April 03, 2006

Rain, rain, go away - Pho Saigon Noodle House (Fremont)

Okay... so in February, we kind of expect we're going to see more rain that sunshine. Some of us are still working off the excess calories we consumed over the holidays, and homey soups, stews and casseroles are just the ticket.

Twenty seven rain days in March is a bit of a drag, but there are several winter-to-spring comfort food recipes we've been wanting to try.

But this is April, dammit, I'm tired of winter foods already; I'm craving spring salads with their luscious greens, vibrant veggies and mouth-watering fruits. This weather is precisely why I left Oregon after college... where the heck is the sun?

So where does our waterlogged heroine turn for a hint of spring when the weather doesn't cooperate?

The simple, clean cuisine of Viet Nam, that's where. Spring Rolls (hey... even the name says spring!) where the crunch of fresh veggies replaces the crunch of deep fry, while the sweet/spicy and peanut sauces keep my tastebuds engaged and provide a richness that counterbalances the weather outside. And a nice steaming bowl of Pho, where the bright green basil, crispy bean sprouts and fresh clean broth hint that spring is buried somewhere above all those clouds.

So Monday afternoon finds us escaping the rain at Pho Saigon Noodle House - a quiet unassuming establishment in a strip mall less than a block from the freeway. Kind of the Asian equivalent of a cross between a cafeteria and a coffee shop -- formica table tops with cracked vinyl seating that would stick to the backs of your legs if it were sticky summer instead of gloomy winter(nah... I'm not bitter... really). Like a well used but equally well maintained late model car -- dependable, not showy.

We opted for our usual standard for Vietnamese: an order of spring rolls to split and two medium bowls of Pho Bò Viên (Pho with meatballs). We weren't disappointed. Warm rich broth, tender noodles, dense, chewy meatballs, and they even floated some delightfully rare beef flank on top. With a heaping plate of leafy green basil, crisp bean sprouts and other associated veggies on the side for addition at the table. Yum. For a few minutes we forgot our frustrations with the weather forecast and reveled in good, simple food and the opportunity to experience it together.

Pho Saigon Noodle House
46825 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont

510. 683.8951