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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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I had a busy weekend despite the rain. Barry and I attended a wedding Saturday night in Mandeville. My hubby is friends with the groom. I should have taken a picture of myself. I wore a dress and heels. It is rare for me to wear a dress. I don’t even own the dress I wore. Thank goodness my BFF from the 3rd grade has a well-stocked wardrobe. And, since I have lost weight, I can actually fit in more of her clothes. Hee Hee! As for the heels, they actually do belong to me. I bought them for a scene I did for a showcase for one of my acting classes. I managed to not break an ankle. Anyway, we had a terrific time socializing. The bride was gorgeous, the music was rockin’, and the food was yummy. I did eat a little something healthy before the wedding, so I would not be tempted to overeat. It also allowed me to eat the delicious wedding cake cupcake. The bride and groom did not have a traditional wedding cake with multiple tiers. They had one standard size cake at the top followed by four to five steps lined with giant cupcakes to make it look like a huge wedding cake.  They were so big, Barry and I had to split one. YUM!

On Sunday, I spent the day with my parents. We went to the movies to see End of Watch. It’s a movie about two young cops whose lives are changed after making a bust involving money and guns belonging to a notorious cartel. The three of us enjoyed it. Afterwards, we had lunch at Applebee’s. Before leaving my house that morning, I made a list of acceptable dishes I could eat to stay on the right course. I ordered the Weight Watchers Cabernet Mushroom Sirloin. It included steamed broccoli and new potatoes (15g fat/460 calories).  If I wasn’t so disciplined and could afford to SUPER splurge, I would have ordered the Oriental Chicken Salad. Ready for this…the regular (crispy chicken) with salad dressing is 98g fat and 1,390 calories. OOOF! Now, you can order a half-size, which would bring it down to 49g fat and 690 calories. Unfortunately, that is still too much, especially for a salad.

I have completed my 11th week of eating clean and exercising on a regular basis. Due to eating salty fried appetizers and a bowl of gumbo at the wedding, as well as nature NOT calling before my weekly weigh-in, I am back to 136 pounds. I know it is just a pound, and I know it isn’t a fat pound; however, I dislike not seeing a loss. It’s expectation. I’ve only had one other time on my weight loss journey where I gained, and again it was water weight. Never fear, I’m already over it. It’s a new week with lots of potential. My run/walk schedule for this week: Walk 10 minutes, run 9 minutes. Walk 1 minute, run 9 minutes (repeat twice). I’m so close to running a full 30 minutes.

Hope you have many wonderful blessings this week. Try to be as PRESENT as possible. It helps to keep stress away, and allows more room for happiness. Currently, I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s new book called Happier at Home. Rubin decided to dedicate a year to another happiness project, but this time focused on her home. I have a feeling my happiness project will be resurfacing after reading this book. Happiness!

“The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.”            ~ Maya Angelou

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