Sunday morning it pours with rain, resulting in first delaying and finally canceling a boating adventure. What to do? Go and eat on Irving.
This is an unexpected bonus for, as I have explained in a previous post, it is difficult to find an opportunity to eat lunch without dropping a boxing class.
Nonetheless I am gently working my way down the street. I have now covered nearly a block, only another 20 or so to go. I notice that the next block has 8 restaurants. Now I find myself in Loi’s Vietnamese Restaurant or should I say I find myself in Vietnam. There is one other non-Vietnamese but he like me, looks like a tourist in the country.
I start to order but the owner says, “Why not have BBQ?” Good question; I do as he says. Number 10. Pho Bo Nuong, BBQ Beef with Noodle Soup, $5.75
I know nothing about Vietnamese food but the word Pho keeps cropping up. I take it that it means soup. This appears to be what Loi’s serves as a quick look around shows that everyone is eating soup.
So I get a glass of hot tea, a big bowl of delicious, mildly spicy, beef broth with a helping of rice noodles in it, a side plate of sizzling beef that has been marinated I think in Soy sauce, a plate of bean shoots, lime, fresh chili and basil.
I put the vegetation in the soup, which I hope is the right thing to do. It is a perfect meal for a rainy lunchtime. Hot, filling and freshly prepared. In the broth there is a little ginger, cilantro, chopped up scallions and chives. The meal is also copious- I do not finish, er, which is unusual.
There is different genus of basil in Asian restaurants here. It has thicker and coarser stems that have a purplish colour. There is also a slightly different taste that I am unable to quantify with words.
I spoil the pleasure with my last mouthful. I eat, without thinking, the one slice of chili that I had inadvertently added to the soup. Gasp!