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Archive for February, 2020

It has been a little over a week since I went on my adventure to Pho NOLA with my awesome friend Michelle. She is quite adventurous when it comes to trying new restaurants and new foods, which usually entails a good bit of ethnic food. In addition to American fare, we have eaten Korean, Cuban, and Mexican together. Because of distance, we do not get to hang out together as much as I would like, so when an opportunity presents itself, I take it. I can always count on Michelle to suggest somewhere terrific for us to enjoy a fantastic meal and a wonderful conversation.

Meatball Pho

Meatball Pho

When deciding where to eat lunch, I shared with her that one of my 20 for 2020 (#11) was to try 20 new restaurants this year. Since I had never eaten Vietnamese food, she suggested Pho NOLA in Metairie. I relied totally on Michelle to help me order because I had no clue. Of course, on my first visit, I had to try the pho (pronounced fu).

Brisket Pho

Brisket Pho

For those of you not familiar with pho, it is a popular Vietnamese soup traditionally found on the streets of Vietnam that is served in restaurants globally. It consists of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat. The key ingredient in the soup is the broth which simmers for many hours. A variety of meats can be used, including chicken and shrimp.

Trying PhoI ordered a combo meal: meatball pho with a grilled shrimp Banh Mi, a Vietnamese PoBoy (sandwich). Michelle opted for the same, but ordered brisket pho. The bread used to make the sandwich comes from a well-known Vietnamese bakery in New Orleans East called Dong Phuong Bakery. The bakery is famous for their king cakes. I have not been fortunate enough to try one of their king cakes; however, the bread that was used to make my Banh Mi was delicious.

SmoothieMy first experience eating Vietnamese at Pho NOLA was gratifying. My food was scrumptious. The meatball pho was heavenly and a perfect choice for the cold day (warm with a perfect blend of seasonings). A basket was brought to the table with basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, and scallions to garnish the pho. I chose only to add bean sprouts and cilantro. My sandwich tasted fresh and flavorful with the right combination of grilled shrimp dressed with aioli (light mayo mixture), pickled carrots and daikon (radish), cucumber, and cilantro. YUMMO! We topped off lunch by ordering BOBA Smoothies with tapioca pearls. I requested a mango and pineapple smoothie (delicious), and Michelle requested an avocado one (equally delicious). She was sweet enough to let me taste her avocado smoothie. Now, I dream about these delightful concoctions. What a wonderful treat with my AMAZING friend! Pho NOLA was a hit and a perfect place to start trying twenty new restaurants this year.

Pho NOLAHaving lunch and spending time with Michelle is always a happiness boost. Trying a new restaurant AND a new cuisine with her was a joyful adventure. I will definitely eat Vietnamese cuisine again, and I look forward to trying the different types of pho. Dear reader, I highly recommend having an adventure eating a cuisine that you have never tried before or visiting a new restaurant. You can even be adventurous at a restaurant that you frequent often by trying something new. I’d loved to know what new foods or new restaurants that you have tried recently. Please share your adventures with me because I have 19 more new restaurants to try before the end of 2020.

“Without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, and moribund.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

 

 

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Happy Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow this morning which means, according to legend, that we will have an early spring. I sure hope that is the case because I am over this funky, cold, and damp weather we have been experiencing in Louisiana as of late. Thankfully, Mother Nature gave us a reprieve today and provided us with a lovely day of sunshine and warmer temps before our next bout of rain comes early this week.

Emma & KatToday, the happy factor is not only limited to the groundhog, but also to the hedgehog. Yes, it is in fact National Hedgehog Day. Those cute, little critters share their special day with Phil. It also happens to be Super Bowl LIV. The San Francisco 49ers will be playing the Kansas City Chiefs later this evening at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. However, while all these events are wonderful and provide a happiness boost to many, nothing compares to the biggest happiness boost for me on this day. Today is my beautiful niece’s birthday. Emma has officially turned sweet sixteen. She is not only beautiful and sweet, but she is also intelligent, vibrant, compassionate, and cheerful. Happy 16th Birthday Blessings to Emma! My only regret is that I cannot be with her today to celebrate.

Although February is starting off with a bang, I must address January 2020. Where did the first month of this year go? I’m astonished with how the rapidity of time has slipped by me with nothing much to show for it. Yet, I have done more last month than most Januarys of the past. Generally, the winter months with dreary weather and lack of extended sunlight hours often relegates me to hibernation after the workday. I surmise taking a weekly improv class (#7 on 20 for 2020 list) on Tuesday evenings, meeting with my acting coach most weeks, reading daily, and diligently sifting through paperwork to discard has contributed to time passing more quickly. My only regret is that I did not blog more.

Improv 1I thoroughly enjoyed the Level I Improv class, so much so, that I’ve decided to continue with Level II Improv this month. David Hamilton is an awesome teacher who makes the class interesting, challenging, and enjoyable. Every week builds from the previous week. I’m feeling more confident and less fearful when making choices, and I’m hoping to see that carry over in future auditions. My classmates are wonderful actors, and with the exception of one student Michael who will be traveling to Spain, our class will be together again to learn and play for the next session.

I read five books in January: The Institute by Stephen King, Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton, Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham, Count All Her Bones by April Henry, and The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry. I enjoyed all five of them, and I’m one book ahead of schedule for the Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge.

What are your plans on this gorgeous 02/02/2020, dear reader? I plan to bask in the sunlight and the hopefulness of an early spring, crack open a new novel to wile away a couple of hours, and await joyfully for anything else the day may offer. Happiness!

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” ~ Hal Borland

 

 

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