order of rolls, bubble tea, and two bowls of pho), and you had to pay at the counter (where the guy asked me if i was chinese, which seems to happen at every single asian restaurant i ever go to).
and i was filled with the sweet, sweet sense of relief that i found this place, this haven of aromas and broths and slippery noodles. thank goodness for pho.
("pho" real, man i kill myself)