Barbara Zaragoza 4:30 p.m., May 25
Fast Food? Fast Pho-ward!
Just come from a Big 5, Southland Plaza, Palm City.
Got me a pair of $18 shoes. Can’t beat ’em.
Ten minutes to catch the 933. Promised Carla I'd bring home a meal.
This is eight at night. Humping back towards Saturn Boulevard when I spot the lights of Pho Anh Vietnamese Grill (675 Saturn Boulevard, Suite F, 619-423-6138). It’s a pho place, meaning soup, often with beef.
Oh man. That would be perfect.
I haul inside. Can’t believe I’m doing this. Can’t afford to miss that bus.
Linh, the server, is ready and waiting.
“What’s the fastest pho!?” I ask.
He grabs the menu. There are hundreds.
“Number 20,” he says.
Think it says “Rare and well-done steak.”
It’s only $5.75.
"I’ll take it.”
I swear, I’m standing around two, maybe three minutes. Linh brings out a plastic bag loaded with, well, stuff.
“That’s $6.25, please,” the owner, Anh Lee says.
And four minutes after I came in, I’m out.
Cut to an hour later.
Lovely Carla’s looking on. Put big pot of gingery, beefy broth in a saucepan. Start heating. Open box of, oh wow, thin-sliced beef, onions, basil, cilantro, green onions, other green things, all sitting on a cube of compressed noodles. And then a bag of bean sprouts, a slice of a wicked-looking green jalapeño pepper, a wedge of lime, and a big branch of fresh mint leaves. Plus hoisin and sriracha sauce.
I heat the soup up to boiling, dunk the noodles, dunk basically everything, put the sauces and the mint on top, and man! Beautiful, complex aromas, soup-soaked beef, the soup itself .
Bottom line: it’s enough for Carla and me, and the taste: to die for. For – how much - about three bucks each? We’re suddenly both in love again, with Vietnamese soups.
I’ll be back - when I have pho or five minutes to spare.