Grilled shrimp Popsicles at Pot de Pho on Geary
CHEAP EATS He signs his e-mails Romeo. I sign mine Juliet. It's cute, but you try not to think about how that one ends.
You know ... well, you probably don't know, so I'll tell ya: if you're a trans woman dating men, you can spend years and years and years trying to find one who doesn't either cream his pants or throw up as soon as you take your clothes off. And then, by some miracle of shifting continents and a spectacularly rare alignment of stars, planets, and good hair days, you do! You find, in fact, the one. Now, like everybody else in love, you have to kinda wait. And see. What happens.
There are questions. There is distance. There are Capulets and Montagues, jobs, exes, currents. There are riptides and undertows, sharks, lions and tigers and bears ... and there are days when you feel like you are on Cloud 10. I like those days. They're way better than the other ones, where you feel like you are hacking your way through a jungle of impossibility with a plastic butter knife and without mosquito repellent.
Yo, Shakey, is this what love is supposed to feel like? A million mosquito bites? Probably not, but I'll take it. I'll take it because it's perfect. It's perfect! It really is give or take 5,822 miles and a logistical conundrum that would make Alfred North Whitehead reach for his binkie perfect.
My head hurts. Again. (And again and again.) The last time I remember feeling really physically good, let's see, I was sitting in my new favorite restaurant with my soccery girlfriends, eating grilled meatball and green apple spring rolls dipped in this insanely delicious orange pork sauce.
And if you think that sounds slightly odd, the next item on the menu is a grilled shrimp Popsicle on sugar cane.
No, it's not some kind of funky fusion foofoo place, it's Pot de Pho, Geary and Parker streets, and I love it. Yeah, it's a little pricier than most Vietnamese restaurants, but worth it because it's worth it, and fun. They don't overly worry about authenticity. I like that. It's like, let's do Vietnamese food with all the best ingredients possible, well-researched recipes, and a sense of fun.
Our waiterguyperson, like the menu, was full of enthusiasm. He told us he was starting a new happy hour thing, making cocktails and punch and stuff using just wine and sake by way of alcohol.
The pho was good, I didn't order it, of course, because I'd eaten noodle soup for lunch and dinner the day before, and still had a big pot of it at home in my fridge. But I did taste.
It's $10 for a large bowl, $8.75 for a medium, and $5 child size. And, although they do offer a chicken pho, a vegan pho, and even (for a couple bucks more) an ahi tuna pho, they don't offer tendon and tripe as options for their beef pho.
That's the kind of thing I might have made fun of them for a few years ago even though I would have been snickering over a bowl with just rare steak, every time.
Bean sprouts are in the soup, not on the side. Wide rice noodles instead of vermicelli. They have a Vietnamese sandwich, but in a green onion crepe instead of a crusty French roll ... The authenticity snobs will complain. But you know what? The older I get, the more I couldn't care less about words like authentic and traditional, and grammar in general.
If it wasn't for inauthenticity and maltradition somewhere down the line, we'd all be having bananas and bugs for lunch. Thank you, I'll try the green apple spring rolls and green onion crepes.
Speaking of crepes, I'm pretty sure the French gave pho to the Vietnamese, not to mention French bread.
That's why Pot de Pho is my new favorite restaurant, for giving us grilled shrimp Popsicles. And because the teacups are a pretty shade of green, and the chairs there are cushy and comfortable. I need that right now. Pretty shades of green and a soft, comfy chair.
POT DE PHO
Tues.-Thurs., Sun.: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; closed Mon.
3300 Geary, SF
L.E. Leone's new book is Big Bend (Sparkle Street Books), a collection of short fiction.